Clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging based functional and structural connectivity

Chengyuan Wu, Francisca Ferreira, Michael Fox, Noam Harel, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Andreas Horn, Saad Jbabdi, Joshua Kahan, Ashwini Oswal, Sameer A. Sheth, Yanmei Tie, Vejay Vakharia, Ludvic Zrinzo, Harith Akram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Advances in computational neuroimaging techniques have expanded the armamentarium of imaging tools available for clinical applications in clinical neuroscience. Non-invasive, in vivo brain MRI structural and functional network mapping has been used to identify therapeutic targets, define eloquent brain regions to preserve, and gain insight into pathological processes and treatments as well as prognostic biomarkers. These tools have the real potential to inform patient-specific treatment strategies. Nevertheless, a realistic appraisal of clinical utility is needed that balances the growing excitement and interest in the field with important limitations associated with these techniques. Quality of the raw data, minutiae of the processing methodology, and the statistical models applied can all impact on the results and their interpretation. A lack of standardization in data acquisition and processing has also resulted in issues with reproducibility. This limitation has had a direct impact on the reliability of these tools and ultimately, confidence in their clinical use. Advances in MRI technology and computational power as well as automation and standardization of processing methods, including machine learning approaches, may help address some of these issues and make these tools more reliable in clinical use. In this review, we will highlight the current clinical uses of MRI connectomics in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders; balancing emerging applications and technologies with limitations of connectivity analytic approaches to present an encompassing and appropriate perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118649
Early online dateOct 11 2021
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MDF was supported by research grants from the Nancy Lurie Marks Foundation and the NIH ( R01 MH113929 , MH115949 , AG060987). JHG was supported by the National Institutes of Health ( 1KL2TR001444 , R01 CA238783-01 ). AH was supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Emmy Noether Stipend 410169619 and 424778381 – TRR 295 ) as well as Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DynaSti grant within the EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research, JPND). YT was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R21NS075728 and R21CA198740 . SS was supported by the McNair Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Clinical applications
  • Connectome
  • Connectomics
  • Functional connectivity
  • Structural connectivity
  • Tractography


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