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Cortical timescales and the modular organization of structural and functional brain networks

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Hum Brain Mapp. 2024 Feb 1;45(2):e26587. doi: 10.1002/hbm.26587.


Recent years have seen growing interest in characterizing the properties of regional brain dynamics and their relationship to other features of brain structure and function. In particular, multiple studies have observed regional differences in the “timescale” over which activity fluctuates during periods of quiet rest. In the cerebral cortex, these timescales have been associated with both local circuit properties as well as patterns of inter-regional connectivity, including the extent to which each region exhibits widespread connectivity to other brain areas. In the current study, we build on prior observations of an association between connectivity and dynamics in the cerebral cortex by investigating the relationship between BOLD fMRI timescales and the modular organization of structural and functional brain networks. We characterize network community structure across multiple scales and find that longer timescales are associated with greater within-community functional connectivity and diverse structural connectivity. We also replicate prior observations of a positive correlation between timescales and structural connectivity degree. Finally, we find evidence for preferential functional connectivity between cortical areas with similar timescales. We replicate these findings in an independent dataset. These results contribute to our understanding of functional brain organization and structure-function relationships in the human brain, and support the notion that regional differences in cortical dynamics may in part reflect the topological role of each region within macroscale brain networks.

PMID:38339903 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.26587

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