Age distribution of MEG spontaneous theta activity in healthy subjects

Monica Puligheddu, Jan C de Munck, Cornelis J Stam, Jeroen Verbunt, Arent de Jongh, Bob W van Dijk, Francesco Marrosu

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This study investigates the possible relevance of distribution and age variation of spontaneous theta activity (4-8 Hz) in normal subjects using magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings. Spontaneous theta was recorded with a 151-channel MEG in healthy subjects; moreover, in a group of 10 subjects, simultaneous MEG-EEG was recorded in order to compare the two methods. Theta was divided in two sub-bands: T(A) (4-6 Hz) and T(B) (6-8 Hz). The pre-processed data were transformed into the frequency domain by Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)-based software by subdividing the data in epochs of 5 sec, on which FFT amplitudes are computed. Moreover, on all trials a simple model of a single electric current embedded in a spherically symmetric conductor was fitted automatically to the magnetic fields and projected onto an averaged MRI. The results obtained show that FFT-based theta power spectrum was distributed in adults with the highest power over the posterior parietal and occipital areas with T(B) dominance. The dipole analysis resulted in a mid-sagittal distribution, though the youngest group displayed theta dipoles fitting more posteriorly respect to the adults and the elderly. These results suggest that spontaneous theta activity is a diffuse and pervasive rhythm which shows some different topographical distribution among the age groups. Whether the prevalent posterior distribution of theta is the expression of distinct networks or the outcome of complex dynamics are questions of possible relevance in the organization of higher order processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-75
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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