Publications of Vanessa CHARLAND-VERVILLE
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See detailNear-Death Experience Memories Include More Episodic Components Than Flashbulb Memories
Cassol, Helena ULiege; Bonin, Estelle ULiege; Bastin, Christine ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020), 11(888),

Memories of near-death experiences (NDEs) are recalled as “realer” than memories of other real or imagined events. Given their rich phenomenology, emotionality and consequentiality, it was hypothesized ... [more ▼]

Memories of near-death experiences (NDEs) are recalled as “realer” than memories of other real or imagined events. Given their rich phenomenology, emotionality and consequentiality, it was hypothesized that they could meet some aspects of the definition of flashbulb memories. We aimed to identify and compare the episodic and non-episodic information provided in verbal recollections of NDE, flashbulb, and control autobiographical memories. The phenomenological characteristics and centrality of the memories were also compared. Twenty-five participants who had lived a NDE in a life-threatening situation were interviewed and completed the Memory Characteristics Questionnaires as well as the Centrality of Event Scale for their NDE, a flashbulb and another autobiographical memory used as control. Overall, transcribed NDE verbal recollections included a higher overall amount of details and more internal/episodic information than control autobiographical and flashbulb memories. Moreover, flashbulb memories were associated to a lower intensity of feelings while remembering and a lower personal importance, and are less reactivated and less susceptible to be remembered from a first person perspective compared to NDE and control autobiographical memories. Finally, NDE memories are the most central memories to experiencers’ identity, followed by control autobiographical and then by flashbulb memories. These findings corroborate previous studies highlighting the impact and uniqueness of NDE memories. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of near-death experiences using text mining analyses: a preliminary study
Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege; Ribeiro de Paula, Demetrius; Martial, Charlotte ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

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See detailNeurophenomenology of near-death experience memory in hypnotic recall: a within-subject EEG study
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Mensen, Armand ULiege; CHARLAND-VERVILLE, Vanessa ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2019)

The neurobiological basis of near-death experiences (NDEs) is unknown, but a few studies attempted to investigate it by reproducing in laboratory settings phenomenological experiences that seem to closely ... [more ▼]

The neurobiological basis of near-death experiences (NDEs) is unknown, but a few studies attempted to investigate it by reproducing in laboratory settings phenomenological experiences that seem to closely resemble NDEs. So far, no study has induced NDE-like features via hypnotic modulation while simultaneously measuring changes in brain activity using high-density EEG. Five volunteers who previously had experienced a pleasant NDE were invited to re-experience the NDE memory and another pleasant autobiographical memory (dating to the same time period), in normal consciousness and with hypnosis. We compared the hypnosis-induced subjective experience with the one of the genuine experience memory. Continuous high-density EEG was recorded throughout. At a phenomenological level, we succeeded in recreating NDE-like features without any adverse effects. Absorption and dissociation levels were reported as higher during all hypnosis conditions as compared to normal consciousness conditions, suggesting that our hypnosis-based protocol increased the felt subjective experience in the recall of both memories. The recall of a NDE phenomenology was related to an increase of alpha activity in frontal and posterior regions. This study provides a proof-of-concept methodology for studying the phenomenon, enabling to prospectively explore the NDE-like features and associated EEG changes in controlled settings. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of a hypnosis-based intervention on fatigue and sleep difficulties in post-treatment cancer patients
Grégoire, Charlotte ULiege; FAYMONVILLE, Marie-Elisabeth ULiege; VANHAUDENHUYSE, Audrey ULiege et al

in Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research and Practice (2019, September), 1(1S),

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See detailGreater preserved baseline functional MRI connectivity in zolpidem responders compared to non-responders in patients with disorders of consciousness.
Ippoliti, Camilla ULiege; Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Sanz, Leandro ULiege et al

Conference (2019, June 30)

Introduction Zolpidem is commonly used as sleep inducer but is one of the few available pharmacological treatments for patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). Some DOC patients have exhibited ... [more ▼]

