Network Analysis of Functional Brain Connectivity Driven by Gamma-Band Auditory Steady-State Response in Auditory Hallucinations
The auditory steady-state response (ASSR) may reflect activity from different regions of the brain. Particularly, it was reported that the gamma-band ASSR plays an important role in working memory, speech understanding, and recognition. Traditionally, the ASSR has been determined by power spectral density analysis, which cannot detect the exact overall distributed properties of the ASSR. Functional network analysis has recently been applied in electroencephalography studies. Previous studies on resting or working state found a small-world organization of the brain network. Some researchers have studied dysfunctional networks caused by diseases. The present study investigates the brain connection networks of schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations during an ASSR task. A directed transfer function is utilized to estimate the brain connectivity patterns. Moreover, the structures of brain networks are analyzed by converting the connectivity matrices into graphs. It is found that for normal subjects, network connections are mainly distributed at the central and frontal–temporal regions. This indicates that the central regions act as transmission hubs of information under ASSR stimulation. For patients, network connections seem unordered. The finding that the path length was larger in patients compared to that in normal subjects under most thresholds provides insight into the structures of connectivity patterns. The results suggest that there are more synchronous oscillations that cover a long distance on the cortex but a less efficient network for patients with auditory hallucinations.