Wavelet methods are widely used to decompose fMRI, EEG, or MEG signals into time series representing neurophysiological activity in fixed frequency bands. Using these time series, one can estimate frequency-band specific functional connectivity between sensors or regions of interest, and thereby construct functional brain networks that can be examined from a graph theoretic perspective. Despite their common use, however, practical guidelines for the choice of wavelet method, filter, and length have remained largely undelineated. Here, we explicitly explore the effects of wavelet method (MODWT vs. DWT), wavelet filter (Daubechies Extremal Phase, Daubechies Least Asymmetric, and Coiflet families), and wavelet length (2 to 24) - each essential parameters in wavelet-based methods - on the estimated values of graph metrics and in their sensitivity to alterations in psychiatric disease. We observe that the MODWT method produces less variable estimates than the DWT method. We also observe that the length of the wavelet filter chosen has a greater impact on the estimated values of graph metrics than the type of wavelet chosen. Furthermore, wavelet length impacts the sensitivity of the method to detect differences between health and disease and tunes classification accuracy. Collectively, our results suggest that the choice of wavelet method and length significantly alters the reliability and sensitivity of these methods in estimating values of metrics drawn from graph theory. They furthermore demonstrate the importance of reporting the choices utilized in neuroimaging studies and support the utility of exploring wavelet parameters to maximize classification accuracy in the development of biomarkers of psychiatric disease and neurological disorders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
ZZ acknowledges support from the US-China Summer Research Program of the University of Pennsylvania. This work was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Army Research Laboratory and the Army Research Office through contract numbers W911NF-10-2-0022 and W911NF-14-1-0679, the National Institute of Mental Health (2-R01-DC-009209-11), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R01HD086888-01), the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation (BCS-1441502, BCS-1430087, and PHY-1554488). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We thank Sarah Feldt Muldoon for helpful comments on an early version of the manuscript.
© 2016 Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.