Category Archives: Nevrologi

Symposium on Consciousness at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC, 15 Nov. 2017

Neural Correlates of Consciousness:

Progress and Problems


Theme H: Cognition

Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Progress and Problems – Johan Storm

Chair: Johan Storm, PhD
University of Oslo
Co-Chair: Melanie Boly, MD, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date & Time: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 1:30pm – 4pm

Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Consciousness research is developing rapidly. Using evidence from brain injury in patients and physiological and behavioral studies in humans and related animals (single neuron, fMRI, EEG, TMS, intracranial recordings), the symposium will highlight how different conscious states and contents arise in the brain. Speakers will discuss different experimental approaches and theoretical frameworks as well as the medical and ethical relevance of this area.


The nature of consciousness is widely regarded as one of the great challenges in science. Over the past decade there has been substantive empirical and theoretical progress in this field. This symposium presents results from this recent surge in consciousness research.

Melanie Boly will review evidence of frequent dissociation between consciousness and responsiveness in patients with brain damage. She will present recent evidence that after ruling out confounds, the anatomical neural correlates of consciousness are primarily localized to a posterior cortical hot zone, rather than to a fronto-parietal network involved in task performance and report, and discuss the potential clinical applications of these findings.

Marcello Massimimi will describe the rationale and validation of the perturbational complexity index (PCI), a theory-driven empirical metric designed to gauge the brain’s capacity for integrated information. He will show how this index can be employed at the bedside to assess and stratify unresponsive patients, independently of sensory processing and motor/executive functions, and will highlight physiopathological implications.

Melanie Wilke will discuss how to disentangle conscious perception from decision making and visuomotor processes. Drawing conclusions from electrophysiological and fMRI experiments in monkeys and humans, she will address which signals and brain regions continue to correlate with conscious perception without the requirement of a behavioral report. She will also show consequences of parietal and thalamic pulvinar perturbations on conscious perception versus visuomotor decisions. Finally, she will discuss how to avoid or control for report-related confounds in future studies of conscious perception.

Cyriel Pennartz will focus on the theoretical delineation of requirements for animal brains capable of sustaining consciousness. Next, he will review recent advances in uncovering neuronal population correlates of visual stimulus detection, which is considered an important component of sensory awareness. Finally, he will zoom out from visual cortex to larger interconnected neural systems, probed with multi-area ensemble recordings to investigate changes in local and long-range functional connectivity across the sleep-wake cycle.!/4376/session/91

Ballroom B (1100 seats)was quite full during the symposium 15 Nov.


2017_SfN-Review Article_JNSci

J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 8;37(45):10882-10893. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1838-17.2017.

Consciousness Regained: Disentangling Mechanisms, Brain Systems, and Behavioral Responses.


How consciousness (experience) arises from and relates to material brain processes (the “mind-body problem”) has been pondered by thinkers for centuries, and is regarded as among the deepest unsolved problems in science, with wide-ranging theoretical, clinical, and ethical implications. Until the last few decades, this was largely seen as a philosophical topic, but not widely accepted in mainstream neuroscience. Since the 1980s, however, novel methods and theoretical advances have yielded remarkable results, opening up the field for scientific and clinical progress. Since a seminal paper by Crick and Koch (1998) claimed that a science of consciousness should first search for its neural correlates (NCC), a variety of correlates have been suggested, including both content-specific NCCs, determining particular phenomenal components within an experience, and the full NCC, the neural substrates supporting entire conscious experiences. In this review, we present recent progress on theoretical, experimental, and clinical issues. Specifically, we (1) review methodological advances that are important for dissociating conscious experience from related enabling and executive functions, (2) suggest how critically reconsidering the role of the frontal cortex may further delineate NCCs, (3) advocate the need for general, objective, brain-based measures of the capacity for consciousness that are independent of sensory processing and executive functions, and (4) show how animal studies can reveal population and network phenomena of relevance for understanding mechanisms of consciousness.

Ballroom B (1100 seats) in Washington Convention Center was quite full during the symposium 15 Nov. 2017




EU-midler til bevissthetsforskere i Oslo

Et konsortium ledet fra Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) fikk i september 2015 bevilget midler til bevissthetsforskning (ca. 16 mill. NOK for de første 2 år; ), innenfor the Human Brain Project (HBP).

