The hemodynamic response of the alpha rhythm: An EEG/fMRI study

J. C. de Munck*, S. I. Gonçalves, L. Huijboom, J. P.A. Kuijer, P. J.W. Pouwels, R. M. Heethaar, F. H. Lopes da Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


EEG was recorded during fMRI scanning of 16 normal controls in resting condition with eyes closed. Time variations of the occipital alpha band amplitudes were correlated to the fMRI signal variations to obtain insight into the hemodynamic correlates of the EEG alpha activity. Contrary to earlier studies, no a priori assumptions were made on the expected shape of the alpha band response function (ARF). The ARF of different brain regions and subjects were explored and compared. It was found that: (1) the ARF of the thalamus is mainly positive. (2) The ARFs at the occipital and left and right parietal points are similar in amplitude and timing. (3) The peak time of the thalamus is a few seconds earlier than that of occipital and parietal cortex. (4) No systematic BOLD activity was found preceding the alpha band activity, although in the two subjects with the strongest alpha band power such correlation was present. (5) There is a strong and immediate positive correlation at the eyeball, and a strong negative correlation at the back of the eye. Furthermore, it was found that in one subject the cortical ARF was positive, contrary to the other subjects. Finally, a cluster analysis of the observed ARF, in combination with a Modulated Sine Model (MSM) fit to the estimated ARF, revealed that within the cortex the ARF peak time shows a spatial pattern that may be interpreted as a traveling wave. The spatial pattern of alpha band response function represents the combined effect of local differences in electrical alpha band activity and local differences in the hemodynamic response function (HRF) onto these electrical activities. To disentangle the contributions of both factors, more advanced integration of EEG inverse modeling and hemodynamic response modeling is required in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1142-1151
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2007

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