Widespread theta synchrony and high-frequency desynchronization underlies enhanced cognition

E. A. Solomon, J. E. Kragel, M. R. Sperling, A. Sharan, G. Worrell, M. Kucewicz, C. S. Inman, B. Lega, K. A. Davis, J. M. Stein, B. C. Jobst, K. A. Zaghloul, S. A. Sheth, D. S. Rizzuto, M. J. Kahana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The idea that synchronous neural activity underlies cognition has driven an extensive body of research in human and animal neuroscience. Yet, insufficient data on intracranial electrical connectivity has precluded a direct test of this hypothesis in a whole-brain setting. Through the lens of memory encoding and retrieval processes, we construct whole-brain connectivity maps of fast gamma (30-100 Hz) and slow theta (3-8 Hz) spectral neural activity, based on data from 294 neurosurgical patients fitted with indwelling electrodes. Here we report that gamma networks desynchronize and theta networks synchronize during encoding and retrieval. Furthermore, for nearly all brain regions we studied, gamma power rises as that region desynchronizes with gamma activity elsewhere in the brain, establishing gamma as a largely asynchronous phenomenon. The abundant phenomenon of theta synchrony is positively correlated with a brain region's gamma power, suggesting a predominant low-frequency mechanism for inter-regional communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1704
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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