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Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jun;15(6):884-90. doi: 10.1038/nn.3101.

Large-scale cortical correlation structure of spontaneous oscillatory activity.

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Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


Little is known about the brain-wide correlation of electrophysiological signals. We found that spontaneous oscillatory neuronal activity exhibited frequency-specific spatial correlation structure in the human brain. We developed an analysis approach that discounts spurious correlation of signal power caused by the limited spatial resolution of electrophysiological measures. We applied this approach to source estimates of spontaneous neuronal activity reconstructed from magnetoencephalography. Overall, correlation of power across cortical regions was strongest in the alpha to beta frequency range (8–32 Hz) and correlation patterns depended on the underlying oscillation frequency. Global hubs resided in the medial temporal lobe in the theta frequency range (4–6 Hz), in lateral parietal areas in the alpha to beta frequency range (8–23 Hz) and in sensorimotor areas for higher frequencies (32–45 Hz). Our data suggest that interactions in various large-scale cortical networks may be reflected in frequency-specific power envelope correlations.

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