Neuroinformatics, 11(4), 405–434p. (2013) DOI:10.1007/s12021-013-9186-1

HERMES: Towards an Integrated Toolbox to Characterize Functional and Effective Brain Connectivity

G. Niso, R. Bruña, E. Pereda, R. Gutiérrez, R. Bajo, F. Maestu, F. del-Pozo

The analysis of the interdependence between time series has become an important field of research in the last years, mainly as a result of advances in the characterization of dynamical systems from the signals they produce, the introduction of concepts such as generalized and phase synchronization and the application of information theory to time series analysis. In neurophysiology, different analytical tools stemming from these concepts have added to the 'traditional' set of linear methods, which includes the cross-correlation and the coherency function in the time and frequency domain, respectively, or more elaborated tools such as Granger Causality.

This increase in the number of approaches to tackle the existence of functional (FC) or effective connectivity (EC) between two (or among many) neural networks, along with the mathematical complexity of the corresponding time series analysis tools, makes it desirable to arrange them into a unified-easy-to-use software package. The goal is to allow neuroscientists, neurophysiologists and researchers from related fields to easily access and make use of these analysis methods from a single integrated toolbox.

Here we present HERMES (http://hermes.ctb.upm.es), a toolbox for the Matlab environment (The Mathworks, Inc), which is designed to study functional and effective brain connectivity from neurophysiological data such as multivariate EEG and/or MEG records. It includes also visualization tools and statistical methods to address the problem of multiple comparisons. We believe that this toolbox will be very helpful to all the researchers working in the emerging field of brain connectivity analysis.

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