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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2001 Oct;2(10):685-94.

Searching for a baseline: functional imaging and the resting human brain.

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The Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Functional brain imaging in humans has revealed task-specific increases in brain activity that are associated with various mental activities. In the same studies, mysterious, task-independent decreases have also frequently been encountered, especially when the tasks of interest have been compared with a passive state, such as simple fixation or eyes closed. These decreases have raised the possibility that there might be a baseline or resting state of brain function involving a specific set of mental operations. We explore this possibility, including the manner in which we might define a baseline and the implications of such a baseline for our understanding of brain function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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