Functional and developmental significance of amplitude variance asymmetry in the BOLD resting state signal.

It is known that the brain's resting state activity (RSA) is organized in low frequency oscillations that drive network connectivity. Recent research has also shown that elements of RSA described by high-frequency and non-oscillatory properties are non-random and functionally relevant. Motivated by this research, we investigated non-oscillatory aspects of the BOLD RSA using a novel method for characterizing subtle fluctuation dynamics. The metric we develop quantifies the relative variance of the amplitude of local maxima and local minima in a BOLD time course (amplitude variance asymmetry; AVA). This metric reveals new properties of RSA activity, without relying on connectivity as a descriptive tool. We applied the AVA analysis to data from 3 different participant groups (2 adults, 1 children) collected in three different centers. The analyses show that AVA patterns (a) identify 3 types of RSA profiles in adults’ sensory systems (b) differ in topology and pattern of dynamics in adults and children, and (c) are stable across MR scanners. Furthermore, children with higher IQ demonstrated more adult-like AVA patterns. These findings indicate that AVA reflects important and novel dimensions of brain development and RSA.