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Cereb Cortex. 2010 Aug;20(8):1997-2006. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhp270. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

Correlated low-frequency BOLD fluctuations in the resting human brain are modulated by recent experience in category-preferential visual regions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The resting brain is associated with significant intrinsic activity fluctuations, such as the correlated low-frequency (LF) blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) fluctuations measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Despite a recent expansion of studies investigating resting-state LF-BOLD correlations, their nature and function are poorly understood. A major constraint on LF-BOLD correlations appears to be stable properties of anatomic connectivity. There is also evidence that coupling can be modulated by recent or ongoing task performance, suggesting that certain components of correlated dynamics are malleable on short timescales. Here, we compared activity during extended periods of rest following performance of 2 distinct cognitive tasks using different categories of visual stimuli-faces and complex scenes. Prolonged exposure to these distinct categories of visual information caused frontal networks to couple differentially with posterior category-preferential visual regions during subsequent periods of rest. In addition, we report preliminary evidence suggesting that conditions exist in which the degree of modulation of LF-BOLD correlations predicts subsequent memory. The finding that resting-state LF-BOLD correlations are modulated by recent experience in functionally specific brain regions engaged during prior task performance clarifies their role as a dynamic phenomenon which may be involved in mnemonic processes.

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