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  1. Research has found that the vividness of conscious experience is related to brain dynamics. Despite both being anaesthetics, propofol and ketamine produce different subjective states: we explore the different effects of these two anaesthetics on the structure of dynamic attractors reconstructed from electrophysiological activity recorded from cerebral cortex of two macaques. We used two methods: the first embeds the recordings in a continuous high-dimensional manifold on which we use topological data analysis to infer the presence of higher-order dynamics. The second reconstruction, an ordinal partition network embedding, allows us to create a discrete state-transition network, which is amenable to information-theoretic analysis and contains rich information about state-transition dynamics. We find that the awake condition generally had the ‘richest’ structure, visiting the most states, the presence of pronounced higher-order structures, and the least deterministic dynamics. By contrast, the propofol condition had the most dissimilar dynamics, transitioning to a more impoverished, constrained, low-structure regime. The ketamine condition, interestingly, seemed to combine aspects of both: while it was generally less complex than the awake condition, it remained well above propofol in almost all measures. These results provide deeper and more comprehensive insights than what is typically gained by using point-measures of complexity.
  2. Jbabdi, Saad (Ed.)
    Whether the brain operates at a critical “tipping” point is a long standing scientific question, with evidence from both cellular and systems-scale studies suggesting that the brain does sit in, or near, a critical regime. Neuroimaging studies of humans in altered states of consciousness have prompted the suggestion that maintenance of critical dynamics is necessary for the emergence of consciousness and complex cognition, and that reduced or disorganized consciousness may be associated with deviations from criticality. Unfortunately, many of the cellular-level studies reporting signs of criticality were performed in non-conscious systems (in vitro neuronal cultures) or unconscious animals (e.g. anaesthetized rats). Here we attempted to address this knowledge gap by exploring critical brain dynamics in invasive ECoG recordings from multiple sessions with a single macaque as the animal transitioned from consciousness to unconsciousness under different anaesthetics (ketamine and propofol). We use a previously-validated test of criticality: avalanche dynamics to assess the differences in brain dynamics between normal consciousness and both drug-states. Propofol and ketamine were selected due to their differential effects on consciousness (ketamine, but not propofol, is known to induce an unusual state known as “dissociative anaesthesia”). Our analyses indicate that propofol dramatically restricted the size and duration ofmore »avalanches, while ketamine allowed for more awake-like dynamics to persist. In addition, propofol, but not ketamine, triggered a large reduction in the complexity of brain dynamics. All states, however, showed some signs of persistent criticality when testing for exponent relations and universal shape-collapse. Further, maintenance of critical brain dynamics may be important for regulation and control of conscious awareness.« less