Measuring functional connectivity using MEG: methodology and comparison with fcMRI.

MJ Brookes, JR Hale, JM Zumer, CM Stevenson, ST Francis, GR Barnes, JP Owen, PG Morris, SS Nagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional connectivity (FC) between brain regions is thought to be central to the way in which the brain processes information. Abnormal connectivity is thought to be implicated in a number of diseases. The ability to study FC is therefore a key goal for neuroimaging. Functional connectivity (fc) MRI has become a popular tool to make connectivity measurements but the technique is limited by its indirect nature. A multimodal approach is therefore an attractive means to investigate the electrodynamic mechanisms underlying hemodynamic connectivity. In this paper, we investigate resting state FC using fcMRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG). In fcMRI, we exploit the advantages afforded by ultra high magnetic field. In MEG we apply envelope correlation and coherence techniques to source space projected MEG signals. We show that beamforming provides an excellent means to measure FC in source space using MEG data. However, care must be taken when interpreting these measurements since cross talk between voxels in source space can potentially lead to spurious connectivity and this must be taken into account in all studies of this type. We show good spatial agreement between FC measured independently using MEG and fcMRI; FC between sensorimotor cortices was observed using both modalities, with the best spatial agreement when MEG data are filtered into the β band. This finding helps to reduce the potential confounds associated with each modality alone: while it helps reduce the uncertainties in spatial patterns generated by MEG (brought about by the ill posed inverse problem), addition of electrodynamic metric confirms the neural basis of fcMRI measurements. Finally, we show that multiple MEG based FC metrics allow the potential to move beyond what is possible using fcMRI, and investigate the nature of electrodynamic connectivity. Our results extend those from previous studies and add weight to the argument that neural oscillations are intimately related to functional connectivity and the BOLD response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1104
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

©2011 Elsevier Inc. Open access under CC BY license.


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