Fronto-occipital EEG power gradients in human sleep
The brain topography of power spectra along the antero-posterior (A-P) axis was studied in the all-night human sleep EEG. Spectra (0.25–25.0 Hz) were computed for an anterior (A; F3-C3), a middle (M; C3-P3) and a posterior (P; P3-O1) bipolar derivation, and the spectral gradients between two adjacent derivations were expressed by power ratios (A/M and M/P). At NREM-REM sleep transitions a power shift from A to M was present over almost the entire frequency range, while the direction of shifts between M and P differed between frequency bands. Within NREM sleep, frequency specific power gradients were present: In the low delta band power in both A (0.25 Hz bin) and P (0.25–1.0 Hz bins) was higher than in M. In the 4–9 Hz range the relation was A>M>P, and in the 15–25 Hz range power was largest in M. Power in the spindle frequency range was highest at 11.75 Hz in M, and at 13.5–13.75 Hz in A. Topographical differences were seen also in the temporal changes of power across and within NREM sleep episodes. Whereas NREM sleep power in the 2-Hz bin was higher in A than in M in the first episode, this difference vanished in the course of the night. This result points to a specific involvement of frontal parts of the cortex in sleep homeostasis. The regional differences in sleep EEG spectra indicate that sleep is not only a global phenomenon but also a local brain process with a different regional involvement of neuronal populations.
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