Polyneuro risk scores capture widely distributed connectivity patterns of cognition

Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2023 Apr:60:101231. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2023.101231. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


Resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) is a powerful tool for characterizing brain changes, but it has yet to reliably predict higher-order cognition. This may be attributed to small effect sizes of such brain-behavior relationships, which can lead to underpowered, variable results when utilizing typical sample sizes (N∼25). Inspired by techniques in genomics, we implement the polyneuro risk score (PNRS) framework - the application of multivariate techniques to RSFC data and validation in an independent sample. Utilizing the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development® cohort split into two datasets, we explore the framework's ability to reliably capture brain-behavior relationships across 3 cognitive scores - general ability, executive function, learning & memory. The weight and significance of each connection is assessed in the first dataset, and a PNRS is calculated for each participant in the second. Results support the PNRS framework as a suitable methodology to inspect the distribution of connections contributing towards behavior, with explained variance ranging from 1.0 % to 21.4 %. For the outcomes assessed, the framework reveals globally distributed, rather than localized, patterns of predictive connections. Larger samples are likely necessary to systematically identify the specific connections contributing towards complex outcomes. The PNRS framework could be applied translationally to identify neurologically distinct subtypes of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords: BWAS; Big data; MRI; Neuroimaging; PNRS; Reproducibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Cognition*
  • Executive Function
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Risk Factors