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Background: Brain areas need to coordinate their activity in order to enable complex behavioral responses. Synchronization is one of the mechanisms neural ensembles use to communicate. While synchronization between signals operating at similar frequencies is fairly straightforward, the estimation of synchronization occurring between different frequencies of oscillations has proven harder to capture. One specifically hard challenge is to estimate cross-frequency synchronization between broadband signals when no a priori hypothesis is available about the frequencies involved in the synchronization. Methods: In the present manuscript, we expand upon the phase linearity measurement, an iso-frequency synchronization metrics previously developed by our group, in order to provide a conceptually similar approach able to detect the presence of cross-frequency synchronization between any components of the analyzed broadband signals. Results: The methodology has been tested on both synthetic and real data. We first exploited Gaussian process realizations in order to explore the properties of our new metrics in a synthetic case study. Subsequently, we analyze real source-reconstructed data acquired by a magnetoencephalographic system from healthy controls in a clinical setting to study the performance of our metrics in a realistic environment. Conclusions: In the present paper we provide an evolution of the PLM methodology able to reveal the presence of cross-frequency synchronization between broadband data.
Sorrentino, P., Ambrosanio, M., Rucco, R., & Baselice, F. (2019). An extension of Phase Linearity Measurement for revealing cross frequency coupling among brain areas. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-019-0615-8