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posted on 19.04.2022, 12:30 authored by Robyn L. Miller, Victor M. Vergara, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Vince D. Calhoun

The study of brain network connectivity as a time-varying property began relatively recently and, to date, has remained primarily concerned with capturing a handful of discrete static states that characterize connectivity as measured on a timescale shorter than that of the full scan. Capturing group-level representations of temporally evolving patterns of connectivity is a challenging and important next step in fully leveraging the information available in large resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) studies. We introduce a flexible, extensible data-driven framework for the stable identification of group-level multiframe (movie-style) dynamic functional network connectivity (dFNC) states. Our approach employs uniform manifold approximation and embedding (UMAP) to produce a continuity-preserving planar embedding of high-dimensional time-varying measurements of whole-brain functional network connectivity. Planar linear exemplars summarizing dominant dynamic trends across the population are computed from local linear approximations to the two-dimensional 2D embedded trajectories. A high-dimensional representation of each 2D exemplar segment is obtained by averaging the dFNC observations corresponding to the n planar nearest neighbors of τ evenly spaced points along the 2D line segment representation (where n is the UMAP number-of-neighbors parameter and τ is the temporal duration of trajectory segments being approximated). Each of the 2D exemplars thus “lifts” to a multiframe high-dimensional dFNC trajectory of length τ. The collection of high-dimensional temporally evolving dFNC representations (EVOdFNCs) derived in this manner are employed as dynamic basis objects with which to characterize observed high-dimensional dFNC trajectories, which are then expressed as weighted combination of these basis objects. Our approach yields new insights into anomalous patterns of fluidly varying whole-brain connectivity that are significantly associated with schizophrenia as a broad diagnosis as well as with certain symptoms of this serious disorder. Importantly, we show that relative to conventional hidden Markov modeling with single-frame unvarying dFNC summary states, EVOdFNCs are more sensitive to positive symptoms of schizophrenia including hallucinations and delusions, suggesting that a more dynamic characterization is needed to help illuminate such a complex brain disorder.

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