Prosjektet, som ledes av J.F. Storm, UiO, omfatter forskningsgrupper i Oslo, Belgia, Italia og Sveits:

Oslo: UiO (The Brain Signaling group, led by J.F. Storm) og Oslo Universitetssykehus (OUS, Rikshospitalet: overlege, Pål Gunnar Larsson, Nevrokirurgisk avd. o.a.; og Sunnaas sykehus: Dr. Marianne Løvstad o.a.)

Belgia: The Coma Science Group, led by Dr. Steven Laureys, at the Cyclotron Research Centre of the University of Liège.

Italia:  Integrated Thalamo-Cortical Function (iTCf) research group ( led by Dr. Marcello Massimini, University of Milan.

Sveits: Sean Hill, co-Director of Neuroinformatics in Human Brain Project (HBP), Ecole Poly­tech­nique Fédérale de Lau­sanne (EPF), and Scientific Director of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)

Prosjektets tittel: Experimental and computational exploration of consciousness mechanisms and methods in mice and humans  (Short name: Conscious Brain)


EU commision

2015_Sept_PRESS RELEASE from EU Commission

Funding for TMS-EEG equipment for consciousness research in Oslo

A consortium of neuroscience research groups and clinicians at the University of Oslo (UiO) and Oslo University Hospital (OUS) has recently obtained funding from the infastructure programme at UiO for acquiring TMS-EEG equipment for use in consciousness research.

Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) combined With TMS-compatible high-density electroencephalography (hdEEG) have numerous applications in preclinical and clinical brain research, diagnosis and therapy, related to sensory, motor, and cognitive brain functions and diseases. TMS is widely used in research in humans and animals, and for diagnosis and monitoring of sensory, motor and cognitive dysfunctions, including altered states of consciousness due to brain injury or stoke. TMS can also be used for research and guiding in neurosurgery, monitoring anesthesia or rehabilitation after brain injury, treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders including depression and multiple sclerosis.

Navigated TMS combined with high-density EEG (nTMS-hdEEG) has recently yielded highly promising results in consciousness research and diagnosis of disorders of consciousness, by providing a measurable index of consciousness.


Excellent lecture by Adrian Owen in The Norwegian Academy of Science And Letters, October 7, 2014

The lecture hall of the Norwegian Academy of Science And Letters in Oslo was filled with scientists, philosophers, clinicians (MDs, psychologists) and others when Dr. Adrian Owen presented his outstanding research on consciousness in an excellent lecture: «Using Functional Neuroimaging to Detect Awareness After Serious Brain Injury».

Owen lecturing
Professor Adrian Owen lecturing in Oslo: «Using Functional Neuroimaging to Detect Awareness After Serious Brain Injury»

The lecture was followed by questions and discussion, including a panel discussion with Adrian Owen, Olav Gjelsvik (philosophy, University of Oslo), Johan Storm (neurophysiology, University of Oslo), and Marianne Løvstad (clinical neurophysiology, Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital/Oslo University Hospital, Oslo).


Owen - panel discussion
Panel discussion with (from left) Adrian Owen, Olav Gjelsvik (philosophy, University of Oslo), Johan Storm (neurophysiology, University of Oslo), and Marianne Løvstad (clinical neurophysiology, Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital /OUS, Oslo).
Panel discussion


Professor Nils Christian Stenseth (Biology, University of Oslo, leader of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters), opened the Meeting.

As before, this open meeting was hosted jointly by the Forum for Consciousness Research and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Arian Owen in conversation with Johan F. Storm.
Adrian Owen in conversation with Marianne Løvstad.


Large turnout and brilliant lecture by Giulio Tononi April 4, 2014.

The largest lecture hall in Litteraturhuset was over-filled with people when Giulio Tononi gave a brilliant lecture about his research on consciousness and his Integrated Information Theory at Litteraturhuset in Oslo. It was an open meeting hosted by the Forum for Consciousness Research and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Professor Nils Christian Stenseth, leader of the  Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, opens the Meeting.
Professor Nils Christian Stenseth, leader of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, opens the Meeting.

