Poster B3, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Spectral analysis of passive listening EEG paradigms reveals consistent patterns of activation in severely brain-injured patients
Zoe M. Adams1, William H. Curley1, Mary M. Conte1, Nicholas D. Schiff1,2,3; 1Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, NY, 2Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine, NY, 3The Rockefeller University, NY
Language-based EEG paradigms can identify covert cognitive processes in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). Assessment of cognitive capacity in DOC patients is challenging because of motor output limitations and state fluctuations during wakefulness. To address these confounds, we measured responses to several passive (narratives) and active (via motor imagery, see Curley et al., this meeting) listening paradigms in multiple, randomized testing blocks to better capture when DOC patients are most alert. We recorded the EEG in 10 minimally conscious state (MCS) patient subjects (PSs) and 15 age-matched healthy controls (HCs). All subjects listened to natural speech (Fwd) and time-reversed (Bkwd) versions of the same stories. EEG analysis employed power spectral estimates and statistical comparisons of the Fwd and Bkwd conditions (Two Group Test; p ≤ 0.05). In both HCs and PSs, the majority of responses showed that the Fwd condition elicited increases in alpha power when compared to the Bkwd condition. In PSs, the majority of significant responses were located in right centro-parietal, right fronto-central, and left parieto-occipital channels. These regions are consistent with expected language activation areas in HCs and thus suggest higher-level processing of the narrative’s semantic content in PSs. A subset of these patients were also positive responders to active listening paradigms that always occurred within the same testing block as the narrative, supporting testing for select times when patients are most responsive to language. Our findings indicate that passive language search stimuli identify preserved language-response networks in the injured brain and require repeated assessments.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Auditory