Investigation of relationships between fMRI brain networks in the spectral domain using ICA and Granger causality reveals distinct differences between schizophrenia patients and healthy controls

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Abstract

Functional network connectivity (FNC) is an approach that examines the relationships between brain networks (as opposed to functional connectivity (FC) that focuses upon the relationships between single voxels). FNC may help explain the complex relationships between distributed cerebral sites in the brain and possibly provide new understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In this paper, we use independent component analysis (ICA) to extract the time courses of spatially independent components and then use these in Granger causality test (GCT) to investigate causal relationships between brain activation networks. We present results using both simulations and fMRI data of 155 subjects obtained during two different tasks. Unlike previous research, causal relationships are presented over different portions of the frequency spectrum in order to differentiate high and low-frequency effects and not merged in a scalar. The results obtained using Sternberg item recognition paradigm (SIRP) and auditory oddball (AOD) tasks showed FNC differentiations between schizophrenia and control groups, and explained how the two groups differed during these tasks. During the SIRP task, secondary visual and cerebellum activation networks served as hubs and included most complex relationships between the activated regions. Secondary visual and temporal lobe activations replaced these components during the AOD task.

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