An explainable autoencoder with multi-paradigm fMRI fusion for identifying differences in dynamic functional connectivity during brain development

Neural Netw. 2023 Feb:159:185-197. doi: 10.1016/j.neunet.2022.12.007. Epub 2022 Dec 22.


Multi-paradigm deep learning models show great potential for dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) analysis by integrating complementary information. However, many of them cannot use information from different paradigms effectively and have poor explainability, that is, the ability to identify significant features that contribute to decision making. In this paper, we propose a multi-paradigm fusion-based explainable deep sparse autoencoder (MF-EDSAE) to address these issues. Considering explainability, the MF-EDSAE is constructed based on a deep sparse autoencoder (DSAE). For integrating information effectively, the MF-EDASE contains the nonlinear fusion layer and multi-paradigm hypergraph regularization. We apply the model to the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort and demonstrate it achieves better performance in detecting dynamic FC (dFC) that differ significantly during brain development than the single-paradigm DSAE. The experimental results show that children have more dispersive dFC patterns than adults. The function of the brain transits from undifferentiated systems to specialized networks during brain development. Meanwhile, adults have stronger connectivities between task-related functional networks for a given task than children. As the brain develops, the patterns of the global dFC change more quickly when stimulated by a task.

Keywords: Brain development; Dynamic functional connectivity; Explainability; Feature fusion; Hypergraph regularization; Multi-paradigm learning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging