Chinese scientists reveal brief neurorepresentations of states of consciousness in complex spontaneous brain activity

On June 5, Li Ang’s research group and Wang Xiaoqun’s research group of the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published papers in the international academic journal Nature Communications. The study revealed a brief neural representation of the state of consciousness in complex spontaneous brain activity, and combined with a wide range of intracranial EEG data and whole brain transcriptome data of macaques, model verification and molecular mechanism exploration were carried out.

Where does our consciousness exist? It was one of 125 cutting-edge scientific questions listed by Science magazine. The brain is a complex dynamic system whose global level of consciousness fluctuates on a timescale that leads us to different subjective experiences. Whether there are brief patterns corresponding to complex changes in brain activity in cross-conscious states remains to be explored by the research team.

By developing a computational modeling framework for multimodal cross-scale fusion, Li Ang’s group and Wang Xiaoqun’s research group analyzed the functional image data under different states of consciousness (including anesthesia, sleep, rest, sleepiness, mental illness, hallucination, etc.), revealing that the global state of consciousness may not be limited to a single isolated brain region, but depends on the hierarchical dynamic mode in the topological space, and proposed compressed brain spatiotemporal nested features as a brief neurorepresentation of the state of consciousness.

The findings support different aspects of the classical theory of consciousness models from a multidimensional perspective, and then construct new explainable models of consciousness states. The researchers also analyzed the intracranial EEG data of two macaques densely sampled in different states of consciousness such as sleep and anesthesia, and reproduced the relevant core experimental results.

Neural activity variability and brain spatiotemporal nesting patterns in hierarchical topology as neural representations of state of consciousness

In addition, the study could raise some new questions. For example, how does the complex dynamics of higher brain regions in the human waking state support human behavior? How can I optimize my personalized predictive model to mitigate the potential impact of different states of consciousness? Currently, the research team is working on some new work to answer these questions.

The research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. (Source: Meng Lingxiao, China Science News)

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