University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Brain Mapping Unit Networks Meeting and the Cambridge Connectome Consortium > Self-similar behaviour in the brain: the correlations in rest-state fMRI.

Self-similar behaviour in the brain: the correlations in rest-state fMRI.

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Adaptive behaviour, cognition and emotion are the result of a bewildering variety of brain spatio-temporal activity patterns. An important problem in neuroscience is to understand the mechanism by which the human brain’s 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses manage to produce this large repertoire of cortical configurations in a flexible manner. In addition, it is recognized that temporal correlations across such configurations cannot be arbitrary, but they need to meet two conflicting demands: while diverse cortical areas should remain functionally segregated from each other, they must still perform as a collective, i.e. they are functionally integrated. Here, we investigate these large-scale dynamical properties by inspecting the character of the spatio-temporal correlations of brain resting-state activity. In physical systems, these correlations in space and time are captured by measuring the correlation coefficient between a signal recorded at two different points in space at two different times. We show that this two-point correlation function extracted from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data exhibits self-similarity in space and time. In space, self-similarity is revealed by considering three successive spatial coarse-graining steps while in time it is revealed by the 1/f frequency behaviour of the power spectrum. The uncovered dynamical self-similarity implies that the brain is spontaneously at a continuously changing (in space and time) intermediate state between two extremes, one of excessive cortical integration and the other of complete segregation. This dynamical property may be seen as an important marker of brain well-being in both health and disease.

This talk is part of the Brain Mapping Unit Networks Meeting and the Cambridge Connectome Consortium series.

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