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Attention, Not Performance, Correlates With Afterdischarge Termination During Cortical Stimulation.


Cortical stimulation has been used for brain mapping for over a century, and a standard assumption is that stimulation interferes with task execution due to local effects at the stimulation site. Stimulation can however produce afterdischarges which interfere with functional localization and can lead to unwanted seizures. We previously showed that (a) cognitive effort can terminate these afterdischarges, (b) when termination thus occurs, there are electrocorticography changes throughout the cortex, not just at sites with afterdischarges or sites thought functionally important for the cognitive task used, and (c) thresholds for afterdischarges and functional responses can change among stimulation trials. We here show that afterdischarge termination can occur prior to overt performance of the cognitive tasks used to terminate them. These findings, taken together, demonstrate that task-related brain changes are not limited to one or a group of functional regions or a specific network, and not limited to the time directly surrounding overt task execution. Discrete locations, networks and times importantly underpin clinical behaviors. However, brain activity that is diffuse in location and extended in time also affect task execution and can affect brain mapping. This may in part reflect fluctuating levels of attention, engagement, or motivation during testing.

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