Adaptive cortical parcellations for source reconstructed EEG/MEG connectomes

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There is growing interest in the rich temporal and spectral properties of the functional connectome of the brain that are provided by Electro- and Magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG). However, the problem of leakage between brain sources that arises when reconstructing brain activity from EEG/MEG recordings outside the head makes it difficult to distinguish true connections from spurious connections, even when connections are based on measures that ignore zero-lag dependencies. In particular, standard anatomical parcellations for potential cortical sources tend to over- or under-sample the real spatial resolution of EEG/MEG. By using information from cross-talk functions (CTFs) that objectively describe leakage for a given sensor configuration and distributed source reconstruction method, we introduce methods for optimising the number of parcels while simultaneously minimising the leakage between them. More specifically, we compare two image segmentation algorithms: 1) a split-and-merge (SaM) algorithm based on standard anatomical parcellations and 2) a region growing (RG) algorithm based on all the brain vertices with no prior parcellation. Interestingly, when applied to minimum-norm reconstructions for EEG/MEG configurations from real data, both algorithms yielded approximately 70 parcels despite their different starting points, suggesting that this reflects the resolution limit of this particular sensor configuration and reconstruction method. Importantly, when compared against standard anatomical parcellations, resolution matrices of adaptive parcellations showed notably higher sensitivity and distinguishability of parcels. Furthermore, extensive simulations of realistic networks revealed significant improvements in network reconstruction accuracies, particularly in reducing false leakage-induced connections. Adaptive parcellations therefore allow a more accurate reconstruction of functional EEG/MEG connectomes.Graphical abstractHighlightsWe introduce adaptive cortical parcellation algorithms for E/MEG source estimation.Optimum number, size and locations of parcels are found based on cross-talk functionsAlgorithms yielded ˜70 distinguishable parcels regardless of the starting point.Parcel resolution matrices were notably improved compared to anatomical atlases.Network reconstruction accuracies of simulated connectomes improved significantly.

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