Function-specific and Enhanced Brain Structural Connectivity Mapping via Joint Modeling of Diffusion and Functional MRI

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Abstract

A joint structural-functional brain network model is presented, which enables the discovery of function-specific brain circuits, and recovers structural connections that are under-estimated by diffusion MRI (dMRI). Incorporating information from functional MRI (fMRI) into diffusion MRI to estimate brain circuits is a challenging task. Usually, seed regions for tractography are selected from fMRI activation maps to extract the white matter pathways of interest. The proposed method jointly analyzes whole brain dMRI and fMRI data, allowing the estimation of complete function-specific structural networks instead of interactively investigating the connectivity of individual cortical/sub-cortical areas. Additionally, tractography techniques are prone to limitations, which can result in erroneous pathways. The proposed framework explicitly models the interactions between structural and functional connectivity measures thereby improving anatomical circuit estimation. Results on Human Connectome Project (HCP) data demonstrate the benefits of the approach by successfully identifying function-specific anatomical circuits, such as the language and resting-state networks. In contrast to correlation-based or independent component analysis (ICA) functional connectivity mapping, detailed anatomical connectivity patterns are revealed for each functional module. Results on a phantom (Fibercup) also indicate improvements in structural connectivity mapping by rejecting false-positive connections with insufficient support from fMRI, and enhancing under-estimated connectivity with strong functional correlation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4741
JournalScientific reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

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