Correlations of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) signals are being widely used for assessing the functional brain connectivity in health and disease. However, an association was recently observed between rsfMRI connectivity modulations and the head motion parameters and regarded as a causal relationship, which has raised serious concerns about the validity of many rsfMRI findings. Here, we studied the origin of this rsfMRI-motion association and its relationship to arousal modulations. By using a template-matching method to locate arousal-related fMRI changes, we showed that the effects of high motion time points on rsfMRI connectivity are largely due to their significant overlap with arousal-affected time points. The finding suggests that the association between rsfMRI connectivity and the head motion parameters arises from their comodulations at transient arousal modulations, and this information is critical not only for proper interpretation of motion-associated rsfMRI connectivity changes, but also for controlling the potential confounding effects of arousal modulation on rsfMRI metrics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience