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Brain Connect. 2011;1(5):377-88. doi: 10.1089/brain.2011.0044. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Distinction in coherent neural network between resting and working brain states.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The resting brain is not silent; rather, it is characterized by organized resting-state networks showing spontaneous and coherent neuronal activities, which can be mapped using the spatiotemporal correlation of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal fluctuations measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). However, it remains elusive whether the similar fMRI approach is able to image the coherent network in a working brain, and if yes, whether there is a distinction between the resting- and working-state coherent networks. This study aimed to address these questions in the human visual cortex with a desired activation paradigm using continuous, sustained visual stimuli. It was found that the resting-state coherent network covering the human visual cortex was spatially reorganized during the stimulation into two coherent networks with distinct temporal characteristics of BOLD fluctuations: one covering the activated visual cortical region and the other covering the remaining (nonactivated) visual cortex. The stimulus-specific reorganization of the coherent network observed in the present fMRI study in human is consistent with previous electrophysiological findings from animal studies, and may suggest an essential mechanism for brain functioning. Finally, a similar fMRI experiment was also conducted under brief, short stimulation to examine how the stimulation paradigm can affect the observations.

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