Empirical studies over the past two decades have provided support for the hypothesis that schizophrenia is characterized by altered connectivity patterns in functional brain networks. These alterations have been proposed as genetically mediated diagnostic biomarkers and are thought to underlie altered cognitive functions such as working memory. However, the nature of this dysconnectivity remains far from understood. In this study, we perform an extensive analysis of functional connectivity patterns extracted from MEG data in 14 subjects with schizophrenia and 14 healthy controls during a 2-back working memory task. We investigate uni-, bi- and multivariate properties of sensor time series by computing wavelet entropy of and correlation between time series, and by constructing binary networks of functional connectivity both within and between classical frequency bands (γ, β, α, and θ). Networks are based on the mutual information between wavelet time series, and estimated for each trial window separately, enabling us to consider both network topology and network dynamics. We observed significant decreases in time series entropy and significant increases in functional connectivity in the schizophrenia group in comparison to the healthy controls and identified an inverse relationship between these measures across both subjects and sensors that varied over frequency bands and was more pronounced in controls than in patients. The topological organization of connectivity was altered in schizophrenia specifically in high frequency γ and β band networks as well as in the γ-β cross-frequency networks. Network topology varied over trials to a greater extent in patients than in controls, suggesting disease-associated alterations in dynamic network properties of brain function. Our results identify signatures of aberrant neurophysiological behavior in schizophrenia across uni-, bi- and multivariate scales and lay the groundwork for further clinical studies that might lead to the discovery of new intermediate phenotypes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas