Brain dynamics: the temporal variability of connectivity, and differences in schizophrenia and ADHD

Edmund T Rolls, Wei Cheng, Jianfeng Feng
Translational Psychiatry 2021 January 21, 11 (1): 70
We describe advances in the understanding of brain dynamics that are important for understanding the operation of the cerebral cortex in health and disease. In data from 1017 participants from the Human Connectome Project, we show that early visual and connected areas have low temporal variability of their functional connectivity. We show that a low temporal variability of the connectivity of cortical areas is related to high mean functional connectivity between those areas, and provide an account of how these dynamics arise. We then investigate how these concepts help to understand brain dynamics in mental disorders. We find that in both first episode and long-term schizophrenia, reduced functional connectivity of early visual and related temporal cortex areas is associated with increased temporal variability of the functional connectivity, consistent with decreased stability of attractor networks related to sensory processing. In ADHD, we find these functional connectivities are increased and their temporal variability is decreased, and relate this to increased engagement with visual sensory input as manifest in high screen time usage in ADHD. We further show that these differences in the dynamics of the cortex in schizophrenia, and ADHD can be related to differences in the functional connectivity of the specific sensory vs. association thalamic nuclei. These discoveries help to advance our understanding of cortical operation in health, and in some mental disorders.

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