Shortest path based network analysis to characterize cognitive load states of human brain using EEG based functional brain networks
Journal of Integrative Neuroscience
Understanding and analyzing the dynamic interactions among millions of spatially distributed and functionally connected regions in the human brain constituting a massively parallel communication system is one of the major challenges in computational neuroscience. Many studies in the recent past have employed graph theory to efficiently model, quantitatively analyze, and understand the brain's electrical activity. Since, the human brain is believed to broadcast information with reduced material
... h reduced material and metabolic costs, identifying various brain regions in the shortest pathways of information dissemination becomes essential to understand the intricacies of brain function. This paper proposes a graph theoretic approach using the concept of shortest communication paths between various brain regions (electrode sites) to identify the significant communication pathways of information exchange between various nodes in the functional brain networks constructed from multi-channel electroencephalograph data. A special weighted network called the Shortest Path Network is constructed from a functional brain network where the edge weight is computed as the sum of frequency of occurrence of that edge in all possible shortest paths between every pair of electrodes. The weighted Shortest Path Networks thus constructed portray information on the number of times the edges are used in information propagation during different cognitive states. This network is further analyzed by computing the influential communication paths to characterize the information dissemination among brain regions during different cognitive load conditions. The experimental results presented demonstrate the efficacy of this novel graph theoretic approach in identifying, quantifying, and comparing the significant shortest pathways of information exchange during mild and heavy cognitive load conditions. Analysis also suggests that future research should consider the biological inferences of the ability of the human brain to use reduced material and metabolic cost during the instantaneous transmission of information.