Qingbao Yu*, Erik B Erhardt, Jing Sui, Yuhui Du, Hao He, Devon Hjelm, Mustafa S Cetin, Srinivas Rachakonda, Robyn L Miller, Godfrey Pearlson, Vince D Calhoun. Assessing dynamic brain graphs of time-varying connectivity in fMRI data: Application to healthy controls and patients with schizophrenia, NeuroImage, 2015, 107: 345-355.
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Graph theory-based analysis has been widely employed in brain imagingstudies, and altered topological properties of brain connectivity have emerged as important features of mental diseases such as schizophrenia. However, most previous studies have focused on graph metrics of stationary brain graphs, ignoring that brain connectivity exhibits fluctuations over time. Here we develop a new framework for accessing dynamic graph properties of time-varying functional brain connectivityin resting-state fMRI data and apply it to healthy controls (HCs) and patients with schizophrenia (SZs). Specifically, nodes of brain graphs are defined by intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) identified by group independent component analysis (ICA). Dynamic graph metrics of the time-varying brain connectivity estimated by the correlation of sliding time-windowed ICA time courses of ICNs are calculated. First- and second-level connectivity states are detected based on the correlation of nodal connectivity strength between time-varying brain graphs. Our results indicate that SZs show decreased variance in the dynamic graph metrics. Consistent with prior stationary functional brain connectivityworks, graph measures of identified first-level connectivity states show lower values in SZs. In addition, more first-level connectivity states are disassociated with the second-level connectivity state which resembles the stationary connectivity pattern computed by the entire scan. Collectively, the findings provide new evidence about altered dynamic brain graphs in schizophrenia, which may underscore the abnormal brain performance in this mental illness.