Using structural connectivity to augment community structure in EEG functional connectivity.
ABSTRACT: Recently, EEG recording techniques and source analysis have improved, making it feasible to tap into fast network dynamics. Yet, analyzing whole-cortex EEG signals in source space is not standard, partly because EEG suffers from volume conduction: Functional connectivity (FC) reflecting genuine functional relationships is impossible to disentangle from spurious FC introduced by volume conduction. Here, we investigate the relationship between white matter structural connectivity (SC) and large-scale network structure encoded in EEG-FC. We start by confirming that FC (power envelope correlations) is predicted by SC beyond the impact of Euclidean distance, in line with the assumption that SC mediates genuine FC. We then use information from white matter structural connectivity in order to smooth the EEG signal in the space spanned by graphs derived from SC. Thereby, FC between nearby, structurally connected brain regions increases while FC between nonconnected regions remains unchanged, resulting in an increase in genuine, SC-mediated FC. We analyze the induced changes in FC, assessing the resemblance between EEG-FC and volume-conduction- free fMRI-FC, and find that smoothing increases resemblance in terms of overall correlation and community structure. This result suggests that our method boosts genuine FC, an outcome that is of interest for many EEG network neuroscience questions.
Project description:Structural and functional connectivity (SC and FC) have received much attention over the last decade, as they offer unique insight into the coordination of brain functioning. They are often assessed independently with three imaging modalities: SC using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), FC using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and magnetoencephalography/electroencephalography (MEG/EEG). DWI provides information about white matter organization, allowing the reconstruction of fiber bundles. fMRI uses blood-oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast to indirectly map neuronal activation. MEG and EEG are direct measures of neuronal activity, as they are sensitive to the synchronous inputs in pyramidal neurons. Seminal studies have targeted either the electrophysiological substrate of BOLD or the anatomical basis of FC. However, multimodal comparisons have been scarcely performed, and the relation between SC, fMRI-FC, and MEG-FC is still unclear. Here we present a systematic comparison of SC, resting state fMRI-FC, and MEG-FC between cortical regions, by evaluating their similarities at three different scales: global network, node, and hub distribution. We obtained strong similarities between the three modalities, especially for the following pairwise combinations: SC and fMRI-FC; SC and MEG-FC at theta, alpha, beta and gamma bands; and fMRI-FC and MEG-FC in alpha and beta. Furthermore, highest node similarity was found for regions of the default mode network and primary motor cortex, which also presented the highest hubness score. Distance was partially responsible for these similarities since it biased all three connectivity estimates, but not the unique contributor, since similarities remained after controlling for distance.
Project description:EEG can be used to characterise functional networks using a variety of connectivity (FC) metrics. Unlike EEG source reconstruction, scalp analysis does not allow to make inferences about interacting regions, yet this latter approach has not been abandoned. Although the two approaches use different assumptions, conclusions drawn regarding the topology of the underlying networks should, ideally, not depend on the approach. The aim of the present work was to find an answer to the following questions: does scalp analysis provide a correct estimate of the network topology? how big are the distortions when using various pipelines in different experimental conditions? EEG recordings were analysed with amplitude- and phase-based metrics, founding a strong correlation for the global connectivity between scalp- and source-level. In contrast, network topology was only weakly correlated. The strongest correlations were obtained for MST leaf fraction, but only for FC metrics that limit the effects of volume conduction/signal leakage. These findings suggest that these effects alter the estimated EEG network organization, limiting the interpretation of results of scalp analysis. Finally, this study also suggests that the use of metrics that address the problem of zero lag correlations may give more reliable estimates of the underlying network topology.