Introduction Zolpidem is commonly used as sleep inducer but is one of the few available pharmacological treatments for patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC). Some DOC patients have exhibited paradoxical improvements with zolpidem treatment but the neurological profile of responders remains unclear. No fMRI study has ever been conducted in a group of DOC patients. We investigated the baseline functional brain connectivity in DOC patients responding to zolpidem compared to non-responding patients. Methods Eleven patients in minimally conscious state and 5 who emerged received a 10 mg single dose of zolpidem. Patients were considered responders if a new behaviour was observed using the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised after zolpidem administration. All patients underwent resting-state fMRI (without zolpidem). Hypothesis-free and seed-based region (thalamus) analyses were conducted with age and gender covariates regressed out, comparing patients with 36 healthy volunteers. Results Seven patients qualified as responders (5 sedated, 2 non-sedated) and 9 as non-responders (6 sedated, 3 non-sedated). Hypothesis-free analyses in the sedated group revealed significantly increased intrinsic connectivity among responders in the occipital, occipito-temporal and parieto-occipital areas compared to non-responders. Seed-based analyses showed significantly more preserved positive connectivity of the fronto-insular network in responders compared to non-responders. No significant differences were found between responders and non-responders in the non-sedated condition, possibly due to smaller sample size. Conclusion Our findings suggest a greater preservation of global and local connectivity in zolpidem responders at baseline. Targeting more accurately potential responders to zolpidem can improve the clinical management of DOC patients. [less ▲]

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See detailMemories of near-death experiences: are they self-defining?
Cassol, Helena ULiege; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULiege; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege et al

in Neuroscience of Consciousness (2019), 5(1),

Some people report memories of near-death experiences (NDEs) after facing situations of impending death and these memories appear to have significant consequences on their lives (here referred to as “real ... [more ▼]

Some people report memories of near-death experiences (NDEs) after facing situations of impending death and these memories appear to have significant consequences on their lives (here referred to as “real NDE experiencers”; real NDErs). We assessed to what extent NDE memories are considered self-defining: memories that help people to define clearly how they see themselves. We screened 71 participants using the Greyson NDE scale (48 real NDErs and 23 NDErs-like who had lived a similar experience in absence of a threat to their life). Participants described their two main self-defining memories (SDMs). For each SDM, they completed the Centrality of Event Scale (CES) to assess how central the event is to their identity. The two subgroups did not differ regarding the proportion of NDErs who recalled their NDE (30 real NDErs out of 48 and 11 NDErs-like out of 23). Real NDErs and NDErs-like who recalled their NDE (n ¼ 41) reported richer experiences as assessed by the Greyson NDE scale. Furthermore, these participants rated their NDE memory as more central to their identity as compared to other SDMs, and the richness of the NDE memory was positively associated to its centrality (CES scores). Overall, these findings suggest that the self-defining aspect of the experience might be related to its phenomenological content rather than its circumstances of occurrence. The self-defining status of NDE memories confirms that they constitute an important part of NDErs’ personal identity and highlights the importance for clinicians to facilitate their integration within the self. [less ▲]

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See detailNeurochemical models of near-death experiences: a large-scale study based on the semantic similarity of written reports
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege et al

in Consciousness and Cognition (2019)

The real or perceived proximity to death often results in a non-ordinary state of consciousness characterized by phenomenological features such as the perception of leaving the body boundaries, feelings ... [more ▼]

