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Neuroimage. 2013 Oct 1;79:62-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.038. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

Task-related concurrent but opposite modulations of overlapping functional networks as revealed by spatial ICA.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Animal studies indicate that different functional networks (FNs), each with a unique timecourse, may overlap at common brain regions. For understanding how different FNs overlap in the human brain and how the timecourses of overlapping FNs are modulated by cognitive tasks, we applied spatial independent component analysis (sICA) to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. These data were acquired from healthy participants while they performed a visual task with parametric loads of attention and working memory. sICA identified a total of 14 FNs, and they showed different extents of overlap at a majority of brain regions exhibiting any functional activity. More FNs overlapped at the higher-order association cortex including the anterior and posterior cingulate, precuneus, insula, and lateral and medial frontoparietal cortices (FPCs) than at the primary sensorimotor cortex. Furthermore, overlapping FNs exhibited concurrent but different task-related modulations of timecourses. FNs showing task-related up- vs. down-modulation of timecourses overlapped at both the lateral and medial FPCs and subcortical structures including the thalamus, striatum, and midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA). Such task-related, concurrent, but opposite changes in timecourses in the same brain regions may not be detected by current analyses based on General-Linear-Model (GLM). The present findings indicate that multiple cognitive processes may associate with common brain regions and exhibit simultaneous but different modulations in timecourses during cognitive tasks.

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