Neurological Sciences

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 773–785 | Cite as

Resting-state brain networks: literature review and clinical applications

  • Cristina RosazzaEmail author
  • Ludovico Minati
Review Article


This review focuses on resting-state functional connectivity, a functional MRI technique which allows the study of spontaneous brain activity generated under resting conditions. This approach is useful to explore the brain’s functional organization and to examine if it is altered in neurological or psychiatric diseases. Resting-state functional connectivity has revealed a number of networks which are consistently found in healthy subjects and represent specific patterns of synchronous activity. In this review, we examine the behavioral, physiological and neurological evidences relevant to this coherent brain activity and, in particular, to each network. The investigation of functional connectivity appears promising from a clinical perspective, considering the amount of evidence regarding the importance of spontaneous activity and that resting-state paradigms are inherently simple to implement. We also discuss some examples of existing clinical applications, such as in Alzheimer’s disease, and emerging possibilities such as in pre-operative mapping and disorders of consciousness.


Functional connectivity Resting state Spontaneous brain activity Coherence Cognitive correlates Clinical applications 



We thank Dr. Maria Grazia Bruzzone and Dr. Davide Sattin for useful advice on the clinical applications and general revisions to the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they do not have any real or perceived conflicts of interest pertaining to the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scientific DepartmentFondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico “Carlo Besta”MilanItaly

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