DataSheet1.pdf

Graph theory is a useful tool for deciphering structural and functional networks of the brain on various spatial and temporal scales. The clustering coefficient quantifies the abundance of connected triangles in a network and is a major descriptive statistics of networks. For example, it finds an application in the assessment of small-worldness of brain networks, which is affected by attentional and cognitive conditions, age, psychiatric disorders and so forth. However, it remains unclear how the clustering coefficient should be measured in a correlation-based network, which is among major representations of brain networks. In the present article, we propose clustering coefficients tailored to correlation matrices. The key idea is to use three-way partial correlation or partial mutual information to measure the strength of the association between the two neighboring nodes of a focal node relative to the amount of pseudo-correlation expected from indirect paths between the nodes. Our method avoids the difficulties of previous applications of clustering coefficient (and other) measures in defining correlational networks, i.e., thresholding on the correlation value, discarding of negative correlation values, the pseudo-correlation problem and full partial correlation matrices whose estimation is computationally difficult. For proof of concept, we apply the proposed clustering coefficient measures to functional magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from healthy participants of various ages and compare them with conventional clustering coefficients. We show that the clustering coefficients decline with the age. The proposed clustering coefficients are more strongly correlated with age than the conventional ones are. We also show that the local variants of the proposed clustering coefficients (i.e., abundance of triangles around a focal node) are useful in characterizing individual nodes. In contrast, the conventional local clustering coefficients were strongly correlated with and therefore may be confounded by the node's connectivity. The proposed methods are expected to help us to understand clustering and lack thereof in correlational brain networks, such as those derived from functional time series and across-participant correlation in neuroanatomical properties.