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Harmonization of resting-state functional MRI data across multiple imaging sites via the separation of site differences into sampling bias and measurement bias

By Ayumu Yamashita, Noriaki Yahata, Takashi Itahashi, Giuseppe Lisi, Takashi Yamada, Naho Ichikawa, Masahiro Takamura, Yujiro Yoshihara, Akira Kunimatsu, Naohiro Okada, Hirotaka Yamagata, Koji Matsuo, Ryuichiro Hashimoto, Go Okada, Yuki Sakai, Jun Morimoto, Jin Narumoto, Yasuhiro Shimada, Kiyoto Kasai, Nobumasa Kato, Hidehiko Takahashi, Yasumasa Okamoto, Saori C Tanaka, Mitsuo Kawato, Okito Yamashita, Hiroshi Imamizu

Posted 11 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/440875 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000042)

When collecting large neuroimaging data associated with psychiatric disorders, images must be acquired from multiple sites because of the limited capacity of a single site. However, site differences represent the greatest barrier when acquiring multi-site neuroimaging data. We utilized a traveling-subject dataset in conjunction with a multi-site, multi-disorder dataset to demonstrate that site differences are composed of biological sampling bias and engineering measurement bias. Effects on resting-state functional MRI connectivity because of both bias types were greater than or equal to those because of psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, our findings indicated that each site can sample only from among a subpopulation of participants. This result suggests that it is essential to collect large neuroimaging data from as many sites as possible to appropriately estimate the distribution of the grand population. Finally, we developed a novel harmonization method that removed only the measurement bias by using traveling-subject dataset and achieved the reduction of the measurement bias by 29% and the improvement of the signal to noise ratios by 40%.

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