Functional networks are short-lived

Functional MRI (fMRI) studies have shown that activity in resting-state networks (RSNs) fluctuates over seconds. To assess functional connectivity with a temporal resolution higher than that of fMRI, Baker et al. used a novel, magnetoencephalography-based approach. This revealed several brain 'states' that were each characterized by a functional network resembling an fMRI-based RSN. Transitions between certain states were more likely to occur than transitions between other states. Importantly, each state remained stable for only 100–200 ms, indicating that functional networks are shorter-lived than suggested by fMRI data.


  1. 1

    Baker, A. P. et al. Fast transient networks in spontaneous human brain activity. eLife (2014)

Download references


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Welberg, L. Functional networks are short-lived. Nat Rev Neurosci 15, 283 (2014).

Download citation


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing