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Mental health explains individual deviations from normative range in cognition-associated brain states

By Wei Zhang, Diego Vidaurre, Janine Diane Bijsterbosch

Posted 12 Mar 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.12.435017

Links between cognitive deficits and psychiatric disorders have been studied predominantly at the group level, leaving unique individual characteristics largely elusive. Here, we applied normative modeling to UK Biobank data (N=18,634) and estimated the individual-level interplay of large-scale brain networks over time (i.e., dynamic brain state) as a function of general cognitive ability. Abnormality in such brain states was linked to individual variation in mental health. Specifically, brain state measures including fractional occupancy that indicates the brain state probability over time were estimated using a Hidden Markov Model, followed by a Gaussian process regression to estimate the normative range of these brain state measures from general cognitive ability. Abnormality scores per participant were quantified to represent the degree of deviations relative to the estimated population norm. We found significant associations between the abnormality scores of several brain states and individuals overall mental health. Our findings suggest potential impact of mental health on dynamic brain states that subserve cognitive functions and shed light on the relevant brain mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits in mental illness.

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