Characterisation of Haemodynamic Activity in Resting State Networks by Fractal Analysis

Camillo Porcaro, Stephen D Mayhew, Marco Marino, Dante Mantini, Andrew P Bagshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intrinsic brain activity is organized into large-scale networks displaying specific structural-functional architecture, known as resting-state networks (RSNs). RSNs reflect complex neurophysiological processes and interactions, and have a central role in distinct sensory and cognitive functions, making it crucial to understand and quantify their anatomical and functional properties. Fractal dimension (FD) provides a parsimonious way of summarizing self-similarity over different spatial and temporal scales but despite its suitability for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal analysis its ability to characterize and investigate RSNs is poorly understood. We used FD in a large sample of healthy participants to differentiate fMRI RSNs and examine how the FD property of RSNs is linked with their functional roles. We identified two clusters of RSNs, one mainly consisting of sensory networks (C1, including auditory, sensorimotor and visual networks) and the other more related to higher cognitive (HCN) functions (C2, including dorsal default mode network and fronto-parietal networks). These clusters were defined in a completely data-driven manner using hierarchical clustering, suggesting that quantification of Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signal complexity with FD is able to characterize meaningful physiological and functional variability. Understanding the mechanisms underlying functional RSNs, and developing tools to study their signal properties, is essential for assessing specific brain alterations and FD could potentially be used for the early detection and treatment of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2050061
JournalInternational Journal of Neural Systems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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