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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 4;108(40):16783-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112685108. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Investigating the electrophysiological basis of resting state networks using magnetoencephalography.

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  • 1Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG72RD, United Kingdom. matthew.brookes@nottingham.ac.uk


In recent years the study of resting state brain networks (RSNs) has become an important area of neuroimaging. The majority of studies have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure temporal correlation between blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signals from different brain areas. However, BOLD is an indirect measure related to hemodynamics, and the electrophysiological basis of connectivity between spatially separate network nodes cannot be comprehensively assessed using this technique. In this paper we describe a means to characterize resting state brain networks independently using magnetoencephalography (MEG), a neuroimaging modality that bypasses the hemodynamic response and measures the magnetic fields associated with electrophysiological brain activity. The MEG data are analyzed using a unique combination of beamformer spatial filtering and independent component analysis (ICA) and require no prior assumptions about the spatial locations or patterns of the networks. This method results in RSNs with significant similarity in their spatial structure compared with RSNs derived independently using fMRI. This outcome confirms the neural basis of hemodynamic networks and demonstrates the potential of MEG as a tool for understanding the mechanisms that underlie RSNs and the nature of connectivity that binds network nodes.

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