Yes_DSC_0063[1]_Tonon-Følles-Fenstad i salen smiler
Giulio Tononi (left) with professors Dagfinn Føllesdal (philosophy, UiO and Stanford:; middle) and Jens Erik Fenstad (mathematics, UiO; right) before Tononi’s lecture.
Panel discussion with Dagfinn Føllesdal and Sebastian Watzl (both philosophy; left), Giulio Tononi, and Jens Erik Fenstad (mathematics; right).Yes_DSC_0077[1]_Tononi på talerstolen-fjern
Yes_DSC_0111[1]_Panel og JFS ser ned
Johan F. Storm chaired the meeting and panel discussion with Giulio Tononi, Dagfinn Føllesdal (philosophy; left), Jens Erik Fenstad (mathematics; right), Bruno Laing (psychology; half hidden).
20130407_R4-A3_PLAKAT_TONONI-MØTET Litthuset 4-Apri_RETTET Chair etc_JFS

2014_Tononi talk Litt hus-PLAKAT_PrntScr_JFStorm  2014_Tononi talk Litt hus-on DNVA-sider_PrntScreen2014_Tononi IIT 3.0 Fig9 PrntScreen





Lecture on sleep by G. Tononi and C Cirelli, 4 April 2014

Guest Lecture by:

Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli, University of Wisconsin:

Sleep and the price of plasticity

Time:   Friday, 4 April, 14.30-15.30 Place:    Auditorium 13, Domus Medica, Gaustad,

Inst. of Basal Medical Sciences (IMB), University of Oslo


Giulio Tononi is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist (MD, PhD). He is currently Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine and is a Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science. He has previously held faculty positions in Pisa, New York, San Diego.

Dr. Tononi and collaborators have pioneered several complementary approaches to study sleep.

Chiara Cirelli (MD, PhD, Pisa, Italy) is currently Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she moved in 2001. In 1994-2000 she was Fellow of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California.

The research in Dr. Cirelli’s laboratory aims at understanding the function of sleep and clarifying the functional consequences of sleep loss. Her team uses a combination of different approaches, from genetics in fruit flies to whole-genome expression profiling in invertebrates and mammals, to behavioral and EEG analysis in mice and rats.

The research of Tononi and Cirelli include genomics, proteomics, fruit fly models, rodent models employing multiunit / local field potential recordings in behaving animals, in vivo voltammetry and microscopy, high-density EEG recordings and transcranial magnetic stimulation in humans, and large-scale computer models of sleep and wakefulness. This research has led to a comprehensive hypothesis on the function of sleep, the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, wakefulness leads to a net increase in synaptic strength, and sleep is necessary to reestablish synaptic homeostasis. The hypothesis has implications for understanding the effects of sleep deprivation and for developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to sleep disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Another focus of Dr. Tononi’s work is the integrated information theory of consciousness: a scientific theory of what consciousness is, how it can be measured, how it is realized in the brain and, of course, why it fades when we fall into dreamless sleep and returns when we dream. The theory is being tested with neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and computer models. In 2005, Dr. Tononi received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for his work on sleep mechanism and function, and in 2008 he was made the David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine and is a Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science.           (Sources:; Wikipeia, PubMed etc.)

Some selected papers on sleep by Tononi and Cirelli

  • Tononi G, and Cirelli C. Sleep and the price of plasticity: from synaptic and cellular homeostasis to memory consolidation and integration. Neuron, 81(1):12-34, 2014.
  • Bushey D, Tononi G, Cirelli C. Sleep and synaptic homeostasis: structural evidence in Drosophila. Science, 332(6037):1576-1581, 2011
  • Maret S, Faraguna U, Nelson AB, Cirelli C, Tononi G. Sleep and wake modulate spine turnover in the adolescent mouse cortex. Nat Neurosci., 14(11):1418-20, 2011.
  • Gilestro GF, Tononi G, Cirelli C. Widespread changes in synaptic markers as a function of sleep and wakefulness in Drosophila. Science, 324:109-12, 2009.
  • Vyazovskiy VV, Cirelli C, Pfister-Genskow M, Faraguna U, Tononi G. Molecular and electrophysiological evidence for net synaptic potentiation in wake and depression in sleep. Nature Neuroscience, 11:200-8, 2008
  • Cirelli C, Gutierrez CM, Tononi G. Extensive and divergent effects of sleep and wakefulness on brain gene expression. Neuron 41: 35-43, 2004


Johan F. Storm,

On behalf of Forum for Consciousness Rearearch