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Searching for a baseline: functional imaging and the resting human brain.

Nature reviews. Neuroscience

Tomography, Emission-Computed, Oxygen Consumption, Models, Neurological, physiology, Mental Processes, methods, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Humans, Cerebrovascular Circulation, Brain Mapping, radionuclide imaging, anatomy & histology, Brain

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      Functional brain imaging in humans has revealed task-specific increases in brain activity that are associated with various mental activities. In the same studies, mysterious, task-independent decreases have also frequently been encountered, especially when the tasks of interest have been compared with a passive state, such as simple fixation or eyes closed. These decreases have raised the possibility that there might be a baseline or resting state of brain function involving a specific set of mental operations. We explore this possibility, including the manner in which we might define a baseline and the implications of such a baseline for our understanding of brain function.

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