Cognition in MS correlates with resting-state oscillatory brain activity: An explorative MEG source-space study

M.L. van der Meer*, P. Tewarie, M.M. Schoonheim, L. Douw, F. Barkhof, C.H. Polman, C.J. Stam, A. Hillebrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Clinical and cognitive dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is insufficiently explained by structural damage as identified by traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, indicating the need for reliable functional measures in MS. We investigated whether altered resting-state oscillatory power could be related to clinical and cognitive dysfunction in MS. MEG recordings were acquired using a 151-channel whole-head MEG system from 21 relapsing remitting MS patients and 17 healthy age-, gender-, and education-matched controls, using an eyes-closed no-task condition. Relative spectral power was estimated for 78 regions of interest, using an atlas-based beamforming approach, for classical frequency bands; delta, theta, alpha1, alpha2, beta and gamma. These cortical power estimates were compared between groups by means of permutation analysis and correlated with clinical disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale: EDSS), cognitive performance and MRI measures of atrophy and lesion load. Patients showed increased power in the alpha1 band and decreased power in the alpha2 band, compared to controls, mainly in occipital, parietal and temporal areas, confirmed by a lower alpha peak-frequency. Increased power in the alpha1 band was associated with worse overall cognition and especially with information processing speed. Our quantitative relative power analysis of MEG recordings showed abnormalities in oscillatory brain dynamics in MS patients in the alpha band. By applying source-space analyses, this study provides a detailed topographical view of abnormal brain activity in MS patients, especially localized to occipital areas. Interestingly, poor cognitive performance was related to high resting-state alpha1 power indicating that changes in oscillatory activity might be of value as an objective measure of disease burden in MS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-734
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlas
  • Beamforming
  • Cognition
  • Expanded Disability Status Scale
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Oscillatory activity
  • Resting-state MEG


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