Delay-correlation landscape reveals characteristic time delays of brain rhythms and heart interactions

Aijing Lin, Kang K.L. Liu, Ronny P. Bartsch, Plamen Ch Ivanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Within the framework of 'Network Physiology', we ask a fundamental question of how modulations in cardiac dynamics emerge from networked brain-heart interactions. We propose a generalized time-delay approach to identify and quantify dynamical interactions between physiologically relevant brain rhythms and the heart rate. We perform empirical analysis of synchronized continuous EEG and ECG recordings from 34 healthy subjects during night-time sleep. For each pair of brain rhythm and heart interaction, we construct a delaycorrelation landscape (DCL) that characterizes how individual brain rhythms are coupled to the heart rate, and how modulations in brain and cardiac dynamics are coordinated in time. We uncover characteristic time delays and an ensemble of specific profiles for the probability distribution of time delays that underly brain-heart interactions. These profiles are consistently observed in all subjects, indicating a universal pattern. Tracking the evolution of DCL across different sleep stages, we find that the ensemble of time-delay profiles changes from one physiologic state to another, indicating a strong association with physiologic state and function. The reported observations provide new insights on neurophysiological regulation of cardiac dynamics, with potential for broad clinical applications. The presented approach allows one to simultaneously capture key elements of dynamic interactions, including characteristic time delays and their time evolution, and can be applied to a range of coupled dynamical systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
Issue number2067
StatePublished - 13 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


  • Brain-heart interactions
  • Delay-correlation landscape
  • Network physiology
  • Time-delay analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Delay-correlation landscape reveals characteristic time delays of brain rhythms and heart interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this