Contrasting Effects of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on the Whole-Brain Resting-State Network: A Magnetoencephalography Study

Brain Connect. 2017 Feb;7(1):45-57. doi: 10.1089/brain.2015.0406. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


The aim of this study was to evaluate alterations in whole-brain resting-state networks associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Networks were constructed from locations of peak statistical power on an individual basis from magnetoencephalography (MEG) source series data by applying the weighted phase lag index and surrogate data thresholding procedures. Networks representing activity in the alpha bandwidth as well as wideband activity (DC-80 Hz) were created. Statistical comparisons were adjusted for age and education level. Alpha network results demonstrate reductions in network structure associated with PTSD, but no differences associated with mTBI. Wideband network results demonstrate a shift in connectivity from the alpha to theta bandwidth in both PTSD and mTBI. Also, contrasting alterations in network structure are noted, with increased randomness associated with PTSD and increased structure associated with mTBI. These results demonstrate the potential of the analysis of MEG resting-state networks to differentiate two highly comorbid conditions. The importance of the alpha bandwidth to resting-state connectivity is also highlighted, while demonstrating the necessity of considering activity in other bandwidths during network construction.

Keywords: brain networks; graph theory; magnetoencephalography; posttraumatic stress disorder; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Concussion / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Contrast Media / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Rest*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnostic imaging*


  • Contrast Media