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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;2009:2919-22. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2009.5334486.

fMRI correlates of behavioural microsleeps during a continuous visuomotor task.

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Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Behavioural microsleeps (BMs) are brief episodes of absent responsiveness accompanied by slow-eye-closure. They frequently occur as a consequence of sleep-deprivation, an extended monotonous task, and are modulated by the circadian rhythm and sleep homeostatic pressure. In this paper, a multimodal method to investigate the neural correlates of BMs using simultaneous recording of fMRI, eye-video, VEOG, and continuous visuomotor response is presented. The data were collected from 20 healthy volunteers while they performed a continuous visuomotor tracking task inside an MRI scanner for 50 min. The BMs were identified post-hoc by expert visual rating of eye-video and visuomotor response using a set of pre-defined criteria. fMRI analysis of BMs revealed changes in haemodynamic activity in several cortical and sub-cortical regions associated with visuomotor control and arousal.

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