NetDI: Methodology Elucidating the Role of Power and Dynamical Brain Network Features That Underpin Word Production
Yellapantula, Sudha; Forseth, Kiefer; Tandon, Nitin; Aazhang, Behnaam
Canonical language models describe eloquent function as the product of a series of cognitive processes, typically characterized by the independent activation profiles of focal brain regions. In contrast, more recent work has suggested that the interactions between these regions, the cortical networks of language, are critical for understanding speech production. We investigated the cortical basis of picture naming (PN) with human intracranial electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings and direct cortical stimulation (DCS), adjudicating between two competing hypotheses: are task-specific cognitive functions discretely computed within well-localized brain regions or rather by distributed networks? The time resolution of ECoG allows direct comparison of intraregional activation measures [high gamma (hγ) power] with graph theoretic measures of interregional dynamics. We developed an analysis framework, network dynamics using directed information (NetDI), using information and graph theoretic tools to reveal spatiotemporal dynamics at multiple scales: coarse, intermediate, and fine. Our analysis found novel relationships between the power profiles and network measures during the task. Furthermore, validation using DCS indicates that such network parameters combined with hγ power are more predictive than hγ power alone, for identifying critical language regions in the brain. NetDI reveals a high-dimensional space of network dynamics supporting cortical language function, and to account for disruptions to language function observed after neurosurgical resection, traumatic injury, and degenerative disease.