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Dynamics of Functional Network Organization Through Graph Mixture Learning

By Ilaria Ricchi, Anjali Tarun, Hermina Petric Maretic, Pascal Frossard, Dimitri Van De Ville

Posted 26 May 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.25.445303

Understanding the organizational principles of human brain activity at the systems level remains a major challenge in network neuroscience. Here, we introduce a fully data-driven approach based on graph learning to extract meaningful repeating network patterns from regionally-averaged time-courses. We use the Graph Laplacian Mixture Model (GLMM), a generative model that treats functional data as a collection of signals expressed on multiple underlying graphs. By exploiting covariance between activity of brain regions, these graphs can be learned without resorting to structural information. To validate the proposed technique, we first apply it to task fMRI with a known experimental paradigm. The probability of each graph to occur at each time-point is found to be consistent with the task timing, while the spatial patterns associated to each epoch of the task are in line with previously established activation patterns using classical regression analysis. We further on apply the technique to resting state data, which leads to extracted graphs that correspond to well-known brain functional activation patterns. The GLMM allows to learn graphs entirely from the functional activity that, in practice, turn out to reveal high degrees of similarity to the structural connectome. We compared similarity of the default mode network estimated from different task data and comparing them to each other and to structure. Using different metrics, a similar distinction between high- and low-level cognitive tasks arises. Overall, this method allows us to infer relevant functional brain networks without the need of structural connectome information. Moreover, we find that these networks correspond better to structure compared to traditional methods.

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