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Enhanced awareness followed reversible inhibition of human visual cortex: a combined TMS, MRS and MEG study.

Allen CP, Dunkley BT, Muthukumaraswamy SD, Edden R, Evans CJ, Sumner P, Singh KD, Chambers CD - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Contrary to expectations, our first experiment revealed the opposite effect: cTBS enhanced conscious vision relative to a sham control.No significant effects of cTBS on MEG measures were observed, although the results provided weak evidence for potentiation of event related desynchronisation in the β band.We speculate that gating-by-inhibition in the visual cortex may provide a key foundation of consciousness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
This series of experiments investigated the neural basis of conscious vision in humans using a form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) known as continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS). Previous studies have shown that occipital TMS, when time-locked to the onset of visual stimuli, can induce a phenomenon analogous to blindsight in which conscious detection is impaired while the ability to discriminate 'unseen' stimuli is preserved above chance. Here we sought to reproduce this phenomenon using offline occipital cTBS, which has been shown to induce an inhibitory cortical aftereffect lasting 45-60 minutes. Contrary to expectations, our first experiment revealed the opposite effect: cTBS enhanced conscious vision relative to a sham control. We then sought to replicate this cTBS-induced potentiation of consciousness in conjunction with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and undertook additional experiments to assess its relationship to visual cortical excitability and levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA; via magnetic resonance spectroscopy, MRS). Occipital cTBS decreased cortical excitability and increased regional GABA concentration. No significant effects of cTBS on MEG measures were observed, although the results provided weak evidence for potentiation of event related desynchronisation in the β band. Collectively these experiments suggest that, through the suppression of noise, cTBS can increase the signal-to-noise ratio of neural activity underlying conscious vision. We speculate that gating-by-inhibition in the visual cortex may provide a key foundation of consciousness.

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Experiment 4 – effects of cTBS on evoked responses.A. Group averaged evoked responses (ERF) following cTBS (blue) and control (yellow) stimulation, where shaded areas are one standard deviation across subjects. Plot derived from data averaged across post-TBS stimulus-present trials over occipital parietal clusters of channels. Δ refers to change from pre-stimulus baseline. B. Change from pre-TBS baseline in peak amplitude of evoked response following stimuli presentation for occipital/parietal channels. Active and control conditions are shown. cTBS vs. control p = 0.59, B(cTBS>sham) = 0.57. Error bars are ±1 SEM.
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pone-0100350-g011: Experiment 4 – effects of cTBS on evoked responses.A. Group averaged evoked responses (ERF) following cTBS (blue) and control (yellow) stimulation, where shaded areas are one standard deviation across subjects. Plot derived from data averaged across post-TBS stimulus-present trials over occipital parietal clusters of channels. Δ refers to change from pre-stimulus baseline. B. Change from pre-TBS baseline in peak amplitude of evoked response following stimuli presentation for occipital/parietal channels. Active and control conditions are shown. cTBS vs. control p = 0.59, B(cTBS>sham) = 0.57. Error bars are ±1 SEM.

Mentions: Contrary to our hypothesis, we observed no discernible effect of the cTBS, compared to sham/iTBS control, upon evoked responses (see Figure 11). The ANOVA indicated that there was neither a significant main effect of site (cTBS vs. control, F(1,22) = 0.31, p = 0.59, d = 0.14, N = 1 outlier excluded) nor a significant interaction between site × time post TBS (F(3,66) = 0.63, p = 0.57). This was reflected by the Bayesian analysis, which supported the hypothesis of an absence of positive effects, but not unequivocally (Bcombined = 0.57, Breplication = 0.728). No time effect was observed in isolation (F(3,66) = 0.83, p = 0.48).


Enhanced awareness followed reversible inhibition of human visual cortex: a combined TMS, MRS and MEG study.

Allen CP, Dunkley BT, Muthukumaraswamy SD, Edden R, Evans CJ, Sumner P, Singh KD, Chambers CD - PLoS ONE (2014)

Experiment 4 – effects of cTBS on evoked responses.A. Group averaged evoked responses (ERF) following cTBS (blue) and control (yellow) stimulation, where shaded areas are one standard deviation across subjects. Plot derived from data averaged across post-TBS stimulus-present trials over occipital parietal clusters of channels. Δ refers to change from pre-stimulus baseline. B. Change from pre-TBS baseline in peak amplitude of evoked response following stimuli presentation for occipital/parietal channels. Active and control conditions are shown. cTBS vs. control p = 0.59, B(cTBS>sham) = 0.57. Error bars are ±1 SEM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4067303&req=5

pone-0100350-g011: Experiment 4 – effects of cTBS on evoked responses.A. Group averaged evoked responses (ERF) following cTBS (blue) and control (yellow) stimulation, where shaded areas are one standard deviation across subjects. Plot derived from data averaged across post-TBS stimulus-present trials over occipital parietal clusters of channels. Δ refers to change from pre-stimulus baseline. B. Change from pre-TBS baseline in peak amplitude of evoked response following stimuli presentation for occipital/parietal channels. Active and control conditions are shown. cTBS vs. control p = 0.59, B(cTBS>sham) = 0.57. Error bars are ±1 SEM.
Mentions: Contrary to our hypothesis, we observed no discernible effect of the cTBS, compared to sham/iTBS control, upon evoked responses (see Figure 11). The ANOVA indicated that there was neither a significant main effect of site (cTBS vs. control, F(1,22) = 0.31, p = 0.59, d = 0.14, N = 1 outlier excluded) nor a significant interaction between site × time post TBS (F(3,66) = 0.63, p = 0.57). This was reflected by the Bayesian analysis, which supported the hypothesis of an absence of positive effects, but not unequivocally (Bcombined = 0.57, Breplication = 0.728). No time effect was observed in isolation (F(3,66) = 0.83, p = 0.48).

Bottom Line: Contrary to expectations, our first experiment revealed the opposite effect: cTBS enhanced conscious vision relative to a sham control.No significant effects of cTBS on MEG measures were observed, although the results provided weak evidence for potentiation of event related desynchronisation in the β band.We speculate that gating-by-inhibition in the visual cortex may provide a key foundation of consciousness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
This series of experiments investigated the neural basis of conscious vision in humans using a form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) known as continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS). Previous studies have shown that occipital TMS, when time-locked to the onset of visual stimuli, can induce a phenomenon analogous to blindsight in which conscious detection is impaired while the ability to discriminate 'unseen' stimuli is preserved above chance. Here we sought to reproduce this phenomenon using offline occipital cTBS, which has been shown to induce an inhibitory cortical aftereffect lasting 45-60 minutes. Contrary to expectations, our first experiment revealed the opposite effect: cTBS enhanced conscious vision relative to a sham control. We then sought to replicate this cTBS-induced potentiation of consciousness in conjunction with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and undertook additional experiments to assess its relationship to visual cortical excitability and levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA; via magnetic resonance spectroscopy, MRS). Occipital cTBS decreased cortical excitability and increased regional GABA concentration. No significant effects of cTBS on MEG measures were observed, although the results provided weak evidence for potentiation of event related desynchronisation in the β band. Collectively these experiments suggest that, through the suppression of noise, cTBS can increase the signal-to-noise ratio of neural activity underlying conscious vision. We speculate that gating-by-inhibition in the visual cortex may provide a key foundation of consciousness.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus