EEG microstates temporal dynamics differentiate individuals with mood and anxiety disorders from healthy subjects

Tulsa 1000 Investigators

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11 Scopus citations


Electroencephalography (EEG) measures the brain’s electrophysiological spatio-temporal activities with high temporal resolution. Multichannel and broadband analysis of EEG signals is referred to as EEG microstates (EEG-ms) and can characterize such dynamic neuronal activity. EEG-ms have gained much attention due to the increasing evidence of their association with mental activities and large-scale brain networks identified by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Spatially independent EEG-ms are quasi-stationary topographies (e.g., stable, lasting a few dozen milliseconds) typically classified into four canonical classes (microstates A through D). They can be identified by clustering EEG signals around EEG global field power (GFP) maxima points. We examined the EEG-ms properties and the dynamics of cohorts of mood and anxiety (MA) disorders subjects (n = 61) and healthy controls (HCs; n = 52). In both groups, we found four distinct classes of EEG-ms (A through D), which did not differ among cohorts. This suggests a lack of significant structural cortical abnormalities among cohorts, which would otherwise affect the EEG-ms topographies. However, both cohorts’ brain network dynamics significantly varied, as reflected in EEG-ms properties. Compared to HC, the MA cohort features a lower transition probability between EEG-ms B and D and higher transition probability from A to D and from B to C, with a trend towards significance in the average duration of microstate C. Furthermore, we harnessed a recently introduced theoretical approach to analyze the temporal dependencies in EEG-ms. The results revealed that the transition matrices of MA group exhibit higher symmetrical and stationarity properties as compared to HC ones. In addition, we found an elevation in the temporal dependencies among microstates, especially in microstate B for the MA group. The determined alteration in EEG-ms temporal dependencies among the cohorts suggests that brain abnormalities in mood and anxiety disorders reflect aberrant neural dynamics and a temporal dwelling among ceratin brain states (i.e., mood and anxiety disorders subjects have a less dynamicity in switching between different brain states).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the William K. Warren Foundation, and by National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health Award 1P20GM121312.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Al Zoubi, Mayeli, Tsuchiyagaito, Misaki, Zotev, Refai, Paulus, Bodurka and the Tulsa 1000 Investigators.


  • Brain
  • EEG microstate
  • Mood and anxiety disorders
  • Temporal dynamic
  • Transition probabilites


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