EEG alpha phase shifts during transition from wakefulness to drowsiness
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Phases of alpha oscillations recorded by EEG were typically studied in the context of event or task related experiments, rarely during spontaneous alpha activity and in different brain states. During wake-to-drowsy transition they change unevenly, depending on the brain region. To explore their dynamics, we recorded ten adult healthy individuals in these two states. Alpha waves were treated as stable frequency and variable amplitude signals with one carrier frequency (CF). A method for calculating their CF phase shifts (CFPS) and CF phase potentials (CFPP) was developed and verified on surrogate signals as more accurate than phase shifts of Fourier components. Probability density estimate (PDE) of CFPS, CFPP and CF phase locking showed that frontal and fronto-temporal areas of the cortex underwent more extensive changes than posterior regions. The greatest differences were found between pairs of channels involving F7, F8, F3 and F4 (PDE of CFPS); F7, F8. T3 and 14 (CFPP); F7, F8, F3, F...4, C3, C4 and T3 (decrease in CF phase locking). A topographic distribution of channels with above the average phase locking in the wake state revealed two separate regions occupying anterior and posterior brain areas (with intra regional and inter hemispheric connections). These regions merged and became mutually phase locked longitudinally in the drowsy state. Changes occurring primarily in the frontal and fronto-temporal regions correlated with an early decrease of alertness. Areas of increased phase locking might be correlated with topography of synchronous neuronal assemblies conceptualized within neural correlates of consciousness. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Electroencephalographic signals / Alpha rhythm / Phase shift / Hypnagogic state / Alertness / Drowsiness
Source:International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2012, 86, 3, 195-205
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