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Little is known about the interactions between the default mode network (DMN) subregions in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). This study used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) to examine alterations of long white matter tracts in paired DMN subregions and their functional connectivity in RRMS patients. METHODS: Twenty-four RRMS patients and 24 healthy subjects participated in this study. The fiber connections derived from DTI tractography and the temporal correlation coefficient derived from rs-fMRI were combined to examine the inter-subregion structural-functional connectivity (SC-FC) within the DMN and its correlations with clinical markers. RESULTS: Compared with healthy subjects, the RRMS patients showed the following: 1) significantly decreased SC and increased FC in the pair-wise subregions; 2) two significant correlations in SC-FC coupling patterns, including the positive correlation between slightly increased FC value and long white matter tract damage in the PCC/PCUN-MPFC connection, and the negative correlations between significantly increased FC values and long white matter tract damage in the PCC/PCUN-bilateral mTL connections; 3) SC alterations [log(N track) of the PCC/PCUN-left IPL, RD value of the MPFC-left IPL, FA value of the PCC/PCUN-left mTL connections] correlated with EDSS, increases in the RD value of MPFC-left IPL connection was positively correlated to the MFIS; and decreases in the FA value of PCC/PCUN-right IPL connection was negatively correlated with the PASAT; 4) decreased SC (FA value of the MPFC-left IPL, track volume of the PCC/PCUN-MPFC, and log(N track) of PCC/PCUN-left mTL connections) was positively correlated with brain atrophy. CONCLUSIONS: In the connections of paired DMN subregions, we observed decreased SC and increased FC in RRMS patients. The relationship between MS-related structural abnormalities and clinical markers suggests that the disruption of this long-distance "inter-subregion" connectivity (white matter) may significantly impact the integrity of the network's function.
Project description:Several studies have suggested that functional connectivity (FC) is constrained by the underlying structural connectivity (SC) and mutually correlated. However, not many studies have focused on differences in the network organization of SC and FC, and on how these differences may inform us about their mutual interaction. To explore this issue, we adopt a multi-layer framework, with SC and FC, constructed using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data from the Human Connectome Project, forming a two-layer multiplex network. In particular, we examine node strength assortativity within and between the SC and FC layer. We find that, in general, SC is organized assortatively, indicating brain regions are on average connected to other brain regions with similar node strengths. On the other hand, FC shows disassortative mixing. This discrepancy is apparent also among individual resting-state networks within SC and FC. In addition, these patterns show lateralization, with disassortative mixing within FC subnetworks mainly driven from the left hemisphere. We discuss our findings in the context of robustness to structural failure, and we suggest that discordant and lateralized patterns of associativity in SC and FC may provide clues to understand laterality of some neurological dysfunctions and recovery.
Project description:The relationship between the structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) of neural systems is a central focus in brain network science. It is an open question, however, how strongly the SC-FC relationship depends on specific topological features of brain networks or the models used for describing excitable dynamics. Using a basic model of discrete excitable units that follow a susceptible - excited - refractory dynamic cycle (SER model), we here analyze how functional connectivity is shaped by the topological features of a neural network, in particular its modularity. We compared the results obtained by the SER model with corresponding simulations by another well established dynamic mechanism, the Fitzhugh-Nagumo model, in order to explore general features of the SC-FC relationship. We showed that apparent discrepancies between the results produced by the two models can be resolved by adjusting the time window of integration of co-activations from which the FC is derived, providing a clearer distinction between co-activations and sequential activations. Thus, network modularity appears as an important factor shaping the FC-SC relationship across different dynamic models.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disease, causing lesions that disrupt the brain's anatomical and physiological connectivity networks, resulting in cognitive, visual and/or motor disabilities. Advanced imaging techniques like diffusion and functional MRI allow measurement of the brain's structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) networks, and can enable a better understanding of how their disruptions cause disability in people with MS (pwMS). However, advanced MRI techniques are used mainly for research purposes as they are expensive, time-consuming and require high-level expertise to acquire and process. As an alternative, the Network Modification (NeMo) Tool can be used to estimate SC and FC using lesion masks derived from pwMS and a reference set of controls' connectivity networks.