Clinical applications of resting state functional connectivity

Front Syst Neurosci. 2010 Jun 17;4:19. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2010.00019. eCollection 2010.


During resting conditions the brain remains functionally and metabolically active. One manifestation of this activity that has become an important research tool is spontaneous fluctuations in the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The identification of correlation patterns in these spontaneous fluctuations has been termed resting state functional connectivity (fcMRI) and has the potential to greatly increase the translation of fMRI into clinical care. In this article we review the advantages of the resting state signal for clinical applications including detailed discussion of signal to noise considerations. We include guidelines for performing resting state research on clinical populations, outline the different areas for clinical application, and identify important barriers to be addressed to facilitate the translation of resting state fcMRI into the clinical realm.

Keywords: brain; fMRI; fcMRI; intrinsic activity; neurological disease; psychiatric disease; spontaneous activity.