The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Study of Cortical Rhythmic Activity and Connectivity with Magnetoencephalography

Jan Kujala

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU2 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 24th of April, 2008, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-9340-7)   [3897 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-9339-1)


Intracranial recordings in animals and neuroimaging studies on humans have indicated that oscillatory activity and its modulations may play a fundamental role in large-scale neural information processing. Furthermore, rhythmic interactions between cortical areas have been detected across a variety of tasks with electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). This kind of coupling has been proposed to be a key mechanism through which information is integrated across segregated areas. So far, rhythmic interactions have been analyzed primarily at the EEG/MEG sensor level, without explicit knowledge of cortical areas involved.

In this thesis work we developed new methods that can be used to image oscillatory activity and coherence at the cortical level with MEG. Dynamic Imaging of Coherent Sources (DICS) enables localization of interacting areas both using external reference signals and directly from the MEG data. When the interacting areas have been determined it is possible to use additional measures beyond coherence to further quantify interactions within the networks. DICS was originally designed for study of continuous data; its further development into event-related DICS (erDICS) adds the possibility to image modulations of rhythmic activity that are locked to stimulus or movement timing. Furthermore, permutation testing incorporated into erDICS allows the evaluation of the statistical significance of the results. Analysis of simulated and real data showed that DICS and erDICS yield accurate localization and quantification of oscillatory activity and coherence. Comparison of DICS to other methods of localizing oscillatory activity revealed that it is equally accurate and that it can better separate the activity originating from two nearby areas.

We applied DICS to two datasets, recorded from groups of subjects while they performed slow finger movements and when they were reading continuously. In both cases, we were able to systematically identify interacting cortico-cortical networks and, using phase coupling and causality measures, to quantify the manner in which the nodes within these networks influenced each other. Furthermore, we compared the identified reading network to results reported in neurophysiological and hemodynamic activation studies. In addition to areas typically detected in activation studies of reading the network included areas that are normally found in language production rather than perception tasks, indicating more extensive networking of neural systems than usually observed in activation studies.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 8 publications:

  1. Gross J, Kujala J, Hämäläinen M, Timmermann L, Schnitzler A, Salmelin R. Dynamic imaging of coherent sources: Studying neural interactions in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 2001; 98: 694-699.
  2. Gross J, Timmermann L, Kujala J, Dirks M, Schmitz F, Salmelin R, Schnitzler A. The neural basis of intermittent motor control in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 2002; 99: 2299-2302.
  3. Gross J, Timmermann L, Kujala J, Salmelin R, Schnitzler A. Properties of MEG tomographic maps obtained with spatial filtering. NeuroImage 2003; 19: 1329-1336.
  4. Liljeström M, Kujala J, Jensen O, Salmelin R. Neuromagnetic localization of rhythmic activity in the human brain: a comparison of three methods. NeuroImage 2005; 25: 734-745.
  5. Kujala J, Pammer K, Cornelissen PL, Roebroeck A, Formisano E, Salmelin R. Phase coupling in a cerebro-cerebellar network at 8-13 Hz during reading. Cerebral Cortex 2007; 17: 1476-1485.
  6. Salmelin R, Kujala J. Neural representation of language: activation versus long-range connectivity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2006; 10: 519-525.
  7. Kujala J, Gross J, Salmelin R. Localization of correlated network activity at the cortical level with MEG. NeuroImage 2008; 39: 1706-1720.
  8. Laaksonen H, Kujala J, Salmelin R. A method for spatiotemporal mapping of event-related modulation of cortical rhythmic activity. Helsinki University of Technology, Low Temperature Laboratory publications, Report TKK-KYL-019, 2008.

Keywords: magnetoencephalography, beamforming, rhythmic activity, cortical interactions, coherence

This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

© 2008 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26