Theta oscillations in human cortex during a working-memory task: evidence for local generators.
Cortical theta appears important in sensory processing and memory. Intracanial electrode recordings provide a high spatial resolution method for studying such oscillations during cognitive tasks. Recent work revealed sites at which oscillations in the theta range (4-12 Hz) could be gated by a working-memory task: theta power was increased at task onset and continued until task offset. Using a large data set that has now been collected (10 participants/619 recording sites), we have sufficient sampling to determine how these gated sites are distributed in the cortex and how they are synchronized. A substantial fraction of sites in occipital/parietal (45/157) and temporal (23/280) cortices were gated by the task. Surprisingly, this aspect of working-memory function was virtually absent in frontal cortex (2/182). Coherence measures were used to analyze the synchronization of oscillations. We suspected that because of their coordinate regulation by the working-memory task, gated sites would have synchronized theta oscillations. We found that, whereas nearby gated sites (<20 mm) were often but not always coherent, distant gated sites were almost never coherent. Our results imply that there are local mechanisms for the generation of cortical theta.
Raghavachari, S; Lisman, JE; Tully, M; Madsen, JR; Bromfield, EB; Kahana, MJ
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