In my research I study cognitive processing during sleep as well as how circadian rhythms brought about by the internal biological clock interact with higher cognitive functions including consciousness. For a short summary of these topics see below.
All publications are open access. If you nevertheless cannot find it or are just too lazy to search for it, just drop me a line and I will be happy to send you the PDF.
Blume, C., Angerer, M., Raml, M., del Giudice, R., Santhi, N., Pichler, G., Scarpatetti, M., Kunz, A. B., Trinka, E., & Schabus, M. (accepted). Healthier Rhythm, Healthier Brain? Integrity of Circadian Melatonin and Temperature Rhythms Relates to the Clinical State of Brain-Injured Patients. European Journal of Neurology.
Blume, C., del Giudice, R., Wislowska, M., Heib, D. P. J., & Schabus, M. (2018). Standing Sentinel during Sleep: Continued Evaluation of Environmental Stimuli in the Absence of Consciousness. NeuroImage.
Blume, C., Lechinger, J., Santhi, N., Giudice, R. d., Gnjezda, M.-T., Pichler, G., Scarpatetti, M., Donis, J., Michitsch, G., & Schabus, M. (2017). Significance of circadian rhythms in severely brain-injured patients: A clue to consciousness? Neurology.
Blume, C., del Giudice, R., Lechinger, J., Wislowska, M., Heib, D. P. J., Hoedlmoser, K., & Schabus, M. (2016). Preferential processing of emotionally and self-relevant stimuli persists in unconscious N2 sleep. Brain and Language.
Cognitive Processing During Sleep
Are we really as passive during sleep as it feels for us? Do our brains „switch off“? Does our brain still differentiate potentially important from less important stimuli? If yes, how does it keep the sensitive balance between sleep protection and the processing of environmental stimuli? These are intriguing questions we try to shed light on with our research.
From our findings it seems that the brain is a lot less „passive“ during sleep than previously thought and that environmental stimuli are processed, at least to some extent, in virtually all sleep stages including deep sleep.
Circadian rhythms, that is rhythms with a period length of about 24 hours, govern manifold bodily and psychological processes ranging from the level of genetic expression up to higher cognitive functions. Nevertheless it often seems that we just take it for granted that these rhythms are there and thus ignore the fact that things might go wrong. Or sometimes it just seems too complicated to include them for example in the clinical routine, wherefore we (unconsciously) ignore our circadian rhythmicity. My research is therefore dedicated to learn more about the importance of a properly functioning biological clock in higher cognitive functions and especially consciousness.
Our findings in patients, who suffer from disorders of consciousness (DOC) following severe brain injury indicate that the state of the patient improves with „more normal“ circadian rhythmicity. Specifically, we were able to show that arousal, a necessary precondition for consciousness, is higher in these patients.
Besides this, I am interested in how artificial light exposure affects sleep in healthy participants. To this end, I study how light exposure affects cognitive processing during sleep. With my research I hope to contribute to a better understanding of how the light environment in the evening affects nocturnal sleep.
Full Publication List
Blume, C., Angerer, M., Raml, M., del Giudice, R., Santhi, N., Pichler, G., Scarpatetti, M., Kunz, A. B., Trinka, E., & Schabus, M. (accepted). Healthier Rhythm, Healthier Brain? Integrity of Circadian Melatonin and Temperature Rhythms Relates to the Clinical State of Brain-Injured Patients. European Journal of Neurology. doi:10.1111/ene.13935
Wislowska M., Blume, C., Angerer M., Wielek T., & Schabus M. (2018). Approaches to Sleep in Severely Brain Damaged Patients – Further comments and replies to Kotchoubey & Pavlov. Clinical Neurophysiology. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2018.08.029
Blume C., del Giudice R., Wislowska M., Heib D. P. J., & Schabus M. (2018). Standing Sentinel during Sleep: Continued Evaluation of Environmental Stimuli in the Absence of Consciousness. NeuroImage.
