Functional connectivity in preterm infants derived from EEG coherence analysis

E. J. Meijer, K. H. M. Hermans, A. Zwanenburg, W. Jennekens, H. J. Niemarkt, P. J. M. Cluitmans, C. van Pul, P. F. F. Wijn, P. Andriessen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To quantify the neuronal connectivity in preterm infants between homologous channels of both hemispheres. Methods: EEG coherence analysis was performed on serial EEG recordings collected from preterm infants with normal neurological follow-up. The coherence spectrum was divided in frequency bands: delta(newborn)(0-2 Hz), theta(newborn)(2-6 Hz), alpha(newborn)(6-13 Hz), beta(newborn)(13-30 Hz). Coherence values were evaluated as a function of gestational age (GA) and postnatal maturation. Results: All spectra show two clear peaks in the delta(newborn) and theta(newborn)-band, corresponding to the delta and theta EEG waves observed in preterm infants. In the delta(newborn)-band the peak magnitude coherence decreases with GA and postnatal maturation for all channels. In the theta(newborn)-band, the peak magnitude coherence decreases with GA for all channels, but increases with postnatal maturation for the frontal polar channels. In the beta(newborn)-band a modest magnitude coherence peak was observed in the occipital channels, which decreases with GA. Conclusions: Interhemispherical connectivity develops analogously with electrocortical maturation: signal intensities at low frequencies decrease with GA and postnatal maturation, but increase at high frequencies with postnatal maturation. In addition, peak magnitude coherence is a clear trend indicator for brain maturation. Significance: Coherence analysis can aid in the clinical assessment of the functional connectivity of the infant brain with maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-789
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Preterm infant
  • EEG
  • Coherence
  • Maturation
  • Computer-assisted signal processing

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