The real or perceived proximity to death often results in a non-ordinary state of consciousness characterized by phenomenological features such as the perception of leaving the body boundaries, feelings of peace, bliss and timelessness, life review, the sensation of traveling through a tunnel and an irreversible threshold. Near-death experiences (NDEs) are comparable among individuals of different cultures, suggesting an underlying neurobiological mechanism. Anecdotal accounts of the similarity between NDEs and certain drug-induced altered states of consciousness prompted us to perform a large-scale comparative analysis of these experiences. After assessing the semantic similarity between ≈15,000 reports linked to the use of 165 psychoactive substances with 625 NDE narratives, we determined that the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine consistently resulted in reports most similar to those associated with NDEs. Ketamine was followed by Salvia divinorum (a plant containing a potent and selective κ receptor agonist) and a series of serotonergic psychedelics, including the endogenous serotonin 2A receptor agonist N,N Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). This similarity was driven by semantic concepts related to consciousness of the self and the environment, but also by those associated with the therapeutic, ceremonial and religious aspects of drug use. Our analysis sheds light on the long-standing link between certain drugs and the experience of “dying“, suggests that ketamine could be used as a safe and reversible experimental model for NDE phenomenology, and supports the speculation that endogenous NMDA antagonists with neuroprotective properties may be released in the proximity of death. [less ▲]

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See detailA Heartbeat Away From Consciousness: Heart Rate Entropy Can Assess Consciousness
Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Riganello, Francesco ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

Poster (2019, January 25)

Motivation: Disorders of consciousness are challenging to diagnose, with inconsistent behavioral responses, motor and cognitive disabilities, leading to approximately 40% misdiagnoses[1]. Heart rate ... [more ▼]

Motivation: Disorders of consciousness are challenging to diagnose, with inconsistent behavioral responses, motor and cognitive disabilities, leading to approximately 40% misdiagnoses[1]. Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions[2-5]. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals and over multiple time scales using multiscale entropy (MSE)[6-8]. The complexity index (CI) provides a score of a system’s complexity by aggregating the MSE measures over a range of time scales[8]. Most HRV entropy studies have focused on acute traumatic patients using task-based designs[9]. We here investigate the CI and its discriminative power in chronic patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) at rest, and its relation to brain functional connectivity. Methods: We investigated the CI in short (CIs) and long (CIl) time scales in 14 UWS and 16 MCS sedated. CI for MCS and UWS groups were compared using a Mann-Whitney exact test. Spearman’s correlation tests were conducted between the Coma Recovery Scale-revised (CRS-R) and both CI. Discriminative power of both CI was assessed with One-R machine learning model. Correlation between CI and brain connectivity (detected with functional magnetic resonance imagery using seed-based and hypothesis-free intrinsic connectivity) was investigated using a linear regression in a subgroup of 10 UWS and 11 MCS patients with sufficient image quality. Results and Discussion: Higher CIs and CIl measures were observed in MCS compared to UWS. Positive correlations were found between CRS-R and both CI. The One-R classifier selected CIl as the best discriminator between UWS and MCS with 90% accuracy, 7% false positive and 13% false negative rates after a 10-fold cross-validation test. Positive correlations were observed between both CI and the recovery of functional connectivity of brain areas belonging to the central autonomic networks (CAN). The CI has a high discriminative power for the level of consciousness between MCS and UWS, with low false negative rate at one third of the reported misdiagnosis rate of human assessors, providing an easy, inexpensive and non-invasive diagnosis tool. CI reflects functional connectivity changes in brain regions belonging to the CAN, suggesting that CI can provide an indirect way to screen and monitor connectivity changes in this neural system. Future studies should investigate further the extent of CI’s predictive power for other pathologies and prognostic power in acute patients. [less ▲]

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See detailA Heartbeat Away From Consciousness: Heart Rate Variability Entropy can discriminate disorders of consciousness and is correlated with resting-state fMRI brain connectivity of the Central Autonomic Network
Riganello, Francesco ULiege; Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

Poster (2019, January 17)

Motivation: Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions[1-5]. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals ... [more ▼]

Motivation: Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions[1-5]. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals and over multiple time scales using multiscale entropy (MSE)[6-8]. The complexity index (CI) provides a score of a system’s complexity by aggregating the MSE measures over a range of time scales[8]. Most HRV entropy studies have focused on acute traumatic patients using task-based designs[9]. We here investigate the CI and its discriminative power in chronic patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) at rest, and its relation to brain functional connectivity. Methods: We investigated the CI in short (CIs) and long (CIl) time scales in 16 UWS and 17 MCS sedated. CI for MCS and UWS groups were compared using a Mann-Whitney exact test. Spearman’s correlation tests were conducted between the Coma Recovery Scale-revised (CRS-R) and both CI. Discriminative power of both CI was assessed with One-R machine learning model. Correlation between CI and brain connectivity (detected with functional magnetic resonance imagery using seed-based and hypothesis-free intrinsic connectivity) was investigated using a linear regression in a subgroup of 12 UWS and 12 MCS patients with sufficient image quality. Results and Discussion: Significant differences were found between MCS and UWS for CIs and CIl (0.0001≤p≤0.006). Significant correlations were found between CRS-R and CIs and CIl (0.0001≤p≤0.026). The One-R classifier selected CIl as the best discriminator between UWS and MCS with 85% accuracy, 19% false positive rate and 12% false negative rate after a 10-fold cross-validation test. Positive correlations were observed between CI and brain areas belonging to the autonomic system. CI was found to be significantly higher in MCS compared to UWS patients, with high discriminative power and lower false negative rate than the reported misdiagnosis rate of human assessors, providing an easy, inexpensive and non-invasive diagnosis tool. CI is correlated to functional connectivity changes in brain regions belonging to the autonomic nervous system, suggesting that CI can provide an indirect way to screen and monitor connectivity changes in this neural system. Future studies should investigate further the extent of CI’s predictive power for other pathologies in the disorders of consciousness spectrum. [less ▲]

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See detailA systematic analysis of distressing near-death experience accounts
Cassol, Helena ULiege; Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Annen, Jitka ULiege et al

in Memory (2019), 27

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are usually associated with positive affect, however, a small proportion are considered distressing. We aimed to look into the proportion of distressing NDEs in a sample of ... [more ▼]

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are usually associated with positive affect, however, a small proportion are considered distressing. We aimed to look into the proportion of distressing NDEs in a sample of NDE narratives, categorise distressing narratives according to Greyson and Bush’s classification (inverse, void or hellish), and compare distressing and “classical” NDEs. Participants wrote down their experience, completed the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (assessing the phenomenology of memories) and the Greyson scale (characterising content of NDEs). The proportion of suicidal attempts, content and intensity of distressing and classical NDEs were compared using frequentist and Bayesian statistics. Distressing NDEs represent 14% of our sample (n = 123). We identified 8 inverse, 8 hellish and 1 void accounts. The proportion of suicide survivors is higher in distressing NDEs as compared to classical ones. Finally, memories of distressing NDEs appear as phenomenologically detailed as classical ones. Distressing NDEs deserve careful consideration to ensure their integration into experiencers’ identity. [less ▲]

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See detailReconfiguration of large-scale functional connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness.
Martinez, Darwin E.; Rudas, Jorge; Demertzi, Athina ULiege et al

in Brain and behavior (2019)

INTRODUCTION: Functional connectivity alterations within individual resting state networks (RSNs) are linked to disorders of consciousness (DOC). If these alterations influence the interaction quality ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION: Functional connectivity alterations within individual resting state networks (RSNs) are linked to disorders of consciousness (DOC). If these alterations influence the interaction quality with other RNSs, then, brain alterations in patients with DOC would be characterized by connectivity changes in the large-scale model composed of RSNs. How are functional interactions between RSNs influenced by internal alterations of individual RSNs? Do the functional alterations induced by DOC change some key properties of the large-scale network, which have been suggested to be critical for the consciousness emergence? Here, we use network analysis to measure functional connectivity in patients with DOC and address these questions. We hypothesized that network properties provide descriptions of brain functional reconfiguration associated with consciousness alterations. METHODS: We apply nodal and global network measurements to study the reconfiguration linked with the disease severity. We study changes in integration, segregation, and centrality properties of the functional connectivity between the RSNs in subjects with different levels of consciousness. RESULTS: Our analysis indicates that nodal measurements are more sensitive to disease severity than global measurements, particularly, for functional connectivity of sensory and cognitively related RSNs. CONCLUSION: The network property alterations of functional connectivity in different consciousness levels suggest a whole-brain topological reorganization of the large-scale functional connectivity in patients with DOC. [less ▲]

