Evaluating the Prediction of Brain Maturity From Functional Connectivity After Motion Artifact Denoising

Cereb Cortex. 2019 Jun 1;29(6):2455-2469. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy117.


The ability to make individual-level predictions from neuroanatomy has the potential to be particularly useful in child development. Previously, resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) MRI has been used to successfully predict maturity and diagnosis of typically and atypically developing individuals. Unfortunately, submillimeter head motion in the scanner produces systematic, distance-dependent differences in RSFC and may contaminate, and potentially facilitate, these predictions. Here, we evaluated individual age prediction with RSFC after stringent motion denoising. Using multivariate machine learning, we found that 57% of the variance in individual RSFC after motion artifact denoising was explained by age, while 4% was explained by residual effects of head motion. When RSFC data were not adequately denoised, 50% of the variance was explained by motion. Reducing motion-related artifact also revealed that prediction did not depend upon characteristics of functional connections previously hypothesized to mediate development (e.g., connection distance). Instead, successful age prediction relied upon sampling functional connections across multiple functional systems with strong, reliable RSFC within an individual. Our results demonstrate that RSFC across the brain is sufficiently robust to make individual-level predictions of maturity in typical development, and hence, may have clinical utility for the diagnosis and prognosis of individuals with atypical developmental trajectories.

Keywords: development; fMRI; functional connectivity; machine learning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Artifacts*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Machine Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Young Adult