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On wakefulness fluctuations as a source of BOLD functional connectivity dynamics

Publication year 2017
Published in Scientific Reports
Authors E. Tagliazucchi, Ariel Haimovici, Pablo Balenzuela, Helmut Laufs,

Human brain dynamics and functional connectivity fluctuate over a range of temporal scales in coordination with internal states and environmental demands. However, the neurobiological significance and consequences of functional connectivity dynamics during rest have not yet been established. We show that the coarse-grained clustering of whole-brain dynamic connectivity measured with magnetic resonance imaging reveals discrete patterns (dynamic connectivity states) associated with wakefulness and sleep. We validate this using EEG in healthy subjects and patients with narcolepsy and by matching our results with previous findings in a large collaborative database. We also show that drowsiness may account for previous reports of metastable connectivity states associated with different levels of functional integration. This implies that future studies of transient functional connectivity must independently monitor wakefulness. We conclude that a possible neurobiological significance of dynamic connectivity states, computed at a sufficiently coarse temporal scale, is that of fluctuations in wakefulness.

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