March 8, 2021

Microstates and power envelope hidden Markov modeling probe bursting brain activity at different timescales

State modeling of whole-brain electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) allows to investigate transient, recurring neurodynamical events. Two widely-used techniques are the microstate analysis of EEG signals and hidden Markov modeling (HMM) of MEG power envelopes. Both reportedly lead to similar state lifetimes on the 100 ms timescale, suggesting a common neural basis. We addressed this issue by using simultaneous MEG/EEG recordings at rest and comparing the spatial signature and temporal activation dynamics of microstates and power envelope HMM states obtained separately from EEG and MEG. Results showed that microstates and power envelope HMM states differed both spatially and temporally. Microstates tend to exhibit spatio-temporal locality, whereas power envelope HMM states disclose network-level activity with 100-200 ms lifetimes. Further, MEG microstates do not correspond to the canonical EEG microstates but are better interpreted as split HMM states. On the other hand, both MEG and EEG HMM states involve the (de)activation of similar functional networks. Microstate analysis and power envelope HMM thus appear sensitive to neural events occurring over different spatial and temporal scales. As such, they represent complementary approaches to explore the fast, sub-second scale bursting electrophysiological dynamics in spontaneous human brain activity.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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