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See detailModulation of the spontaneous hemodynamic response function across levels of consciousness
Wu, Guo-Rong; Di Perri, Carol ULiege; CHARLAND-VERVILLE, Vanessa ULiege et al

in NeuroImage (2019)

Functional imaging research has already contributed with several results to the study of neural correlates of consciousness. Apart from task-related activation derived in fMRI, PET based glucose ... [more ▼]

Functional imaging research has already contributed with several results to the study of neural correlates of consciousness. Apart from task-related activation derived in fMRI, PET based glucose metabolism rate or cerebral blood flow account for a considerable proportion of the study of brain activity under different levels of consciousness. Resting state functional connectivity MRI is playing a crucial role to explore the consciousness related functional integration, successfully complementing PET, another widely used neuroimaging technique. Here, spontaneous hemodynamic response is introduced to characterize resting state brain activity giving information on the local metabolism (neurovascular coupling), and useful to improve the time-resolved activity and connectivity measures based on BOLD fMRI. This voxel-wise measure is then used to investigate the loss of consciousness under Propofol anesthesia and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. Changes in the hemodynamic response in precuneus and posterior cingulate are found to be a common principle underlying loss of consciousness in both conditions. The thalamus appears to be less obviously modulated by Propofol, compared with frontoparietal regions. However, a significant increase in spontaneous thalamic hemodynamic response was found in patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome compared with healthy control. Our results ultimately show that anesthesia- or pathology-induced neurovascular coupling could be tracked by modulated spontaneous hemodynamic response derived from resting state fMRI. [less ▲]

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See detailNear-death experiences Are they self-defining?
Cassol, Helena ULiege; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULiege; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege et al

Poster (2018, October 19)

Background: Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are profound psychological events with highly emotional and self-related content, typically encompassing transcendental and mystical elements and occurring when ... [more ▼]

Background: Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are profound psychological events with highly emotional and self-related content, typically encompassing transcendental and mystical elements and occurring when people come close to death (Greyson, 2000). These experiences appear to have significant consequences on peoples’ lives (so-called "NDE experiencers" or "NDErs"; e.g., Noyes, 1980). Given their documented life-transforming effects and their reported importance, NDE memories appear to share similarities with a particular type of autobiographical memories referred to as a self-defining memories (SDMs; Blagov and Singer, 2004). SDMs are the building blocks of identity (Blagov and Singer, 2004) and contribute, in particular, to the sense of self-continuity (Conway et al., 2004) which represents the ability to consider oneself as an entity that extends back into the past and forward into the future (Chandler, 1994). <br />Objectives: This study aimed at 1) assessing if NDE memories are considered as SDMs and 2) determining whether the potential self-defining dimension of NDEs is due to their phenomenal content or their circumstances of appearance (i.e., presence or absence of impeding death). <br />Methods: 71 participants were screened using the Greyson NDE scale (48 real NDErs and 23 NDErs-like who had lived a similar experience in absence of life threat; Greyson, 1983). This 16-item multiple-choice validated scale enables to quantify the richness of the experience (scores ranging from 0 to 32) and allows a standardized identification of NDEs (cut-off score of 7). Participants described their two main self-defining memories (SDMs) and completed the Centrality of Event Scale (CES; Berntsen and Rubin, 2006) for each one of them. The CES is a 20-item scale (scores ranging from 0 to 100) designed to assess how central the event is to their identity. Proportions of NDErs who recalled their NDE were calculated for each subgroup (real NDErs and NDErs-like) and a Pearson’s chi square test was performed to compare ratios between them. Later, all participants were divided into two subgroups depending on whether or not they recalled their NDE (no matter its context of occurrence; "NDE recalled" and "NDE not recalled"). The last step of analyses focused on the CES scale and was only carried out on the “NDE recalled” subgroup. Differences in CES total scores between the NDE memory and the other SDM were assessed using a Student’s t-test. Additionally, a Spearman’s correlation was performed to examine associative strength between CES and Greyson NDE scale total scores. <br />Results: Real NDErs and NDErs-like did not differ regarding the proportion of NDErs who recalled their NDE (30 real NDErs out of 48 and 11 NDErs-like out of 23; p=0.24), suggesting that the self-defining aspect of the experience could be explained by its phenomenological content rather than context of occurrence. These participants (n=41) rated the NDE memory as more central to their identity as compared to the other SDM (p<0.001). Furthermore, the richness of the NDE memory (Greyson NDE scale scores) was positively associated to its centrality (CES scores; p<0.01). <br />Conclusions: The self-defining status of NDE memories confirms that they constitute an important part of NDErs’ personal identity and highlights the importance for clinicians to facilitate their integration within the self. SDMs are indeed essential to one’s sense of self-continuity, which is crucial for psychological well-being. [less ▲]

