Does function follow form? Methods to fuse structural and functional brain images show decreased linkage in schizophrenia

Andrew M. Michael, Stefi A. Baum, Tonya White, Oguz Demirci, Nancy C. Andreasen, Judith M. Segall, Rex E. Jung, Godfrey Pearlson, Vince P. Clark, Randy L. Gollub, S. Charles Schulz, Joshua L. Roffman, Kelvin O. Lim, Beng Choon Ho, H. Jeremy Bockholt, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


When both structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and functional MRI (fMRI) data are collected they are typically analyzed separately and the joint information is not examined. Techniques that examine joint information can help to find hidden traits in complex disorders such as schizophrenia. The brain is vastly interconnected, and local brain morphology may influence functional activity at distant regions. In this paper we introduce three methods to identify inter-correlations among sMRI and fMRI voxels within the whole brain. We apply these methods to examine sMRI gray matter data and fMRI data derived from an auditory sensorimotor task from a large study of schizophrenia. In Method 1 the sMRI-fMRI cross-correlation matrix is reduced to a histogram and results show that healthy controls (HC) have stronger correlations than do patients with schizophrenia (SZ). In Method 2 the spatial information of sMRI-fMRI correlations is retained. Structural regions in the cerebellum and frontal regions show more positive and more negative correlations, respectively, with functional regions in HC than in SZ. In Method 3 significant sMRI-fMRI inter-regional links are detected, with regions in the cerebellum showing more significant positive correlations with functional regions in HC relative to SZ. Results from all three methods indicate that the linkage between gray matter and functional activation is stronger in HC than SZ. The methods introduced can be easily extended to comprehensively correlate large data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2626-2637
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data collection was funded by the Department of Energy, grant DE-FG02-99ER62764. The authors would like to thank the University of Iowa Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Minnesota and the Mind Research Network staff for their efforts during data collection, preprocessing and analysis. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health under grants 1 R01 EB 006841 and 1 R01 EB 005846.


  • Cross-correlation
  • Data fusion
  • Functional MRI
  • Linkage
  • Schizophrenia
  • Structural MRI


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