Toward Leveraging Human Connectomic Data in Large Consortia: Generalizability of fMRI-Based Brain Graphs Across Sites, Sessions, and Paradigms

Cereb Cortex. 2019 Mar 1;29(3):1263-1279. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy032.


While graph theoretical modeling has dramatically advanced our understanding of complex brain systems, the feasibility of aggregating connectomic data in large imaging consortia remains unclear. Here, using a battery of cognitive, emotional and resting fMRI paradigms, we investigated the generalizability of functional connectomic measures across sites and sessions. Our results revealed overall fair to excellent reliability for a majority of measures during both rest and tasks, in particular for those quantifying connectivity strength, network segregation and network integration. Processing schemes such as node definition and global signal regression (GSR) significantly affected resulting reliability, with higher reliability detected for the Power atlas (vs. AAL atlas) and data without GSR. While network diagnostics for default-mode and sensori-motor systems were consistently reliable independently of paradigm, those for higher-order cognitive systems were reliable predominantly when challenged by task. In addition, based on our present sample and after accounting for observed reliability, satisfactory statistical power can be achieved in multisite research with sample size of approximately 250 when the effect size is moderate or larger. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the generalizability of brain functional graphs in large consortia, and encourage the aggregation of connectomic measures using multisite and multisession data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Connectome*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory, Episodic
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Young Adult