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See detailA Heartbeat Away From Consciousness: Heart Rate Variability Entropy Can Discriminate Disorders of Consciousness and Is Correlated With Resting-State fMRI Brain Connectivity of the Central Autonomic Network
Riganello, Francesco ULiege; Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Neurology (2018), 9

Background: Disorders of consciousness are challenging to diagnose, with inconsistent behavioral responses, motor and cognitive disabilities, leading to approximately 40% misdiagnoses. Heart rate ... [more ▼]

Background: Disorders of consciousness are challenging to diagnose, with inconsistent behavioral responses, motor and cognitive disabilities, leading to approximately 40% misdiagnoses. Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the complexity of the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals. We here investigate the complexity index (CI), a score of HRV complexity by aggregating the non-linear multi-scale entropies over a range of time scales, and its discriminative power in chronic patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS), and its relation to brain functional connectivity. Methods: We investigated the CI in short (CIs) and long (CIl) time scales in 14 UWS and 16 MCS sedated. CI for MCS and UWS groups were compared using a Mann-Whitney exact test. Spearman's correlation tests were conducted between the Coma Recovery Scale-revised (CRS-R) and both CI. Discriminative power of both CI was assessed with One-R machine learning model. Correlation between CI and brain connectivity (detected with functional magnetic resonance imagery using seed-based and hypothesis-free intrinsic connectivity) was investigated using a linear regression in a subgroup of 10 UWS and 11 MCS patients with sufficient image quality. Results: Higher CIs and CIl values were observed in MCS compared to UWS. Positive correlations were found between CRS-R and both CI. The One-R classifier selected CIl as the best discriminator between UWS and MCS with 90% accuracy, 7% false positive and 13% false negative rates after a 10-fold cross-validation test. Positive correlations were observed between both CI and the recovery of functional connectivity of brain areas belonging to the central autonomic networks (CAN). Conclusion: CI of MCS compared to UWS patients has high discriminative power and low false negative rate at one third of the estimated human assessors' misdiagnosis, providing an easy, inexpensive and non-invasive diagnostic tool. CI reflects functional connectivity changes in the CAN, suggesting that CI can provide an indirect way to screen and monitor connectivity changes in this neural system. Future studies should assess the extent of CI's predictive power in a larger cohort of patients and prognostic power in acute patients. [less ▲]

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See detailHypnosis: from science to clinic
FAYMONVILLE, Marie-Elisabeth ULiege; LAUREYS, Steven ULiege; Martial, Charlotte ULiege et al

Conference (2018, August 24)

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See detailA Heartbeat Away From Consciousness: Heart Rate Variability Entropy can discriminate disorders of consciousness and is correlated with resting-state fMRI brain connectivity of the Central Autonomic Network
Riganello, Francesco ULiege; Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULiege et al

