Sources of group differences in functional connectivity: an investigation applied to autism spectrum disorder.
ABSTRACT An increasing number of fMRI studies are using the correlation of low-frequency fluctuations between brain regions, believed to reflect synchronized variations in neuronal activity, to infer "functional connectivity". In studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), decreases in this measure of connectivity have been found by focusing on the response to task modulation, by using only the rest periods, or by analyzing purely resting-state data. This difference in connectivity, however, could result from a number of different mechanisms--differences in noise, task-related fluctuations, task performance, or spontaneous neuronal activity. In this study, we investigate the difference in functional connectivity between adolescents with high-functioning ASD and typically developing control subjects by examining the residual fluctuations occurring on top of the fMRI response to an overt verbal fluency task. We find decreased correlations of these residuals (a decreased "connectivity") in ASD subjects. Furthermore, we find that this decrease was not due to task-related effects, block-to-block variations in task performance, or increased noise, and the difference was greatest when primarily rest periods are considered. These findings suggest that the estimate of disrupted functional connectivity in ASD is likely driven by differences in task-unrelated neuronal fluctuations.
Article: Functional connectivity in the resting brain: a network analysis of the default mode hypothesis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Functional imaging studies have shown that certain brain regions, including posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC), consistently show greater activity during resting states than during cognitive tasks. This finding led to the hypothesis that these regions constitute a network supporting a default mode of brain function. In this study, we investigate three questions pertaining to this hypothesis: Does such a resting-state network exist in the human brain? Is it modulated during simple sensory processing? How is it modulated during cognitive processing? To address these questions, we defined PCC and vACC regions that showed decreased activity during a cognitive (working memory) task, then examined their functional connectivity during rest. PCC was strongly coupled with vACC and several other brain regions implicated in the default mode network. Next, we examined the functional connectivity of PCC and vACC during a visual processing task and show that the resultant connectivity maps are virtually identical to those obtained during rest. Last, we defined three lateral prefrontal regions showing increased activity during the cognitive task and examined their resting-state connectivity. We report significant inverse correlations among all three lateral prefrontal regions and PCC, suggesting a mechanism for attenuation of default mode network activity during cognitive processing. This study constitutes, to our knowledge, the first resting-state connectivity analysis of the default mode and provides the most compelling evidence to date for the existence of a cohesive default mode network. Our findings also provide insight into how this network is modulated by task demands and what functions it might subserve.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2003; 100(1):253-8. · 9.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The notion of a "default mode of brain function" has taken on certain relevance in human neuroimaging studies and in relation to a network of lateral parietal and midline cortical regions that show prominent activity fluctuations during passive imaging states, such as rest. In this study, we perform three fMRI experiments that demonstrate consistency and specialization in the default mode network. Correlated activity fluctuations of default mode network regions are identified during (i) eyes-closed spontaneous rest, (ii) activation by moral dilemma, and (iii) deactivation by Stroop task performance. Across these imaging states, striking uniformity is shown in the basic anatomy of the default mode network, but with both tasks clearly and differentially modulating this activity compared with spontaneous fluctuations of the network at rest. Against rest, moral dilemma is further shown to evoke regionally specific activity increases of hypothesized functional relevance. Mapping spontaneous and task-related brain activity will help to constrain the meaning of the default mode network. These findings are discussed in relation to recent debate on the topic of default modes of brain function.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2008; 105(28):9781-6. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2004; 24(42):9228-31. · 7.11 Impact Factor