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      Time-varying functional network information extracted from brief instances of spontaneous brain activity

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that the brain is remarkably active even in the absence of overt behavior, and this activity occurs in spatial patterns that are reproducible across subjects and follow the brain's established functional subdivision. Investigating the distribution of these spatial patterns is an active area of research with the goal of obtaining a better understanding of the neural networks underlying brain function. One intriguing aspect of spontaneous activity is an apparent nonstationarity, or variability of interaction between brain regions. It was recently proposed that spontaneous brain activity may be dominated by brief traces of activity, possibly originating from a neuronal avalanching phenomenon. Such traces may involve different subregions in a network at different times, potentially reflecting functionally relevant relationships that are not captured with conventional data analysis. To investigate this, we examined publicly available functional magnetic resonance imaging data with a dedicated analysis method and found indications that functional networks inferred from conventional correlation analysis may indeed be driven by activity at only a few critical time points. Subsequent analysis of the activity at these critical time points revealed multiple spatial patterns, each distinctly different from the established functional networks. The spatial distribution of these patterns suggests a potential functional relevance.

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          Most cited references 47

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          The human brain is intrinsically organized into dynamic, anticorrelated functional networks.

          During performance of attention-demanding cognitive tasks, certain regions of the brain routinely increase activity, whereas others routinely decrease activity. In this study, we investigate the extent to which this task-related dichotomy is represented intrinsically in the resting human brain through examination of spontaneous fluctuations in the functional MRI blood oxygen level-dependent signal. We identify two diametrically opposed, widely distributed brain networks on the basis of both spontaneous correlations within each network and anticorrelations between networks. One network consists of regions routinely exhibiting task-related activations and the other of regions routinely exhibiting task-related deactivations. This intrinsic organization, featuring the presence of anticorrelated networks in the absence of overt task performance, provides a critical context in which to understand brain function. We suggest that both task-driven neuronal responses and behavior are reflections of this dynamic, ongoing, functional organization of the brain.
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            Dissociable intrinsic connectivity networks for salience processing and executive control.

            Variations in neural circuitry, inherited or acquired, may underlie important individual differences in thought, feeling, and action patterns. Here, we used task-free connectivity analyses to isolate and characterize two distinct networks typically coactivated during functional MRI tasks. We identified a "salience network," anchored by dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) and orbital frontoinsular cortices with robust connectivity to subcortical and limbic structures, and an "executive-control network" that links dorsolateral frontal and parietal neocortices. These intrinsic connectivity networks showed dissociable correlations with functions measured outside the scanner. Prescan anxiety ratings correlated with intrinsic functional connectivity of the dACC node of the salience network, but with no region in the executive-control network, whereas executive task performance correlated with lateral parietal nodes of the executive-control network, but with no region in the salience network. Our findings suggest that task-free analysis of intrinsic connectivity networks may help elucidate the neural architectures that support fundamental aspects of human behavior.
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              Spontaneous fluctuations in brain activity observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

              The majority of functional neuroscience studies have focused on the brain's response to a task or stimulus. However, the brain is very active even in the absence of explicit input or output. In this Article we review recent studies examining spontaneous fluctuations in the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal of functional magnetic resonance imaging as a potentially important and revealing manifestation of spontaneous neuronal activity. Although several challenges remain, these studies have provided insight into the intrinsic functional architecture of the brain, variability in behaviour and potential physiological correlates of neurological and psychiatric disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                March 12 2013
                March 12 2013
                March 12 2013
                February 25 2013
                : 110
                : 11
                : 4392-4397
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1216856110
                3600481
                23440216
                © 2013

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