Construct validation of a DCM for resting state fMRI

Neuroimage. 2015 Feb 1;106:1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.027. Epub 2014 Nov 21.


Recently, there has been a lot of interest in characterising the connectivity of resting state brain networks. Most of the literature uses functional connectivity to examine these intrinsic brain networks. Functional connectivity has well documented limitations because of its inherent inability to identify causal interactions. Dynamic causal modelling (DCM) is a framework that allows for the identification of the causal (directed) connections among neuronal systems--known as effective connectivity. This technical note addresses the validity of a recently proposed DCM for resting state fMRI--as measured in terms of their complex cross spectral density--referred to as spectral DCM. Spectral DCM differs from (the alternative) stochastic DCM by parameterising neuronal fluctuations using scale free (i.e., power law) forms, rendering the stochastic model of neuronal activity deterministic. Spectral DCM not only furnishes an efficient estimation of model parameters but also enables the detection of group differences in effective connectivity, the form and amplitude of the neuronal fluctuations or both. We compare and contrast spectral and stochastic DCM models with endogenous fluctuations or state noise on hidden states. We used simulated data to first establish the face validity of both schemes and show that they can recover the model (and its parameters) that generated the data. We then used Monte Carlo simulations to assess the accuracy of both schemes in terms of their root mean square error. We also simulated group differences and compared the ability of spectral and stochastic DCMs to identify these differences. We show that spectral DCM was not only more accurate but also more sensitive to group differences. Finally, we performed a comparative evaluation using real resting state fMRI data (from an open access resource) to study the functional integration within default mode network using spectral and stochastic DCMs.

Keywords: Bayesian; Dynamic causal modelling; Effective connectivity; Functional connectivity; Graph; Network discovery; Resting state; fMRI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rest / physiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stochastic Processes