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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Sex Differences in the Complexity of Healthy Older Adults’ Magnetoencephalograms

Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
Laboratorio de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Computacional, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid—Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UPM-UCM), 28223 Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Psicología Experimental, Procesos Cognitivos y Logopedia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28223 Madrid, Spain
Networking Research Center on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), 28029 Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Medicina Legal, Psiquiatría y Patología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2019, 21(8), 798;
Received: 24 June 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy Applications in EEG/MEG)
PDF [1485 KB, uploaded 15 August 2019]


The analysis of resting-state brain activity recording in magnetoencephalograms (MEGs) with new algorithms of symbolic dynamics analysis could help obtain a deeper insight into the functioning of the brain and identify potential differences between males and females. Permutation Lempel-Ziv complexity (PLZC), a recently introduced non-linear signal processing algorithm based on symbolic dynamics, was used to evaluate the complexity of MEG signals in source space. PLZC was estimated in a broad band of frequencies (2–45 Hz), as well as in narrow bands (i.e., theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), low beta (12–20 Hz), high beta (20–30 Hz), and gamma (30–45 Hz)) in a sample of 98 healthy elderly subjects (49 males, 49 female) aged 65–80 (average age of 72.71 ± 4.22 for males and 72.67 ± 4.21 for females). PLZC was significantly higher for females than males in the high beta band at posterior brain regions including the precuneus, and the parietal and occipital cortices. Further statistical analyses showed that higher complexity values over highly overlapping regions than the ones mentioned above were associated with larger hippocampal volumes only in females. These results suggest that sex differences in healthy aging can be identified from the analysis of magnetoencephalograms with novel signal processing methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: permutation Lempel-Ziv complexity; magnetoencephalography; source space; healthy aging; sex differences permutation Lempel-Ziv complexity; magnetoencephalography; source space; healthy aging; sex differences

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Shumbayawonda, E.; Abásolo, D.; López-Sanz, D.; Bruña, R.; Maestu, F.; Fernández, A. Sex Differences in the Complexity of Healthy Older Adults’ Magnetoencephalograms. Entropy 2019, 21, 798.

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