Brain Behav 2018 09 15;8(9):e01090. Epub 2018 Aug 15.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Introduction: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) combined with simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG-fMRI) has become a major tool in mapping epilepsy sources. In the absence of detectable epileptiform activity, the resting state fMRI may still detect changes in the blood oxygen level-dependent signal, suggesting intrinsic alterations in the underlying brain physiology.
Methods: In this study, we used coefficient of variation (CV) of critically sampled 10 Hz ultra-fast fMRI (magnetoencephalography, MREG) signal to compare physiological variance between healthy controls (n = 10) and patients (n = 10) with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE).
Results: We showed highly significant voxel-level (p < 0.01, TFCE-corrected) increase in the physiological variance in DRE patients. At individual level, the elevations range over three standard deviations (σ) above the control mean (μ) CV values solely in DRE patients, enabling patient-specific mapping of elevated physiological variance. The most apparent differences in group-level analysis are found on white matter, brainstem, and cerebellum. Respiratory (0.12-0.4 Hz) and very-low-frequency (VLF = 0.009-0.1 Hz) signal variances were most affected.
Conclusions: The CV increase was not explained by head motion or physiological cardiorespiratory activity, that is, it seems to be linked to intrinsic physiological pulsations. We suggest that intrinsic brain pulsations play a role in DRE and that critically sampled fMRI may provide a powerful tool for their identification.