Shifts in broadband power and alpha peak frequency observed during long-term isolation

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Prolonged periods of social isolation and spatial confinement do not only represent an issue that needs to be faced by a few astronauts during space missions, but can affect all of us as recently shown during pandemic situations. The fundamental question, how the brain adapts to periods of sensory deprivation and re-adapts to normality, has only received little attention. Here, we use eyes closed and eyes open resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings to investigate how neural activity is altered during 120 days of isolation in a spatially confined, space-analogue environment. After disentangling oscillatory patterns from 1/f activity, we show that isolation leads to a reduction in broadband power and a flattening of the 1/f spectral slope. Beyond that, we observed a reduction in alpha peak frequency during isolation, but did not find strong evidence for isolation-induced changes that are of oscillatory nature. Critically, all effects reversed upon release from isolation. These findings suggest that isolation and concomitant sensory deprivation lead to an enhanced cortical deactivation which might be explained by a reduction in the mean neuronal population firing rate.

Translated title of the contributionVerschiebungen der Breitbandpower und der Spitzenfrequenz während Langzeitisolation
Original languageEnglish
Article number17987
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2020

ID: 5515980

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