Modulation of central thalamic oscillations during emotional-cognitive processing in chronic disorder of consciousness

Cortex. 2014 Nov:60:94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.09.007.


We report on thalamic recordings in a patient with chronic disorder of consciousness (DOC). Implantation of central thalamic deep brain stimulation (CT-DBS) electrodes was chosen, as this treatment has been reported to display beneficial effects with respect to behavioural responsiveness in DOC. Local field potential (LFP) oscillations were recorded from central thalamic electrodes and their changes elicited by speech stimuli consisting either of familiar voices addressing the patient or unfamiliar non-addressing phrases were studied. In response to familiar-addressing speech we observed modulation of oscillatory activity in the beta and theta band within the central thalamus accompanied by an increase in thalamocortical coherence in the theta band. Furthermore, the theta phase was coupled to the amplitude of gamma locally in the thalamus. These findings indicate a local and long-range cross-frequency response which is not only indicative of the principle involvement of the central thalamus in processing emotional and cognitive information, but also point towards intact physiological functions that may serve as a marker in diagnosing DOC patients and determining novel targets and parameters concerning therapeutic efforts.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Consciousness Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Consciousness Disorders / therapy
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Thalamus / physiology*