<h4>Objective</h4>Here, we test the hypothesis that estimated SC and FC (eSC and eFC) from the NeMo Tool, based only on an individual's lesion masks, can be used to classify pwMS into disability categories just as well as SC and FC extracted from advanced MRI directly in pwMS. We also aim to find the connections most important for differentiating between no disability vs evidence of disability groups.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>One hundred pwMS (age:45.5 ± 11.4 years, 66% female, disease duration: 12.97 ± 8.07 years) were included in this study. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) was used to assess disability, 67 pwMS had no disability (EDSS < 2). Observed SC and FC were extracted from diffusion and functional MRI directly in pwMS, respectively. The NeMo Tool was used to estimate the remaining structural connectome (eSC), by removing streamlines in a reference set of tractograms that intersected the lesion mask. The NeMo Tool's eSC was used then as input to a deep neural network to estimate the corresponding FC (eFC). Logistic regression with ridge regularization was used to classify pwMS into disability categories (no disability vs evidence of disability), based on demographics/clinical information (sex, age, race, disease duration, clinical phenotype, and spinal lesion burden) and either pairwise entries or regional summaries from one of the following matrices: SC, FC, eSC, and eFC. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) was used to assess the classification performance. Both univariate statistics and parameter coefficients from the classification models were used to identify features important to differentiating between the groups.<h4>Results</h4>The regional eSC and eFC models outperformed their observed FC and SC counterparts (p-value < 0.05), while the pairwise eSC and SC performed similarly (p = 0.10). Regional eSC and eFC models had higher AUC (0.66-0.68) than the pairwise models (0.60-0.65), with regional eFC having highest classification accuracy across all models. Ridge regression coefficients for the regional eFC and regional observed FC models were significantly correlated (Pearson's r = 0.52, p-value < 10e-7). Decreased estimated SC node strength in default mode and ventral attention networks and increased eFC node strength in visual networks was associated with evidence of disability.<h4>Discussion</h4>Here, for the first time, we use clinically acquired lesion masks to estimate both structural and functional connectomes in patient populations to better understand brain lesion-dysfunction mapping in pwMS. Models based on the NeMo Tool's estimates of SC and FC better classified pwMS by disability level than SC and FC observed directly in the individual using advanced MRI. This work provides a viable alternative to performing high-cost, advanced MRI in patient populations, bringing the connectome one step closer to the clinic.
Project description:Patterns of brain structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) are known to be related. In SC-FC comparisons, FC has classically been evaluated from <i>correlations</i> between functional time series, and more recently from <i>partial correlations</i> or their unnormalized version encoded in the <i>precision</i> matrix. The latter FC metrics yield more meaningful comparisons to SC because they capture 'direct' statistical dependencies, that is, discarding the effects of mediators, but their use has been limited because of estimation issues. With the rise of high-quality and large neuroimaging datasets, we revisit the relevance of different FC metrics in the context of SC-FC comparisons. Using data from 100 unrelated Human Connectome Project subjects, we first explore the amount of functional data required to reliably estimate various FC metrics. We find that precision-based FC yields a better match to SC than correlation-based FC when using 5 minutes of functional data or more. Finally, using a linear model linking SC and FC, we show that the SC-FC match can be used to further interrogate various aspects of brain structure and function such as the timescales of functional dynamics in different resting-state networks or the intensity of anatomical self-connections.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, characterized by progressive loss of motor function. While the pathogenesis of ALS remains largely unknown, imaging studies of the brain should lead to more insight into structural and functional disease effects on the brain network, which may provide valuable information on the underlying disease process. This study investigates the correlation between changes in structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) of the brain network in ALS. Structural reconstructions of the brain network, derived from diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), were obtained from 64 patients and 27 healthy controls. Functional interactions between brain regions were derived from resting-state fMRI. Our results show that (i) the most structurally affected connections considerably overlap with the most functionally impaired connections, (ii) direct connections of the motor cortex are both structurally and functionally more affected than connections at greater topological distance from the motor cortex, and (iii) there is a strong positive correlation between changes in SC and FC averaged per brain region (r = 0.44, P < 0.0001). Our findings indicate that structural and functional network degeneration in ALS is coupled, suggesting the pathogenic process affects both SC and FC of the brain, with the most prominent effects in SC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Although numerous electroencephalogram (EEG) studies have described differences in functional connectivity in Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to healthy subjects, there is no general consensus on the methodology of estimating functional connectivity in AD. Inconsistent results are reported due to multiple methodological factors such as diagnostic criteria, small sample sizes and the use of functional connectivity measures sensitive to volume conduction. We aimed to investigate the reproducibility of the disease-associated effects described by commonly used functional connectivity measures with respect to the amyloid, tau and neurodegeneration (A/T/N) criteria. METHODS:Eyes-closed task-free 21-channel EEG was used from patients with probable AD and subjective cognitive decline (SCD), to form two cohorts. Artefact-free epochs were visually selected and several functional connectivity measures (AEC(-c), coherence, imaginary coherence, PLV, PLI, wPLI) were estimated in five frequency bands. Functional connectivity was compared between diagnoses using AN(C)OVA models correcting for sex, age and, additionally, relative power of the frequency band. Another model predicted the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score of AD patients by functional connectivity estimates. The analysis was repeated in a subpopulation fulfilling the A/T/N criteria, after correction for influencing factors. The analyses were repeated in the second cohort. RESULTS:Two large cohorts were formed (SCD/AD; n =?197/214 and n =?202/196). Reproducible effects were found for the AEC-c in the alpha and beta frequency bands (p =?6.20 × 10-7, Cohen's d =?-?0.53; p =?5.78 × 10-4, d =?-?0.37) and PLI and wPLI in the theta band (p =?3.81 × 10-8, d =?0.59; p =?1.62 × 10-8, d =?0.60, respectively). Only effects of the AEC-c remained significant after statistical correction for the relative power of the selected bandwidth. In addition, alpha band AEC-c correlated with disease severity represented by MMSE score. CONCLUSION:The choice of functional connectivity measure and frequency band can have a large impact on the outcome of EEG studies in AD. Our results indicate that in the alpha and beta frequency bands, the effects measured by the AEC-c are reproducible and the most valid in terms of influencing factors, correlation with disease severity and preferable properties such as correction for volume conduction. Phase-based measures with correction for volume conduction, such as the PLI, showed reproducible effects in the theta frequency band.
Project description:The objective was to assess dynamic functional connectivity (FC) and local/global connectivity in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) and with normal cognition (PD-NC). The sample included 35 PD patients and 26 healthy controls (HC). Cognitive assessment followed an extensive neuropsychological battery. For resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) analysis, independent component analysis (ICA) was performed and components were located in 7 networks: Subcortical (SC), Auditory (AUD), Somatomotor (SM), visual (VI), cognitive-control (CC), default-mode (DMN), and cerebellar (CB). Dynamic FC analysis was performed using the GIFT toolbox. FC differences between groups in each FC state were analysed with the network-based statistic (NBS) approach. Finally, a graph-theoretical analysis for local/global parameters was performed. The whole sample showed 2 dynamic FC states during the rs-fMRI. PD-MCI patients showed decreased mean dwell time in the hypo-connectivity state (<i>p</i> = 0.030) and showed increased number of state transitions (<i>p</i> = 0.007) compared with the HC. In addition, in the hypo-connectivity state, PD-MCI patients showed reduced inter-network FC between the SM-CC, SM-VI, SM-AUD, CC-VI and SC-DMN compared with the HC (<i>p</i> < 0.05-FDR). These FC alterations in PD-MCI were accompanied by graph-topological alterations in nodes located in the SM network (<i>p</i> < 0.001). In contrast, no differences were found between the PD-NC and HC. Findings suggest the presence of dynamic functional brain deteriorations in PD-MCI that are not present in PD-NC, showing the PD-MCI group dynamic FC dysfunctions, reduced FC mostly between SM-CC networks and graph-topological deteriorations in the SM network. A dynamic FC approach could be helpful to understand cognitive deterioration in PD.