Information dynamics of brain–heart physiological networks during sleep
New Journal of Physics
This study proposes an integrated approach, framed in the emerging fields of network physiology and information dynamics, for the quantitative analysis of brain-heart interaction networks during sleep. With this approach, the time series of cardiac vagal autonomic activity and brain wave activities measured respectively as the normalized high frequency component of heart rate variability and the EEG power in the δ, θ, α, σ, and β bands, are considered as realizations of the stochastic processes
... describing the dynamics of the heart system and of different brain sub-systems. Entropy-based measures are exploited to quantify the predictive information carried by each (sub)system, and to dissect this information into a part actively stored in the system and a part transferred to it from the other connected systems. The application of this approach to polysomnographic recordings of ten healthy subjects led us to identify a structured network of sleep brain-brain and brain-heart interactions, with the node described by the β EEG power acting as a hub which conveys the largest amount of information flowing between the heart and brain nodes. This network was found to be sustained mostly by the transitions across different sleep stages, as the information transfer was weaker during specific stages than during the whole night, and vanished progressively when moving from light sleep to deep sleep and to REM sleep.