Connectivity differences in brain networks

Neuroimage. 2012 Apr 2;60(2):1055-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.01.068. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


The scenario considered here is one where brain connectivity is represented as a network and an experimenter wishes to assess the evidence for an experimental effect at each of the typically thousands of connections comprising the network. To do this, a univariate model is independently fitted to each connection. It would be unwise to declare significance based on an uncorrected threshold of α=0.05, since the expected number of false positives for a network comprising N=90 nodes and N(N-1)/2=4005 connections would be 200. Control of Type I errors over all connections is therefore necessary. The network-based statistic (NBS) and spatial pairwise clustering (SPC) are two distinct methods that have been used to control family-wise errors when assessing the evidence for an experimental effect with mass univariate testing. The basic principle of the NBS and SPC is the same as supra-threshold voxel clustering. Unlike voxel clustering, where the definition of a voxel cluster is unambiguous, 'clusters' formed among supra-threshold connections can be defined in different ways. The NBS defines clusters using the graph theoretical concept of connected components. SPC on the other hand uses a more stringent pairwise clustering concept. The purpose of this article is to compare the pros and cons of the NBS and SPC, provide some guidelines on their practical use and demonstrate their utility using a case study involving neuroimaging data.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*