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Cereb Cortex. 2014 Jul;24(7):1806-17. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht030. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Spatiotemporal dependency of age-related changes in brain signal variability.

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Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest, Canada.
Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Canada.


Recent theoretical and empirical work has focused on the variability of network dynamics in maturation. Such variability seems to reflect the spontaneous formation and dissolution of different functional networks. We sought to extend these observations into healthy aging. Two different data sets, one EEG (total n = 48, ages 18-72) and one magnetoencephalography (n = 31, ages 20-75) were analyzed for such spatiotemporal dependency using multiscale entropy (MSE) from regional brain sources. In both data sets, the changes in MSE were timescale dependent, with higher entropy at fine scales and lower at more coarse scales with greater age. The signals were parsed further into local entropy, related to information processed within a regional source, and distributed entropy (information shared between two sources, i.e., functional connectivity). Local entropy increased for most regions, whereas the dominant change in distributed entropy was age-related reductions across hemispheres. These data further the understanding of changes in brain signal variability across the lifespan, suggesting an inverted U-shaped curve, but with an important qualifier. Unlike earlier in maturation, where the changes are more widespread, changes in adulthood show strong spatiotemporal dependence.


electroencephalograpy; functional connectivity; magnetoencephalography; multiscale entropy; nonlinear dynamics

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