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Improving the reliability of network metrics in structural brain networks by integrating different network weighting strategies into a single graph

Dimitriadis, Stavros, Drakesmith, Mark ORCID:, Parker, Greg, Bells, Sonya ORCID:, Linden, David ORCID: and Jones, Derek ORCID: 2017. Improving the reliability of network metrics in structural brain networks by integrating different network weighting strategies into a single graph. Frontiers in Neuroscience 11 , 694. 10.3389/fnins.2017.00694

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Structural brain networks estimated from diffusion MRI (dMRI) via tractography have been widely studied in healthy controls and in patients with neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, few studies have addressed the reliability of derived network metrics both node-specific and network-wide. Different network weighting strategies (NWS) can be adopted to weight the strength of connection between two nodes yielding structural brain networks that are almost full-weighted. Here, we scanned 5 healthy participants 5 times each, using a diffusion-weighted MRI protocol and computed edges between 90 regions of interest (ROIs) from the AAL template. The edges were weighted according to nine different methods.We propose a linear combination of these nine NWS into a single graph using an appropriate diffusion distance metric. We refer to the resulting weighted graph as an integrated weighted structural brain network (ISWBN). Additionally, we consider a topological filtering scheme that maximizes the information flow in the brain network under the constraint of the overall cost of the surviving connections. We compared each of the nine NWS and the ISWBN based on the improvement of : a) intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) of well-known network metrics, both node-wise and per network level; and b) the recognition accuracy of each subject over the rest of the cohort, as an attempt to access the uniqueness of the structural brain network for each subject; after first applying our proposed topological filtering scheme. Based on a threshold that the network-level ICC should be > 0.90, our findings revealed six out of nine NWS lead to unreliable results at the network-level, while all nine NWS were unreliable at the node-level. In comparison, our proposed ISWBN performed as well as the best-performing individual NWS at the network-level, and the ICC was higher compared to all individual NWS at the node-level. Importantly, both network- and node-wise ICCs of network metrics derived from the topologically filtered ISBWN(ISWBNTF), were further improved compared to non-filtered ISWBN. Finally, in the recognition accuracy tests, we assigned each single ISWBNTF to the correct subject. Overall, these findings suggest that the proposed methodology results in improved characterisation of genuine between-subject differences in connectivity

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1662-4548
Funders: Medical Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 27 November 2017
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 10:10

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