Schabus M., Wislowska M., Angerer M., Blume C. (2018). Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Severely Brain-Injured Patients – A Comment. Clinical Neurophysiology.
Wielek T., Lechinger J., Wislowska M., Blume C., Ott P., Wegenkittl S., del Giudice R., Heib D. P. J., Mayer H. A., Laureys S., Pichler G., & Schabus M. (2018). Sleep in patients with disorders of consciousness characterized by means of machine learning. PLOS ONE, 13(1), e0190458. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0190458
Blume C., Lechinger J., Santhi N., del Giudice R., Gnjezda M.-T., Pichler G., Scarpatetti M., Donis J., Michitsch G., & Schabus M. (2017). Significance of circadian rhythms in severely brain-injured patients: A clue to consciousness? Neurology. doi:10.1212/wnl.0000000000003942
del Giudice R., Blume C., Wislowska M., Lechinger J., Heib D. P. J., Pichler G., Chinchilla M., Machado C., & Schabus M. (2016). Can self-relevant stimuli help assessing patients with disorders of consciousness? Consciousness and Cognition, 44, 51-60.
del Giudice R., Blume C., Wislowska M., Wielek T., Heib D.P.J., & Schabus M. (2016). The Voice of Anger: Oscillatory EEG Responses to Emotional Prosody. PLoS One, 11(7), e0159429.
Herbert C., Blume C., & Northoff G. (2016). Can we distinguish an “I” and “ME” during listening?—an event-related EEG study on the processing of first and second person personal and possessive pronouns. Self and Identity, 15(2), 120-138.
Blume C., Santhi N., & Schabus M. (2016). ‘nparACT’ package for R – A free software tool for the non-parametric analysis of actigraphy data. MethodsX. doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2016.05.006
Lechinger J., Wielek T., Blume C., Pichler G., Michitsch G., Donis J., Gruber W., & Schabus, M. (2016). Event-related EEG power modulations and phase connectivity indicate the focus of attention in an auditory own name paradigm. Journal of Neurology, 1-14. doi:10.1007/s00415-016-8150-z
Blume C., del Giudice, R, Lechinger J., Wislowska M., Heib D. P. J., Hoedlmoser K., & Schabus, M. (2016). Preferential processing of emotionally and self-relevant stimuli persists in unconscious N2 sleep. Brain and Language. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.02.004
Blume C., Lechinger J., del Giudice R., Wislowska M., Heib D. P. J., & Schabus M. (2015). EEG oscillations reflect the complexity of social interactions in a non-verbal social cognition task using animated triangles. Neuropsychologia, 57, 330-340. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.009
Blume C.*, del Giudice R.*, Wislowska M.*, Lechinger J., & Schabus M. (2015). Across the consciousness continuum–from unresponsive wakefulness to sleep. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 105. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00105
Blume C., & Herbert C. (2014). The HisMine-Paradigm: A new paradigm to investigate self-awareness employing pronouns. Social Neuroscience, 9(3), 289-299. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2014.886616
The package „nparACT“ for R computes interdaily stability (IS), intradaily variability (IV) & the relative amplitude (RA) from actigraphy data as described in Blume et al. (2016) and van Someren et al. (1999). Additionally, it also computes L5 (i.e. the 5 hours with lowest average actigraphy amplitude) and M10 (the 10 hours with highest average amplitude) as well as the respective start times. The flex versions will also compute the L-value for a user-defined number of minutes. IS describes the strength of coupling of a rhythm to supposedly stable zeitgebers. It varies between 0 (Gaussian Noise) and 1 for perfect IS. IV describes the fragmentation of a rhythm, i.e. the frequency and extent of transitions between rest and activity. It is near 0 for a perfect sine wave, about 2 for Gaussian noise and may be even higher when a definite ultradian period of about 2 hrs is present. RA is the relative amplitude of a rhythm. Note that to obtain reliable results, actigraphy data should cover a reasonable number of days.