The brain at rest consists of spatially and temporal distributed but functionally connected regions that called intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs). Resting state electroencephalography (rs-EEG) is a way to characterize brain networks without confounds associated with task EEG such as task difficulty and performance. A novel framework of how to study dynamic functional connectivity under the notion of functional connectivity microstates (FCμstates) and symbolic dynamics is further discussed. Furthermore, we introduced a way to construct a single integrated dynamic functional connectivity graph (IDFCG) that preserves both the strength of the connections between every pair of sensors but also the type of dominant intrinsic coupling modes (DICM). The whole methodology is demonstrated in a significant and unexplored task for EEG which is the definition of an objective Chronnectomic Brain Aged index (CBAI) extracted from resting-state data (N=94 subjects) with both eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. Novel features have been defined based on symbolic dynamics and the notion of DICM and FCμstates. The transition rate of FCμstates, the symbolic dynamics based on the evolution of FCμstates (the Markovian Entropy, the complexity index), the probability distribution of DICM, the novel Flexibility Index that captures the dynamic reconfiguration of DICM per pair of EEG sensors and the relative signal power constitute a valuable pool of features that can build the proposed CBAI. Here we applied a feature selection technique and Support Vector Machine (SVM) linear classifier to discriminate young adults from middle-aged and a Support Vector Regressor to build a linear model of the actual age based on EEG-based spatio-temporal features. Our results revealed a very high prediction of age for eyes-open (R2 = 0.60; y=0.79x + 8.03) and lower for eyes-closed (R2=-0.48; y=0.71x + 10.91) while we succeeded to correctly classify young versus middle-age group with 97 % accuracy in eyes-open and 87.2 % for eyes-closed. Our results were reproduced also in a second dataset for further external validation of the whole analysis. The proposed methodology proved valuable for the characterization of the intrinsic properties of dynamic functional connectivity through the age untangling developmental differences using EEG resting-state recordings.
Dimitriadis, S. I., & Salis, C. I. (2017). Mining Time-Resolved Functional Brain Graphs to an EEG-Based Chronnectomic Brain Aged Index (CBAI). Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00423