Differential classification of states of consciousness using envelope- and phase-based functional connectivity

Catherine Duclos, Charlotte Maschke, Yacine Mahdid, Kathleen Berkun, Jason da Silva Castanheira, Vijay Tarnal, Paul Picton, Giancarlo Vanini, Goodarz Golmirzaie, Ellen Janke, Michael S. Avidan, Max B. Kelz, Lucrezia Liuzzi, Matthew J. Brookes, George A. Mashour, Stefanie Blain-Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The development of sophisticated computational tools to quantify changes in the brain's oscillatory dynamics across states of consciousness have included both envelope- and phase-based measures of functional connectivity (FC), but there are very few direct comparisons of these techniques using the same dataset. The goal of this study was to compare an envelope-based (i.e. Amplitude Envelope Correlation, AEC) and a phase-based (i.e. weighted Phase Lag Index, wPLI) measure of FC in their classification of states of consciousness. Nine healthy participants underwent a three-hour experimental anesthetic protocol with propofol induction and isoflurane maintenance, in which five minutes of 128-channel electroencephalography were recorded before, during, and after anesthetic-induced unconsciousness, at the following time points: Baseline; light sedation with propofol (Light Sedation); deep unconsciousness following three hours of surgical levels of anesthesia with isoflurane (Unconscious); five minutes prior to the recovery of consciousness (Pre-ROC); and three hours following the recovery of consciousness (Recovery). Support vector machine classification was applied to the source-localized EEG in the alpha (8–13 Hz) frequency band in order to investigate the ability of AEC and wPLI (separately and together) to discriminate i) the four states from Baseline; ii) Unconscious (“deep” unconsciousness) vs. Pre-ROC (“light” unconsciousness); and iii) responsiveness (Baseline, Light Sedation, Recovery) vs. unresponsiveness (Unconscious, Pre-ROC). AEC and wPLI yielded different patterns of global connectivity across states of consciousness, with AEC showing the strongest network connectivity during the Unconscious epoch, and wPLI showing the strongest connectivity during full consciousness (i.e., Baseline and Recovery). Both measures also demonstrated differential predictive contributions across participants and used different brain regions for classification. AEC showed higher classification accuracy overall, particularly for distinguishing anesthetic-induced unconsciousness from Baseline (83.7 ± 0.8%). AEC also showed stronger classification accuracy than wPLI when distinguishing Unconscious from Pre-ROC (i.e., “deep” from “light” unconsciousness) (AEC: 66.3 ± 1.2%; wPLI: 56.2 ± 1.3%), and when distinguishing between responsiveness and unresponsiveness (AEC: 76.0 ± 1.3%; wPLI: 63.6 ± 1.8%). Classification accuracy was not improved compared to AEC when both AEC and wPLI were combined. This analysis of source-localized EEG data demonstrates that envelope- and phase-based FC provide different information about states of consciousness but that, on a group level, AEC is better able to detect relative alterations in brain FC across levels of anesthetic-induced unconsciousness compared to wPLI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118171
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021


  • Anesthesia
  • Connectivity
  • Consciousness
  • Electroencephalography
  • Machine learning
  • Network


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