Characterisation of Haemodynamic Activity in Resting State Networks by Fractal Analysis

Camillo Porcaro*, Stephen D. Mayhew, Marco Marino, Dante Mantini, Andrew P. Bagshaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intrinsic brain activity is organized into large-scale networks displaying specific structural-functional architecture, known as resting-state networks (RSNs). RSNs reflect complex neurophysiological processes and interactions, and have a central role in distinct sensory and cognitive functions, making it crucial to understand and quantify their anatomical and functional properties. Fractal dimension (FD) provides a parsimonious way of summarizing self-similarity over different spatialand temporal scales but despite its suitability for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal analysis its ability to characterize and investigate RSNs is poorly understood. We used FD in a large sample of healthy participants to differentiate fMRI RSNs and examine how the FD property of RSNs is linked with their functional roles. We identified two clusters of RSNs, one mainly consisting of sensory networks (C1, including auditory, sensorimotor and visual networks) and the other more related to higher cognitive (HCN) functions (C2, including dorsal default mode network and fronto-parietal networks). These clusters were defined in a completely data-driven manner using hierarchical clustering, suggesting that quantification of Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signal complexity with FD is able to characterize meaningful physiological and functional variability. Understanding the mechanisms underlying functional RSNs, and developing tools to study their signal properties, is essential for assessing specific brain alterations and FD could potentially be used for the early detection and treatment of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2050061
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Neural Systems
Issue number12
Early online date9 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article published by World Scientific Publishing Company. It is distributed under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) License which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited.


  • fractal analysis (FA)
  • fractal dimension (FD)
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Group ICA Of fMRI Toolbox (GIFT)
  • independent component analysis (ICA)
  • resting state networks (RSNs)


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