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Functional localization and effective connectivity of cortical theta and alpha oscillatory activity during an attention task


Kitaura, Yuichi; Nishida, Keiichiro; Yoshimura, Masafumi; Mii, Hiroshi; Katsura, Koji; Ueda, Satsuki; Ikeda, Shunichiro; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D; Ishii, Ryouhei; Kinoshita, Toshihiko (2017). Functional localization and effective connectivity of cortical theta and alpha oscillatory activity during an attention task. Clinical neurophysiology practice, 2:193-200.

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this paper is to investigate cortical electric neuronal activity as an indicator of brain function, in a mental arithmetic task that requires sustained attention, as compared to the resting state condition. The two questions of interest are the cortical localization of different oscillatory activities, and the directional effective flow of oscillatory activity between regions of interest, in the task condition compared to resting state. In particular, theta and alpha activity are of interest here, due to their important role in attention processing.
Methods: We adapted mental arithmetic as an attention ask in this study. Eyes closed 61-channel EEG was recorded in 14 participants during resting and in a mental arithmetic task (“serial sevens subtraction”). Functional localization and connectivity analyses were based on cortical signals of electric neuronal activity estimated with sLORETA (standardized low resolution electromagnetic tomography). Functional localization was based on the comparison of the cortical distributions of the generators of oscillatory activity between task and resting conditions. Assessment of effective connectivity was based on the iCoh (isolated effective coherence) method, which provides an appropriate frequency decomposition of the directional flow of oscillatory activity between brain regions. Nine regions of interest comprising nodes from the dorsal and ventral attention networks were selected for the connectivity analysis.
Results: Cortical spectral density distribution comparing task minus rest showed significant activity increase in medial prefrontal areas and decreased activity in left parietal lobe for the theta band, and decreased activity in parietal-occipital regions for the alpha1 band. At a global level, connections among right hemispheric nodes were predominantly decreased during the task condition, while connections among left hemispheric nodes were predominantly increased. At more detailed level, decreased flow from right inferior frontal gyrus to anterior cingulate cortex for theta, and low and high alpha oscillations, and increased feedback (bidirectional flow) between left superior temporal gyrus and left inferior frontal gyrus, were observed during the arithmetic task.
Conclusions: Task related medial prefrontal increase in theta oscillations possibly corresponds to frontal midline theta, while parietal decreased alpha1 activity indicates the active role of this region in the numerical task. Task related decrease of intracortical right hemispheric connectivity support the notion that these nodes need to disengage from one another in order to not interfere with the ongoing numerical processing. The bidirectional feedback between left frontal-temporal-parietal regions in the arithmetic task is very likely to be related to attention network working memory function.
Significance: The methods of analysis and the results presented here will hopefully contribute to clarify the roles of the different EEG oscillations during sustained attention, both in terms of their functional localization and in terms of how they integrate brain function by supporting information flow between different cortical regions. The methodology presented here might be clinically relevant in evaluating abnormal attention function.

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this paper is to investigate cortical electric neuronal activity as an indicator of brain function, in a mental arithmetic task that requires sustained attention, as compared to the resting state condition. The two questions of interest are the cortical localization of different oscillatory activities, and the directional effective flow of oscillatory activity between regions of interest, in the task condition compared to resting state. In particular, theta and alpha activity are of interest here, due to their important role in attention processing.
Methods: We adapted mental arithmetic as an attention ask in this study. Eyes closed 61-channel EEG was recorded in 14 participants during resting and in a mental arithmetic task (“serial sevens subtraction”). Functional localization and connectivity analyses were based on cortical signals of electric neuronal activity estimated with sLORETA (standardized low resolution electromagnetic tomography). Functional localization was based on the comparison of the cortical distributions of the generators of oscillatory activity between task and resting conditions. Assessment of effective connectivity was based on the iCoh (isolated effective coherence) method, which provides an appropriate frequency decomposition of the directional flow of oscillatory activity between brain regions. Nine regions of interest comprising nodes from the dorsal and ventral attention networks were selected for the connectivity analysis.
Results: Cortical spectral density distribution comparing task minus rest showed significant activity increase in medial prefrontal areas and decreased activity in left parietal lobe for the theta band, and decreased activity in parietal-occipital regions for the alpha1 band. At a global level, connections among right hemispheric nodes were predominantly decreased during the task condition, while connections among left hemispheric nodes were predominantly increased. At more detailed level, decreased flow from right inferior frontal gyrus to anterior cingulate cortex for theta, and low and high alpha oscillations, and increased feedback (bidirectional flow) between left superior temporal gyrus and left inferior frontal gyrus, were observed during the arithmetic task.
Conclusions: Task related medial prefrontal increase in theta oscillations possibly corresponds to frontal midline theta, while parietal decreased alpha1 activity indicates the active role of this region in the numerical task. Task related decrease of intracortical right hemispheric connectivity support the notion that these nodes need to disengage from one another in order to not interfere with the ongoing numerical processing. The bidirectional feedback between left frontal-temporal-parietal regions in the arithmetic task is very likely to be related to attention network working memory function.
Significance: The methods of analysis and the results presented here will hopefully contribute to clarify the roles of the different EEG oscillations during sustained attention, both in terms of their functional localization and in terms of how they integrate brain function by supporting information flow between different cortical regions. The methodology presented here might be clinically relevant in evaluating abnormal attention function.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > The KEY Institute for Brain-Mind Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2017
Deposited On:08 Dec 2017 15:41
Last Modified:11 Dec 2017 08:20
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2467-981X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cnp.2017.09.002

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