Human brain networks function in connectome-specific harmonic waves

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Abstract

A key characteristic of human brain activity is coherent, spatially distributed oscillations forming behaviour-dependent brain networks. However, a fundamental principle underlying these networks remains unknown. Here we report that functional networks of the human brain are predicted by harmonic patterns, ubiquitous throughout nature, steered by the anatomy of the human cerebral cortex, the human connectome. We introduce a new technique extending the Fourier basis to the human connectome. In this new frequency-specific representation of cortical activity, that we call ' €' connectome harmonics' €', oscillatory networks of the human brain at rest match harmonic wave patterns of certain frequencies. We demonstrate a neural mechanism behind the self-organization of connectome harmonics with a continuous neural field model of excitatory-inhibitory interactions on the connectome. Remarkably, the critical relation between the neural field patterns and the delicate excitation-inhibition balance fits the neurophysiological changes observed during the loss and recovery of consciousness.

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Atasoy, S., Donnelly, I., & Pearson, J. (2016). Human brain networks function in connectome-specific harmonic waves. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10340

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