Respiratory, cardiac, EEG, BOLD signals and functional connectivity over multiple microsleep episodes

Chun Siong Soon, Ksenia Vinogradova, Ju Lynn Ong, Vince D Calhoun, Thomas Liu, Zhou Juan Helen, Kwun Kei Ng, Michael W L Chee
2021 NeuroImage  
Falling asleep is common in fMRI studies. By using long eyelid closures to detect microsleep onset, we showed that the onset and termination of short sleep episodes invokes a systematic sequence of BOLD signal changes that are large, widespread, and consistent across different microsleep durations. The signal changes are intimately intertwined with shifts in respiration and heart rate, indicating that autonomic contributions are integral to the brain physiology evaluated using fMRI and cannot
more » ... simply treated as nuisance signals. Additionally, resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) was altered in accord with the frequency of falling asleep and in a manner that global signal regression does not eliminate. Our findings point to the need to develop a consensus among neuroscientists using fMRI on how to deal with microsleep intrusions. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: : Sleep, breathing and cardiac action are influenced by common brainstem nuclei. We show that falling asleep and awakening are associated with a sequence of BOLD signal changes that are large, widespread and consistent across varied durations of sleep onset and awakening. These signal changes follow closely those associated with deceleration and acceleration of respiration and heart rate, calling into question the separation of the latter signals as 'noise' when the frequency of falling asleep, which is commonplace in RSFC studies, correlates with the extent of RSFC perturbation. Autonomic and central nervous system contributions to BOLD signal have to be jointly considered when interpreting fMRI and RSFC studies.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118129 pmid:33951513 fatcat:fdi6rgm4ljhwbc2yrqncnathyq