Poster (2018, June 21)

Motivation: Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions[1-5]. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals ... [more ▼]

Motivation: Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects the heart-brain two-way dynamic interactions[1-5]. HRV entropy analysis quantifies the unpredictability and complexity of the heart rate beats intervals and over multiple time scales using multiscale entropy (MSE)[6-8]. The complexity index (CI) provides a score of a system’s complexity by aggregating the MSE measures over a range of time scales[8]. Most HRV entropy studies have focused on acute traumatic patients using task-based designs[9]. We here investigate the CI and its discriminative power in chronic patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) at rest, and its relation to brain functional connectivity. Methods: We investigated the CI in short (CIs) and long (CIl) time scales in 16 UWS and 17 MCS sedated. CI for MCS and UWS groups were compared using a Mann-Whitney exact test. Spearman’s correlation tests were conducted between the Coma Recovery Scale-revised (CRS-R) and both CI. Discriminative power of both CI was assessed with One-R machine learning model. Correlation between CI and brain connectivity (detected with functional magnetic resonance imagery using seed-based and hypothesis-free intrinsic connectivity) was investigated using a linear regression in a subgroup of 12 UWS and 12 MCS patients with sufficient image quality. Results and Discussion: Significant differences were found between MCS and UWS for CIs and CIl (0.0001≤p≤0.006). Significant correlations were found between CRS-R and CIs and CIl (0.0001≤p≤0.026). The One-R classifier selected CIl as the best discriminator between UWS and MCS with 85% accuracy, 19% false positive rate and 12% false negative rate after a 10-fold cross-validation test. Positive correlations were observed between CI and brain areas belonging to the autonomic system. CI was found to be significantly higher in MCS compared to UWS patients, with high discriminative power and lower false negative rate than the reported misdiagnosis rate of human assessors, providing an easy, inexpensive and non-invasive diagnosis tool. CI is correlated to functional connectivity changes in brain regions belonging to the autonomic nervous system, suggesting that CI can provide an indirect way to screen and monitor connectivity changes in this neural system. Future studies should investigate further the extent of CI’s predictive power for other pathologies in the disorders of consciousness spectrum. [less ▲]

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See detailFantasy proneness correlates with the intensity of near-death experience
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Psychiatry (2018)

Little is known about the personality characteristics of those who have experienced a “Near-Death Experience” (NDE). One interesting candidate is fantasy proneness. We studied this trait in individuals ... [more ▼]

Little is known about the personality characteristics of those who have experienced a “Near-Death Experience” (NDE). One interesting candidate is fantasy proneness. We studied this trait in individuals who developed NDEs in the presence (i.e., classical NDEs) or absence (i.e., NDEs-like) of a life-threatening situation. We surveyed a total of 228 individuals. From those, 108 qualified as NDE experiencers (i.e., Greyson NDE scale total score ≥ 7): 51 had their NDEs in the context of a life‐threatening situation; 57 had their NDEs not related to a life-threatening situation. From those who did not meet the criteria to be considered “experiencers”, 20 had their NDE in the absence of a life-threatening situation; 50 had faced death but did not recall a NDE and finally, 50 were healthy people without a history of life threat and/or NDE. All participants completed a measure of NDE intensity (the Greyson NDE scale) and a measure of fantasy proneness (the Creative Experiences Questionnaire). People reporting NDEs-like scored higher on fantasy proneness than those reporting classical NDEs, individuals whose experiences did not meet the NDE criteria and matched controls. By contrast, individuals reporting classical NDEs showed similar engagement in fantasy as matched controls. The reported intensity of the experiences was positively correlated with engagement in fantasy. Our findings support the view that strong engagement in fantasy by individuals recalling NDEs-like might make these persons more likely to report such subjective experiences when exposed to suitable physiological and/or psychological conditions (e.g., meditation, syncope). [less ▲]

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