We propose a semiparametric Bayesian local functional model (BFM) for the analysis of multiple diffusion properties (e.g., fractional anisotropy) along white matter fiber bundles with a set of covariates of interest, such as age and gender. BFM accounts for heterogeneity in the shape of the fiber bundle diffusion properties among subjects, while allowing the impact of the covariates to vary across subjects. A nonparametric Bayesian LPP2 prior facilitates global and local borrowings of information among subjects, while an infinite factor model flexibly represents low-dimensional structure. Local hypothesis testing and credible bands are developed to identify fiber segments, along which multiple diffusion properties are significantly associated with covariates of interest, while controlling for multiple comparisons. Moreover, BFM naturally group subjects into more homogeneous clusters. Posterior computation proceeds via an efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. A simulation study is performed to evaluate the finite sample performance of BFM. We apply BFM to investigate the development of white matter diffusivities along the splenium of the corpus callosum tract and the right internal capsule tract in a clinical study of neurodevelopment in new born infants.
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