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Peripheral Attentional Targets under Covert Attention Lead to Paradoxically Enhanced Alpha Desynchronization in Neurofibromatosis Type 1

Jaencke, Lutz, Silva, Gilberto, Ribeiro, Maria J., Costa, Gabriel N., Violante, Inês, Ramos, Fabiana, Saraiva, Jorge and Castelo-Branco, Miguel (2016) Peripheral Attentional Targets under Covert Attention Lead to Paradoxically Enhanced Alpha Desynchronization in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 PLOS ONE, 11 (2). e0148600-1.

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Abstract

The limited capacity of the human brain to process the full extent of visual information reaching the visual cortex requires the recruitment of mechanisms of information selection through attention. Neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1) is a neurodevelopmental disease often exhibiting attentional deficits and learning disabilities, and is considered to model similar impairments common in other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. In a previous study, we found that patients with NF1 are more prone to miss targets under overt attention conditions. This finding was interpreted as a result of increased occipito-parietal alpha oscillations. In the present study, we used electroencephalography (EEG) to study alpha power modulations and the performance of patients with NF1 in a covert attention task. Covert attention was required in order to perceive changes (target offset) of a peripherally presented stimulus. Interestingly, alpha oscillations were found to undergo greater desynchronization under this task in the NF1 group compared with control subjects. A similar pattern of desynchronization was found for beta frequencies while no changes in gamma oscillations could be identified. These results are consistent with the notion that different attentional states and task demands generate different patterns of abnormal modulation of alpha oscillatory processes in NF1. Under covert attention conditions and while target offset was reported with relatively high accuracy (over 90% correct responses), excessive desynchronization was found. These findings suggest an abnormal modulation of oscillatory activity and attentional processes in NF1. Given the known role of alpha in modulating attention, we suggest that alpha patterns can show both abnormal increases and decreases that are task and performance dependent, in a way that enhanced alpha desynchronization may reflect a compensatory mechanism to keep performance at normal levels. These results suggest that dysregulation of alpha oscillations may occur in NF1 both in terms of excessive or diminished activation patterns.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Jaencke, Lutz
Silva, Gilberto
Ribeiro, Maria J.
Costa, Gabriel N.
Violante, Inêsines.violante@surrey.ac.uk
Ramos, Fabiana
Saraiva, Jorge
Castelo-Branco, Miguel
Date : 16 February 2016
Identification Number : 10.1371/journal.pone.0148600
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright: © 2016 Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 12 Apr 2018 07:19
Last Modified : 12 Apr 2018 07:19
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/846188

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