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Cortical Response to the Natural Speech Envelope Correlates with Neuroimaging Evidence of Cognition in Severe Brain Injury.

TitleCortical Response to the Natural Speech Envelope Correlates with Neuroimaging Evidence of Cognition in Severe Brain Injury.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBraiman C, Fridman EA, Conte MM, Voss HU, Reichenbach CS, Reichenbach T, Schiff ND
JournalCurr Biol
Date Published2018 Nov 10
ISSN1879-0445
Abstract

Recent studies identify severely brain-injured patients with limited or no behavioral responses who successfully perform functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or electroencephalogram (EEG) mental imagery tasks [1-5]. Such tasks are cognitively demanding [1]; accordingly, recent studies support that fMRI command following in brain-injured patients associates with preserved cerebral metabolism and preserved sleep-wake EEG [5, 6]. We investigated the use of an EEG response that tracks the natural speech envelope (NSE) of spoken language [7-22] in healthy controls and brain-injured patients (vegetative state to emergence from minimally conscious state). As audition is typically preserved after brain injury, auditory paradigms may be preferred in searching for covert cognitive function [23-25]. NSE measures are obtained by cross-correlating EEG with the NSE. We compared NSE latencies and amplitudes with and without consideration of fMRI assessments. NSE latencies showed significant and progressive delay across diagnostic categories. Patients who could carry out fMRI-based mental imagery tasks showed no statistically significant difference in NSE latencies relative to healthy controls; this subgroup included patients without behavioral command following. The NSE may stratify patients with severe brain injuries and identify those patients demonstrating "cognitive motor dissociation" (CMD) [26] who show only covert evidence of command following utilizing neuroimaging or electrophysiological methods that demand high levels of cognitive function. Thus, the NSE is a passive measure that may provide a useful screening tool to improve detection of covert cognition with fMRI or other methods and improve stratification of patients with disorders of consciousness in research studies.

DOI10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.057
Alternate JournalCurr. Biol.
PubMed ID30471997