Fiber clustering versus the parcellation-based connectome

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Abstract

We compare two strategies for modeling the connections of the brain's white matter: fiber clustering and the parcellation-based connectome. Both methods analyze diffusion magnetic resonance imaging fiber tractography to produce a quantitative description of the brain's connections. Fiber clustering is designed to reconstruct anatomically-defined white matter tracts, while the parcellation-based white matter segmentation enables the study of the brain as a network. From the perspective of white matter segmentation, we compare and contrast the goals and methods of the parcellation-based and clustering approaches, with special focus on reviewing the field of fiber clustering. We also propose a third category of new hybrid methods that combine the aspects of parcellation and clustering, for joint analysis of connection structure and anatomy or function. We conclude that these different approaches for segmentation and modeling of the white matter can advance the neuroscientific study of the brain's connectivity in complementary ways.

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