Evaluating the sensitivity of functional connectivity measures to motion artifact in resting-state fMRI data

Neuroimage. 2021 Nov 1:241:118408. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118408. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Abstract

Functional connectivity (FC) networks are typically inferred from resting-state fMRI data using the Pearson correlation between BOLD time series from pairs of brain regions. However, alternative methods of estimating functional connectivity have not been systematically tested for their sensitivity or robustness to head motion artifact. Here, we evaluate the sensitivity of eight different functional connectivity measures to motion artifact using resting-state data from the Human Connectome Project. We report that FC estimated using full correlation has a relatively high residual distance-dependent relationship with motion compared to partial correlation, coherence, and information theory-based measures, even after implementing rigorous methods for motion artifact mitigation. This disadvantage of full correlation, however, may be offset by higher test-retest reliability, fingerprinting accuracy, and system identifiability. FC estimated by partial correlation offers the best of both worlds, with low sensitivity to motion artifact and intermediate system identifiability, with the caveat of low test-retest reliability and fingerprinting accuracy. We highlight spatial differences in the sub-networks affected by motion with different FC metrics. Further, we report that intra-network edges in the default mode and retrosplenial temporal sub-networks are highly correlated with motion in all FC methods. Our findings indicate that the method of estimating functional connectivity is an important consideration in resting-state fMRI studies and must be chosen carefully based on the parameters of the study.

Keywords: Coherence, Mutual information; Correlation; Functional connectivity; Motion; Resting-state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Data Analysis
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards*
  • Motion*
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Rest* / physiology