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Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 Sep;26(7):1055-64. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Spontaneous low-frequency blood oxygenation level-dependent fluctuations and functional connectivity analysis of the 'resting' brain.

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Academic Radiology, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques using the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast are widely used to map human brain function by relating local hemodynamic responses to neuronal stimuli compared to control conditions. There is increasing interest in spontaneous cerebral BOLD fluctuations that are prominent in the low-frequency range (<0.1 Hz) and show intriguing spatio-temporal correlations in functional networks. The nature of these signal fluctuations remains unclear, but there is accumulating evidence for a neural basis opening exciting new avenues to study human brain function and its connectivity at rest. Moreover, an increasing number of patient studies report disease-dependent variation in the amplitude and spatial coherence of low-frequency BOLD fluctuations (LFBF) that may afford greater diagnostic sensitivity and easier clinical applicability than standard fMRI. The main disadvantage of this emerging tool relates to physiological (respiratory, cardiac and vasomotion) and motion confounds that are challenging to disentangle requiring thorough preprocessing. Technical aspects of functional connectivity fMRI analysis and the neuroscientific potential of spontaneous LFBF in the default mode and other resting-state networks have been recently reviewed. This review will give an update on the current knowledge of the nature of LFBF, their relation to physiological confounds and potential for clinical diagnostic and pharmacological studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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