Human functional connectivity networks are modulated on time scales ranging from milliseconds to days. Rapid changes in connectivity over short time scales are a feature of healthy cognitive function, and variability over long time scales can impact the likelihood of seizure occurrence. However, relatively little is known about modulation of healthy functional networks over long time scales. To address this, we analyzed functional connectivity networks calculated from long-term EEG recordings from 19 healthy infants. Networks were subject-specific, as inter-subject correlations between weighted adjacency matrices were low. However, within individual subjects, both sleep and wake networks were stable over time, with stronger functional connectivity during sleep than wakefulness. This enabled automatic separation of wakefulness and sleep states via principle components analysis of the functional network time series, with median classification accuracy of 91%. Lastly, we found that network strength, degree, clustering coefficient, and path length significantly varied with time of day, when measured in both wakefulness and sleep. Together, these results suggest that modulation of healthy functional networks occurs over long timescales and is robust and repeatable. Accounting for such temporal periodicities may improve the physiological interpretation and use of functional connectivity analysis to investigate brain function in health and disease.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience