Volume conduction (VC) and magnetic field spread (MFS) induce spurious correlations between EEG/MEG sensors, such that the estimation of functional networks from scalp recordings is inaccurate. Imaginary coherency  reduces VC/MFS artefacts between sensors by assuming that instantaneous interactions are caused predominantly by VC/MFS and do not contribute to the imaginary part of the cross-spectral densities (CSDs). We propose an adaptation of the dynamic imaging of coherent sources (DICS)  - a method for reconstructing the CSDs between sources, and subsequently inferring functional connectivity based on coherences between those sources. Firstly, we reformulate the principle of imaginary coherency by performing an eigenvector decomposition of the imaginary part of the CSD to estimate the power that only contributes to the non-zero phase-lagged (NZPL) interactions. Secondly, we construct an NZPL-optimised spatial filter with two a priori assumptions: (1) that only NZPL interactions exist at the source level and (2) the NZPL CSD at the sensor level is a good approximation of the projected source NZPL CSDs. We compare the performance of the NZPL method to the standard method by reconstructing a coherent network from simulated EEG/MEG recordings. We demonstrate that, as long as there are phase differences between the sources, the NZPL method reliably detects the underlying networks from EEG and MEG. We show that the method is also robust to very small phase lags, noise from phase jitter, and is less sensitive to regularisation parameters. The method is applied to a human dataset to infer parts of a coherent network underpinning face recognition.
Fluctuations in successive waves of oscillatory local field potentials (LFPs) reflect the ongoing processing of neuron populations. However, their amplitude, polarity and synaptic origin are uncertain due to the blending of electric fields produced by multiple converging inputs, and the lack of a baseline in standard AC-coupled recordings. Consequently, the estimation of underlying currents by laminar analysis yields spurious sequences of inward and outward currents. We devised a combined analytical/experimental approach that is suitable to study laminated structures. The approach was essayed on an experimental oscillatory LFP as the Schaffer-CA1 gamma input in anesthetized rats, and it was verified by parallel processing of model LFPs obtained through a realistic CA1 aggregate of compartmental units. This approach requires laminar LFP recordings and the isolation of the oscillatory input from other converging pathways, which was achieved through an independent component analysis. It also allows the spatial and temporal components of pathway-specific LFPs to be separated. While reconstructed Schaffer-specific LFPs still show spurious inward/outward current sequences, these were clearly stratified into distinct subcellular domains. These spatial bands guided the localized delivery of neurotransmitter blockers in experiments. As expected, only Glutamate but not GABA blockers abolished Schaffer LFPs when applied to the active but not passive subcellular domains of pyramidal cells. The known chemical nature of the oscillatory LFP allowed an empirical offset of the temporal component of Schaffer LFPs, such that following reconstruction they yield only sinks or sources at the appropriate sites. In terms of number and polarity, some waves increased and others decreased proportional to the concomitant inputs in native multisynaptic LFPs. Interestingly, the processing also retrieved the initiation time for each wave, which can be used to discriminate afferent from postsynaptic cells in standard spike-phase correlations. The applicability of this approach to other pathways and structures is discussed.
The present study investigates whether a minimal manipulation in task demands can induce core linguistic combinatorial mechanisms to extend beyond the bounds of normal grammatical phrases. Using magnetoencephalography, we measured neural activity evoked by the processing of adjective-noun phrases in canonical (red cup) and reversed order (cup red). During a task not requiring composition (verification against a color blob and shape outline), we observed significant combinatorial activity during canonical phrases only – as indexed by minimum norm source activity localized to the left anterior temporal lobe at 200–250 ms(cf. , ). When combinatorial task demands were introduced (by simply combining the blob and outline into a single colored shape) we observed significant combinatorial activity during reversed sequences as well. These results demonstrate the first direct evidence that basic linguistic combinatorial mechanisms can be deployed outside of normal grammatical expressions in response to task demands, independent of changes in lexical or attentional factors.
