Functional connectivity of the sensorimotor area in naturally sleeping infants

Wen Ching Liu, Judy F. Flax, Kevin G. Guise, Vishad Sukul, April A. Benasich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Patterns of cortical functional connectivity in normal infants were examined during natural sleep by observing the time course of very low frequency oscillations. Such oscillations represent fluctuations in blood oxygenation level and cortical blood flow thus allowing computation of neurophysiologic connectivity. Structural and resting-state information were acquired for 11 infants, with a mean age of 12.8 months, using a GE 1.5 T MR scanner. Resting-state data were processed and significant functional connectivity within the sensorimotor area was identified using independent component analysis. Unilateral functional connectivity in the developing sensory-motor cortices was observed. Power spectral analysis showed that slow frequency oscillations dominated the hemodynamic signal at this age, with, on average, a peak frequency for all subjects of 0.02 Hz. Our data suggest that there is more intrahemispheric than interhemispheric connectivity in the sensorimotor area of naturally sleeping infants. This non-invasive imaging technique, developed to allow reliable scanning of normal infants without sedation, enabled computation of neurophysiologic connectivity for the first time in naturally sleeping infants. Such techniques permit elucidation of the role of slow cortical oscillations during early brain development and may reveal critical information regarding the normative development and lateralization of brain networks across time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Aug 5 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Functional connectivity
  • Infant
  • Sleep
  • fMRI


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