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Hum Brain Mapp. 2008 Oct;29(10):1170-92.

Dynamics of event-related causality in brain electrical activity.

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Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


A new method (Event-Related Causality, ERC) is proposed for the investigation of functional interactions between brain regions during cognitive processing. ERC estimates the direction, intensity, spectral content, and temporal course of brain activity propagation within a cortical network. ERC is based upon the short-time directed transfer function (SDTF), which is measured in short EEG epochs during multiple trials of a cognitive task, as well as the direct directed transfer function (dDTF), which distinguishes direct interactions between brain regions from indirect interactions via brain regions. ERC uses new statistical methods for comparing estimates of causal interactions during prestimulus "baseline" epochs and during poststimulus "activated" epochs in order to estimate event-related increases and decreases in the functional interactions between cortical network components during cognitive tasks. The utility of the ERC approach is demonstrated through its application to human electrocorticographic recordings (ECoG) of a simple language task. ERC analyses of these ECoG recordings reveal frequency-dependent interactions, particularly in high gamma (>60 Hz) frequencies, between brain regions known to participate in the recorded language task, and the temporal evolution of these interactions is consistent with the putative processing stages of this task. The method may be a useful tool for investigating the dynamics of causal interactions between various brain regions during cognitive task performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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