This study used magnetoencephalography to record oscillatory activity in a group of 17 patients with chronic tinnitus. Two methods, residual inhibition and residual excitation, were used to bring about transient changes in spontaneous tinnitus intensity in order to measure dynamic tinnitus correlates in individual patients. In residual inhibition, a positive correlation was seen between tinnitus intensity and both delta/theta (6/14 patients) and gamma band (8/14 patients) oscillations in auditory cortex, suggesting an increased thalamocortical input and cortical gamma response, respectively, associated with higher tinnitus states. Conversely, 4/4 patients exhibiting residual excitation demonstrated an inverse correlation between perceived tinnitus intensity and auditory cortex gamma oscillations (with no delta/theta changes) that cannot be explained by existing models. Significant oscillatory power changes were also identified in a variety of cortical regions, most commonly midline lobar regions in the default mode network, cerebellum, insula and anterior temporal lobe. These were highly variable across patients in terms of areas and frequency bands involved, and in direction of power change. We suggest a model based on a local circuit function of cortical gamma-band oscillations as a process of mutual inhibition that might suppress abnormal cortical activity in tinnitus. The work implicates auditory cortex gamma-band oscillations as a fundamental intrinsic mechanism for attenuating phantom auditory perception.
tinnitus; gamma oscillations; mutual inhibition; auditory cortex; magnetoencephalography
To develop a reliable magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)-based method for measuring regional brain stiffness.
First, simulation studies were used to demonstrate how stiffness measurements can be biased by changes in brain morphometry, such as those due to atrophy. Adaptive postprocessing methods were created that significantly reduce the spatial extent of edge artifacts and eliminate atrophy-related bias. Second, a pipeline for regional brain stiffness measurement was developed and evaluated for test-retest reliability in 10 healthy control subjects.
This technique indicates high test-retest repeatability with a typical coefficient of variation of less than 1% for global brain stiffness and less than 2% for the lobes of the brain and the cerebellum. Furthermore, this study reveals that the brain possesses a characteristic topography of mechanical properties, and also that lobar stiffness measurements tend to correlate with one another within an individual.
The methods presented in this work are resistant to noise- and edge-related biases that are common in the field of brain MRE, demonstrate high test-retest reliability, and provide independent regional stiffness measurements. This pipeline will allow future investigations to measure changes to the brain’s mechanical properties and how they relate to the characteristic topographies that are typical of many neurologic diseases.
This article concerns one of the most important problems of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) based on Steady State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEP), that is the selection of the a-priori most suitable frequencies for stimulation. Previous works related to this problem were done either with measuring systems that have little in common with actual BCI systems (e.g., single flashing LED) or were presented on a small number of subjects, or the tested frequency range did not cover a broad spectrum. Their results indicate a strong SSVEP response around 10 Hz, in the range 13–25 Hz, and at high frequencies in the band of 40–60 Hz. In the case of BCI interfaces, stimulation with frequencies from various ranges are used. The frequencies are often adapted for each user separately. The selection of these frequencies, however, was not yet justified in quantitative group-level study with proper statistical account for inter-subject variability. The aim of this study is to determine the SSVEP response curve, that is, the magnitude of the evoked signal as a function of frequency. The SSVEP response was induced in conditions as close as possible to the actual BCI system, using a wide range of frequencies (5–30 Hz, in step of 1 Hz). The data were obtained for 10 subjects. SSVEP curves for individual subjects and the population curve was determined. Statistical analysis were conducted both on the level of individual subjects and for the group. The main result of the study is the identification of the optimal range of frequencies, which is 12–18 Hz, for the registration of SSVEP phenomena. The applied criterion of optimality was: to find the largest contiguous range of frequencies yielding the strong and constant-level SSVEP response.
The relation between pathological findings and clinical and cognitive decline in Multiple Sclerosis remains unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that altered functional connectivity could provide a missing link between structural findings, such as thalamic atrophy and white matter lesion load, and clinical and cognitive dysfunction. Resting-state magnetoencephalography recordings from 21 MS patients and 17 gender- and age matched controls were projected onto atlas-based regions-of–interest using beamforming. Average functional connectivity was computed for each ROI and literature-based resting-state networks using the phase-lag index. Structural measures of whole brain and thalamic atrophy and lesion load were estimated from MRI scans. Global analyses showed lower functional connectivity in the alpha2 band and higher functional connectivity in the beta band in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Additionally, alpha2 band functional connectivity was lower for the patients in two resting-state networks, namely the default mode network and the visual network. Higher beta band functional connectivity was found in the default mode network and in the temporo-parietal network. Lower alpha2 band functional connectivity in the visual network was related to lower thalamic volumes. Beta band functional connectivity correlated positively with disability scores, most prominently in the default mode network, and correlated negatively with cognitive performance in this network. These findings illustrate the relationship between thalamic atrophy, altered functional connectivity and clinical and cognitive dysfunction in MS, which could serve as a bridge to understand how neurodegeneration is associated with altered functional connectivity and subsequently clinical and cognitive decline.
