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      Influences on the Test–Retest Reliability of Functional Connectivity MRI and its Relationship with Behavioral Utility

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          Best practices are currently being developed for the acquisition and processing of resting-state magnetic resonance imaging data used to estimate brain functional organization—or “functional connectivity.” Standards have been proposed based on test–retest reliability, but open questions remain. These include how amount of data per subject influences whole-brain reliability, the influence of increasing runs versus sessions, the spatial distribution of reliability, the reliability of multivariate methods, and, crucially, how reliability maps onto prediction of behavior. We collected a dataset of 12 extensively sampled individuals (144 min data each across 2 identically configured scanners) to assess test–retest reliability of whole-brain connectivity within the generalizability theory framework. We used Human Connectome Project data to replicate these analyses and relate reliability to behavioral prediction. Overall, the historical 5-min scan produced poor reliability averaged across connections. Increasing the number of sessions was more beneficial than increasing runs. Reliability was lowest for subcortical connections and highest for within-network cortical connections. Multivariate reliability was greater than univariate. Finally, reliability could not be used to improve prediction; these findings are among the first to underscore this distinction for functional connectivity. A comprehensive understanding of test–retest reliability, including its limitations, supports the development of best practices in the field.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Intrinsic functional connectivity as a tool for human connectomics: theory, properties, and optimization.

          Resting state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) is widely used to investigate brain networks that exhibit correlated fluctuations. While fcMRI does not provide direct measurement of anatomic connectivity, accumulating evidence suggests it is sufficiently constrained by anatomy to allow the architecture of distinct brain systems to be characterized. fcMRI is particularly useful for characterizing large-scale systems that span distributed areas (e.g., polysynaptic cortical pathways, cerebro-cerebellar circuits, cortical-thalamic circuits) and has complementary strengths when contrasted with the other major tool available for human connectomics-high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI). We review what is known about fcMRI and then explore fcMRI data reliability, effects of preprocessing, analysis procedures, and effects of different acquisition parameters across six studies (n = 98) to provide recommendations for optimization. Run length (2-12 min), run structure (1 12-min run or 2 6-min runs), temporal resolution (2.5 or 5.0 s), spatial resolution (2 or 3 mm), and the task (fixation, eyes closed rest, eyes open rest, continuous word-classification) were varied. Results revealed moderate to high test-retest reliability. Run structure, temporal resolution, and spatial resolution minimally influenced fcMRI results while fixation and eyes open rest yielded stronger correlations as contrasted to other task conditions. Commonly used preprocessing steps involving regression of nuisance signals minimized nonspecific (noise) correlations including those associated with respiration. The most surprising finding was that estimates of correlation strengths stabilized with acquisition times as brief as 5 min. The brevity and robustness of fcMRI positions it as a powerful tool for large-scale explorations of genetic influences on brain architecture. We conclude by discussing the strengths and limitations of fcMRI and how it can be combined with HARDI techniques to support the emerging field of human connectomics.
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            An improved framework for confound regression and filtering for control of motion artifact in the preprocessing of resting-state functional connectivity data.

            Several recent reports in large, independent samples have demonstrated the influence of motion artifact on resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rsfc-MRI). Standard rsfc-MRI preprocessing typically includes regression of confounding signals and band-pass filtering. However, substantial heterogeneity exists in how these techniques are implemented across studies, and no prior study has examined the effect of differing approaches for the control of motion-induced artifacts. To better understand how in-scanner head motion affects rsfc-MRI data, we describe the spatial, temporal, and spectral characteristics of motion artifacts in a sample of 348 adolescents. Analyses utilize a novel approach for describing head motion on a voxelwise basis. Next, we systematically evaluate the efficacy of a range of confound regression and filtering techniques for the control of motion-induced artifacts. Results reveal that the effectiveness of preprocessing procedures on the control of motion is heterogeneous, and that improved preprocessing provides a substantial benefit beyond typical procedures. These results demonstrate that the effect of motion on rsfc-MRI can be substantially attenuated through improved preprocessing procedures, but not completely removed. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              The resting brain: unconstrained yet reliable.

              Recent years have witnessed an upsurge in the usage of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine functional connectivity (fcMRI), both in normal and pathological populations. Despite this increasing popularity, concerns about the psychologically unconstrained nature of the "resting-state" remain. Across studies, the patterns of functional connectivity detected are remarkably consistent. However, the test-retest reliability for measures of resting state fcMRI measures has not been determined. Here, we quantify the test-retest reliability, using resting scans from 26 participants at 3 different time points. Specifically, we assessed intersession (>5 months apart), intrasession ( nonsignificant), 2) correlation valence (positive > negative), and 3) network membership (default mode > task positive network). Short- and long-term measures of the consistency of global connectivity patterns were highly robust. Finally, hierarchical clustering solutions were highly reproducible, both across participants and sessions. Our findings provide a solid foundation for continued examination of resting state fcMRI in typical and atypical populations.

                Author and article information

                Cereb Cortex
                Cereb. Cortex
                Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)
                Oxford University Press
                November 2017
                12 September 2017
                12 September 2017
                : 27
                : 11
                : 5415-5429
                [1 ] Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
                [2 ] Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
                [3 ] Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
                [4 ] Department of Neurosurgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Stephanie Noble, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, 300 Cedar Street, PO Box 208043, New Haven, CT 06520-8043, USA. Email address: stephanie.noble@ 123456yale.edu
                © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@ 123456oup.com

                Page count
                Pages: 15
                Funded by: National Institutes of Health 10.13039/100000002
                Funded by: US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 10.13039/100000001
                Award ID: DGE1122492
                Original Articles


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