Functional density and edge maps: Characterizing functional architecture in individuals and improving cross-subject registration

Neuroimage. 2017 Sep;158:346-355. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.07.019. Epub 2017 Jul 14.


Population-level inferences and individual-level analyses are two important aspects in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. Extracting reliable and informative features from fMRI data that capture biologically meaningful inter-subject variation is critical for aligning and comparing functional networks across subjects, and connecting the properties of functional brain organization with variations in behavior, cognition and genetics. In this study, we derive two new measures, which we term functional density map and edge map, and demonstrate their usefulness in characterizing the function of individual brains. Specifically, using data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP), we show that (1) both functional maps capture intrinsic properties of the functional connectivity pattern in individuals while exhibiting large variation across subjects; (2) functional maps derived from either resting-state or task-evoked fMRI can be used to accurately identify subjects from a population; and (3) cross-subject alignment using these functional maps considerably reduces functional variation and improves functional correspondence across subjects over state-of-the-art multimodal registration algorithms. Our results suggest that the proposed functional density and edge maps are promising features in characterizing the functional architecture in individuals and provide an alternative way to explore the functional variation across subjects.

Keywords: Cross-subject alignment; Functional MRI; Functional variation; Identity prediction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Connectome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology