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J Neurosci. 2013 May 29;33(22):9488-97. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5911-12.2013.

The day-after effect: long term, Hebbian-like restructuring of resting-state fMRI patterns induced by a single epoch of cortical activation.

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Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


During rest, the cerebral cortex displays rich, coordinated patterns of spontaneous activity. The mechanism that shapes these patterns is largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that a Hebbian-like, sustained process plays a role in focusing these coherent patterns. Human subjects used an fMRI-based neurofeedback (NF) paradigm to intensely activate the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex for a single epoch (30 min). Resting-state correlations between all of the cortical voxels' BOLD time courses (functional connectivity) were mapped before, immediately after, and one day after the NF session. We found that the single epoch of cortical activation induced a lasting restructuring of the functional connections according to a Hebbian-like rule. Therefore, the change (increase and decrease) in functional connectivity strength of cortical voxels during rest reflected the level of their prior coactivation during the NF epoch. Interestingly, the effect was significantly enhanced 1 d after the NF activation epoch. The effect was evident in each subject individually, indicating its potential as a diagnostic window into the personal history of prior brain activations of both healthy and abnormal individuals.

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