Subcortical structures are involved in many healthy and pathological brain processes. It is crucial for many studies to use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to assess the ability to detect subcortical generators. This study aims to assess the source localization accuracy and to compare the characteristics of three inverse operators in the specific case of subcortical generators. MEG has a low sensitivity to subcortical sources mainly because of their distance from sensors and their complex cyto-architecture. However, we show that using a realistic anatomical and electrophysiological model of deep brain activity (DBA), the sources make measurable contributions to MEG sensors signals. Furthermore, we study the point-spread and cross-talk functions of the wMNE, sLORETA and dSPM inverse operators to characterize distortions in cortical and subcortical regions and to study how noise-normalization methods can improve or bias accuracy. We then run Monte Carlo simulations with neocortical and subcortical activations. In the case of single hippocampus patch activations, the results indicate that MEG can indeed localize the generators in the head and the body of the hippocampus with good accuracy. We then tackle the question of simultaneous cortical and subcortical activations. wMNE can detect hippocampal activations that are embedded in cortical activations that have less than double their amplitude, but it does not completely correct the bias to more superficial sources. dSPM and sLORETA can still detect hippocampal activity above this threshold, but such detection might include the creation of ghost deeper sources. Finally, using the DBA model, we showed that the detection of weak thalamic modulations of ongoing brain activity is possible.
We propose INvariance of Noise (INN) space as a novel method for source localization of magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. The method is based on the fact that modulations of source strengths across time change the energy in signal subspace but leave the noise subspace invariant. We compare INN with classical MUSIC, RAP-MUSIC, and beamformer approaches using simulated data while varying signal-to-noise ratios as well as distance and temporal correlation between two sources. We also demonstrate the utility of INN with actual auditory evoked MEG responses in eight subjects. In all cases, INN performed well, especially when the sources were closely spaced, highly correlated, or one source was considerably stronger than the other.
Stimulus-induced gamma oscillations in the 30–80 Hz range have been implicated in a wide number of functions including visual processing, memory and attention. While occipital gamma-band oscillations can be pharmacologically modified in animal preparations, pharmacological modulation of stimulus-induced visual gamma oscillations has yet to be demonstrated in non-invasive human recordings. Here, in fifteen healthy humans volunteers, we probed the effects of the GABAA agonist and sedative propofol on stimulus-related gamma activity recorded with magnetoencephalography, using a simple visual grating stimulus designed to elicit gamma oscillations in the primary visual cortex. During propofol sedation as compared to the normal awake state, a significant 60% increase in stimulus-induced gamma amplitude was seen together with a 94% enhancement of stimulus-induced alpha suppression and a simultaneous reduction in the amplitude of the pattern-onset evoked response. These data demonstrate, that propofol-induced sedation is accompanied by increased stimulus-induced gamma activity providing a potential window into mechanisms of gamma-oscillation generation in humans.
Both biophysical and neurophysiological aspects need to be considered to assess the impact of electric fields induced by transcranial current stimulation (tCS) on the cerebral cortex and the subsequent effects occurring on scalp EEG. The objective of this work was to elaborate a global model allowing for the simulation of scalp EEG signals under tCS. In our integrated modeling approach, realistic meshes of the head tissues and of the stimulation electrodes were first built to map the generated electric field distribution on the cortical surface. Secondly, source activities at various cortical macro-regions were generated by means of a computational model of neuronal populations. The model parameters were adjusted so that populations generated an oscillating activity around 10 Hz resembling typical EEG alpha activity. In order to account for tCS effects and following current biophysical models, the calculated component of the electric field normal to the cortex was used to locally influence the activity of neuronal populations. Lastly, EEG under both spontaneous and tACS-stimulated (transcranial sinunoidal tCS from 4 to 16 Hz) brain activity was simulated at the level of scalp electrodes by solving the forward problem in the aforementioned realistic head model. Under the 10 Hz-tACS condition, a significant increase in alpha power occurred in simulated scalp EEG signals as compared to the no-stimulation condition. This increase involved most channels bilaterally, was more pronounced on posterior electrodes and was only significant for tACS frequencies from 8 to 12 Hz. The immediate effects of tACS in the model agreed with the post-tACS results previously reported in real subjects. Moreover, additional information was also brought by the model at other electrode positions or stimulation frequency. This suggests that our modeling approach can be used to compare, interpret and predict changes occurring on EEG with respect to parameters used in specific stimulation configurations.
