Localizing Spectral Interactions in the Resting State Network Using the Hilbert–Huang Transform

Ai Ling Hsu, Chia Wei Li, Peng Min Qing, Men Tzung Lo, Chang Wei Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

2 Scopus citations


Brain synchronizations are orchestrated from neuronal oscillations through frequency interactions, such as the alpha rhythm during relaxation. Nevertheless, how the intrinsic interaction forges functional integrity across brain segregations remains elusive, thereby motivating recent studies to localize frequency interactions of resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI). To this point, we aim to unveil the fMRI-based spectral interactions using the time-frequency (TF) analysis; however, Fourier-based TF analyses impose restrictions on revealing frequency interactions given the limited time points in fMRI signals. Instead of using the Fourier-based wavelet analysis to identify the fMRI frequency of interests, we employed the Hilbert–Huang transform (HHT) for probing the specific frequency contribution to the functional integration, called ensemble spectral interaction (ESI). By simulating data with time-variant frequency changes, we demonstrated the Hilbert TF maps with high spectro-temporal resolution and full accessibility in comparison with the wavelet TF maps. By detecting amplitude-to-amplitude frequency couplings (AAC) across brain regions, we elucidated the ESI disparity between the eye-closed (EC) and eye-open (EO) conditions in rs-fMRI. In the visual network, the strength of the spectral interaction within 0.03–0.04 Hz was amplified in EC compared with that in EO condition, whereas a canonical connectivity analysis did not present differences between conditions. Collectively, leveraging from the instantaneous frequency of HHT, we firstly addressed the ESI technique to map the fMRI-based functional connectivity in a brand-new AAC perspective. The ESI possesses potential in elucidating the functional connectivity at specific frequency bins, thereby providing additional diagnostic merits for future clinical neuroscience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 02 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Amplitude-to-amplitude coupling
  • Ensemble spectral interaction
  • Hilbert–Huang transform
  • Resting-state fMRI
  • Time-frequency map
  • Wavelet analysis


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