Towards using fNIRS recordings of mental arithmetic for the detection of residual cognitive activity in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC)

Eva Maria Kurz, Guilherme Wood, Silvia Erika Kober, Walter Schippinger, Gerald Pichler, Gernot Müller-Putz, Günther Bauernfeind

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Abstract

Background: Recently, fNIRS has been proposed as a promising approach for awareness detection, and a possible method to establish basic communication in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). Aim: Using fNIRS, the present study evaluated the applicability of auditory presented mental-arithmetic tasks in this respect. Methods: We investigated the applicability of active attention to serial subtractions for awareness detection in ten healthy controls (HC, 21–32 y/o), by comparing the measured patterns to patterns induced by self-performance of the same task. Furthermore, we examined the suitability of ignoring the given task as additional control signal to implement a two-class brain-computer interface (BCI) paradigm. Finally, we compared our findings in HC with recordings in one DOC patient (78 y/o). Results and conclusion: Results of the HC revealed no differences between the self-performance and the attention condition, making the attention task suitable for awareness detection. However, there was no general difference between the ignore and attend condition, making the tasks less suitable for BCI control. Despite inconsistent correlations between the patient data and the HC group, single runs of the patient recordings revealed task-synchronous patterns – however, we cannot conclude whether the measured activation derives from instruction based task performance and thus awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

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Consciousness Disorders
Brain-Computer Interfaces
Task Performance and Analysis
Communication
Consciousness

Keywords

  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Mental arithmetic
  • Minimally conscious state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

Towards using fNIRS recordings of mental arithmetic for the detection of residual cognitive activity in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). / Kurz, Eva Maria; Wood, Guilherme; Kober, Silvia Erika; Schippinger, Walter; Pichler, Gerald; Müller-Putz, Gernot; Bauernfeind, Günther.

In: Brain and Cognition, Vol. 125, 01.08.2018, p. 78-87.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Kurz, Eva Maria ; Wood, Guilherme ; Kober, Silvia Erika ; Schippinger, Walter ; Pichler, Gerald ; Müller-Putz, Gernot ; Bauernfeind, Günther. / Towards using fNIRS recordings of mental arithmetic for the detection of residual cognitive activity in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). In: Brain and Cognition. 2018 ; Vol. 125. pp. 78-87.
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