Localizing the generators of epileptic activity in the brain using Electro-EncephaloGraphy (EEG) or Magneto-EncephaloGraphy (MEG) signals is of particular interest during the pre-surgical investigation of epilepsy. Epileptic discharges can be detectable from background brain activity, provided they are associated with spatially extended generators. Using realistic simulations of epileptic activity, this study evaluates the ability of distributed source localization methods to accurately estimate the location of the generators and their sensitivity to the spatial extent of such generators when using MEG data. Source localization methods based on two types of realistic models have been investigated: (i) brain activity may be modeled using cortical parcels and (ii) brain activity is assumed to be locally smooth within each parcel. A Data Driven Parcellization (DDP) method was used to segment the cortical surface into non-overlapping parcels and diffusion-based spatial priors were used to model local spatial smoothness within parcels. These models were implemented within the Maximum Entropy on the Mean (MEM) and the Hierarchical Bayesian (HB) source localization frameworks. We proposed new methods in this context and compared them with other standard ones using Monte Carlo simulations of realistic MEG data involving sources of several spatial extents and depths. Detection accuracy of each method was quantified using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis and localization error metrics. Our results showed that methods implemented within the MEM framework were sensitive to all spatial extents of the sources ranging from 3 cm2 to 30 cm2, whatever were the number and size of the parcels defining the model. To reach a similar level of accuracy within the HB framework, a model using parcels larger than the size of the sources should be considered.
The assessment of information transfer in the global economic network helps to understand the current environment and the outlook of an economy. Most approaches on global networks extract information transfer based mainly on a single variable. This paper establishes an entirely new bioinformatics-inspired approach to integrating information transfer derived from multiple variables and develops an international economic network accordingly. In the proposed methodology, we first construct the transfer entropies (TEs) between various intra- and inter-country pairs of economic time series variables, test their significances, and then use a weighted sum approach to aggregate information captured in each TE. Through a simulation study, the new method is shown to deliver better information integration compared to existing integration methods in that it can be applied even when intra-country variables are correlated. Empirical investigation with the real world data reveals that Western countries are more influential in the global economic network and that Japan has become less influential following the Asian currency crisis.
We describe a general solution to the problem of determining diagnostic accuracy without the use of a perfect reference standard and in the presence of interpreter variability. The accuracy of a diagnostic test is typically determined by comparing its outcomes with those of an established reference standard. But the accuracy of the standard itself and those of the interpreters strongly influence such assessments. We use our solution to examine the effects of the properties of the standard, the reliability of the interpreters, and the prevalence of abnormality on the measured sensitivity and specificity. Our results provide a method of systematically adjusting the measured sensitivity and specificity in order to estimate their true values. The results are validated by simulations and their detailed application to specific cases are described.
Acute alcohol intake is known to enhance inhibition through facilitation of GABAA receptors, which are present in 40% of the synapses all over the brain. Evidence suggests that enhanced GABAergic transmission leads to increased large-scale brain connectivity. Our hypothesis is that acute alcohol intake would increase the functional connectivity of the human brain resting-state network (RSN). To test our hypothesis, electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements were recorded from healthy social drinkers at rest, during eyes-open and eyes-closed sessions, after administering to them an alcoholic beverage or placebo respectively. Salivary alcohol and cortisol served to measure the inebriation and stress levels. By calculating Magnitude Square Coherence (MSC) on standardized Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (sLORETA) solutions, we formed cortical networks over several frequency bands, which were then analyzed in the context of functional connectivity and graph theory. MSC was increased (p<0.05, corrected with False Discovery Rate, FDR corrected) in alpha, beta (eyes-open) and theta bands (eyes-closed) following acute alcohol intake. Graph parameters were accordingly altered in these bands quantifying the effect of alcohol on the structure of brain networks; global efficiency and density were higher and path length was lower during alcohol (vs. placebo, p<0.05). Salivary alcohol concentration was positively correlated with the density of the network in beta band. The degree of specific nodes was elevated following alcohol (vs. placebo). Our findings support the hypothesis that short-term inebriation considerably increases large-scale connectivity in the RSN. The increased baseline functional connectivity can -at least partially- be attributed to the alcohol-induced disruption of the delicate balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission in favor of inhibitory influences. Thus, it is suggested that short-term inebriation is associated, as expected, to increased GABA transmission and functional connectivity, while long-term alcohol consumption may be linked to exactly the opposite effect.