Low frequency oscillations reflect neurovascular coupling and disappear after cerebral death


Spectrum power analysis in the low frequency oscillations (LFO) region of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising method to deliver information about brain activation and therefore might be used for prognostication in patients with disorders of consciousness in the neurocritical care unit alongside with established methods. In this study, we measure the cortical hemodynamic response measured by fNIRS in the LFO region following auditory and somatosensory stimulation in healthy subjects. The significant hemodynamic reaction in the contralateral hemisphere correlation with the physiologic electric response suggests neurovascular coupling. In addition, we investigate power spectrum changes in steady state measurements of cerebral death patients and healthy subjects in the LFO region, the frequency of the heartbeat and respiration. The spectral power within the LFO region was lower in the patients with cerebral death compared to the healthy subjects, whereas there were no differences in spectral power for physiological activities such as heartbeat and respiration rate. This finding indicates the cerebral origin of our low frequency measurements. Therefore, LFO measurements are a potential method to detect brain activation in patients with disorders of consciousness and cerebral death. However, further studies in patients are needed to investigate its potential clinical use.

Scientific Reports