Using variance information in magnetoencephalography measures of functional connectivity

Neuroimage. 2013 Feb 15;67:203-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.11.011. Epub 2012 Nov 17.


The use of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to assess long range functional connectivity across large scale distributed brain networks is gaining popularity. Recent work has shown that electrodynamic networks can be assessed using both seed based correlation or independent component analysis (ICA) applied to MEG data and further that such metrics agree with fMRI studies. To date, techniques for MEG connectivity assessment have typically used a variance normalised approach, either through the use of Pearson correlation coefficients or via variance normalisation of envelope timecourses prior to ICA. Here, we show that the use of variance information (i.e. data that have not been variance normalised) in source space projected Hilbert envelope time series yields important spatial information, and is of significant functional relevance. Further, we show that employing this information in functional connectivity analyses improves the spatial delineation of network nodes using both seed based and ICA approaches. The use of variance is particularly important in MEG since the non-independence of source space voxels (brought about by the ill-posed MEG inverse problem) means that spurious signals can exist in areas of low signal variance. We therefore suggest that this approach be incorporated into future studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Principal Component Analysis