Resting-state brain networks: literature review and clinical applications

Neurol Sci. 2011 Oct;32(5):773-85. doi: 10.1007/s10072-011-0636-y. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


This review focuses on resting-state functional connectivity, a functional MRI technique which allows the study of spontaneous brain activity generated under resting conditions. This approach is useful to explore the brain's functional organization and to examine if it is altered in neurological or psychiatric diseases. Resting-state functional connectivity has revealed a number of networks which are consistently found in healthy subjects and represent specific patterns of synchronous activity. In this review, we examine the behavioral, physiological and neurological evidences relevant to this coherent brain activity and, in particular, to each network. The investigation of functional connectivity appears promising from a clinical perspective, considering the amount of evidence regarding the importance of spontaneous activity and that resting-state paradigms are inherently simple to implement. We also discuss some examples of existing clinical applications, such as in Alzheimer's disease, and emerging possibilities such as in pre-operative mapping and disorders of consciousness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*