Published on Sun Sep 07 2014

Multiscale statistical testing for connectome-wide association studies in fMRI

P. Bellec, Y. Benhajali, F. Carbonell, C. Dansereau, G. Albouy, M. Pelland, C. Craddock, O. Collignon, J. Doyon, E. Stip, P. Orban

Alterations in brain connectivity have been associated with a variety of disorders using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) We investigated how the number of brain parcels (or scale) impacted the results of a mass univariate general linear model (GLM) on connectomes.

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Abstract

Alterations in brain connectivity have been associated with a variety of clinical disorders using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We investigated empirically how the number of brain parcels (or scale) impacted the results of a mass univariate general linear model (GLM) on connectomes. The brain parcels used as nodes in the connectome analysis were functionnally defined by a group cluster analysis. We first validated that a classic Benjamini-Hochberg procedure with parametric GLM tests did control appropriately the false-discovery rate (FDR) at a given scale. We then observed on realistic simulations that there was no substantial inflation of the FDR across scales, as long as the FDR was controlled independently within each scale, and the presence of true associations could be established using an omnibus permutation test combining all scales. Second, we observed both on simulations and on three real resting-state fMRI datasets (schizophrenia, congenital blindness, motor practice) that the rate of discovery varied markedly as a function of scales, and was relatively higher for low scales, below 25. Despite the differences in discovery rate, the statistical maps derived at different scales were generally very consistent in the three real datasets. Some seeds still showed effects better observed around 50, illustrating the potential benefits of multiscale analysis. On real data, the statistical maps agreed well with the existing literature. Overall, our results support that the multiscale GLM connectome analysis with FDR is statistically valid and can capture biologically meaningful effects in a variety of experimental conditions.