The default-mode network (DMN) is a set of specific brain regions whose activity, predominant in the resting-state, is attenuated during cognitively demanding, externally-cued tasks. The cognitive correlates of this network have proven difficult to interrogate, but one hypothesis is that regions in the network process episodic memories and semantic knowledge integral to internally-generated mental activity. Here, we compare default-mode functional connectivity in the same group of subjects during rest and conscious sedation with midazolam, a state characterized by anterograde amnesia and a reduced level of consciousness. Although the DMN showed functional connectivity during both rest and conscious sedation, a direct comparison found that there was significantly reduced functional connectivity in the posterior cingulate cortex during conscious sedation. These results confirm that low-frequency oscillations in the DMN persist and remain highly correlated even at reduced levels of consciousness. We hypothesize that focal reductions in DMN connectivity, as shown here in the posterior cingulate cortex, may represent a stable correlate of reduced consciousness.
View details for DOI 10.1002/hbm.20537
View details for Web of Science ID 000256674400012
View details for PubMedID 18219620