Concurrent EEG-fMRI studies have provided increasing details of the dynamics of intrinsic brain activity during the resting state. Here, we investigate a prominent effect in EEG during relaxed resting, i.e. the increase of the alpha power when the eyes are closed compared to when the eyes are open. This phenomenon is related to changes in thalamo-cortical and cortico-cortical synchronization. In order to investigate possible changes to EEG-fMRI coupling and fMRI functional connectivity during the two states we adopted a data-driven approach that fuses the multimodal data on the basis of parallel ICA decompositions of the fMRI data in the spatial domain and of the EEG data in the spectral domain. The power variation of a posterior alpha component was used as a reference function to deconvolve the hemodynamic responses from occipital, frontal, temporal, and subcortical fMRI components. Additionally, we computed the functional connectivity between these components. The results showed widespread alpha hemodynamic responses and high functional connectivity during eyes-closed (EC) rest, while eyes open (EO) resting abolished many of the hemodynamic responses and markedly decreased functional connectivity. These data suggest that generation of local hemodynamic responses is highly sensitive to state changes that do not involve changes of mental effort or awareness. They also indicate the localized power differences in posterior alpha between EO and EC in resting state data are accompanied by spatially widespread amplitude changes in hemodynamic responses and inter-regional functional connectivity, i.e. low frequency hemodynamic signals display an equivalent of alpha reactivity.
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