In this work we analyze electro-corticography (ECoG) recordings in human subjects during induction of anesthesia with propofol. We hypothesize that the decrease in responsiveness that defines the anesthetized state is concomitant with the stabilization of neuronal dynamics. To test this hypothesis, we performed a moving vector autoregressive analysis and quantified stability of neuronal dynamics using eigenmode decomposition of the autoregressive matrices, independently fitted to short sliding temporal windows. Consistent with the hypothesis we show that while the subject is awake, many modes of neuronal activity oscillations are found at the edge of instability. As the subject becomes anesthetized, we observe statistically significant increase in the stability of neuronal dynamics, most prominently observed for high frequency oscillations. Stabilization was not observed in phase randomized surrogates constructed to preserve the spectral signatures of each channel of neuronal activity. Thus, stability analysis offers a novel way of quantifying changes in neuronal activity that characterize loss of consciousness induced by general anesthetics.
Keywords: ECoG; anesthesia; consiousness; criticality; depth of anesthesia monitoring; dynamical systems.