What are the functional neuroimaging measurements required for more fully characterizing the events and locations of neocortical activity? A prime assumption has been that modulation of cortical activity will inevitably be reflected in changes in energy utilization (for the most part) changes of glucose and oxygen consumption. Are such a measures complete and sufficient? More direct measures of cortical electrophysiological activity show event or task-related modulation of amplitude or band-limited oscillatory power. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), these measures have been shown to correlate well with energy utilization sensitive BOLD fMRI. In this paper, we explore the existence of state changes in electrophysiological cortical activity that can occur independently of changes in averaged amplitude, source power or indices of metabolic rates. In addition, we demonstrate that such state changes can be described by applying a new measure of complexity, rank vector entropy (RVE), to source waveform estimates from beamformer-processed MEG. RVE is a non-parametric symbolic dynamic informational entropy measure that accommodates the wide dynamic range of measured brain signals while resolving its temporal variations. By representing the measurements by their rank values, RVE overcomes the problem of defining embedding space partitions without resorting to signal compression. This renders RVE independent of absolute signal amplitude. In addition, this approach is robust, being relatively free of tunable parameters. We present examples of task-free and task dependent MEG demonstrating that RVE provides new information by uncovering hidden dynamical structure in the apparent turbulent (or chaotic) dynamics of spontaneous cortical activity. © 2012 Robinson, Mandell and Coppola.
Robinson, S. E., Mandell, A. J., & Coppola, R. (2013). Spatiotemporal imaging of complexity. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncom.2012.00101