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D'Souza, Adora M.; Abidin, Anas Zainul; Nagarajan, Mahesh B.; Wismüller, Axel (2016): Mutual Connectivity Analysis (MCA) Using Generalized Radial Basis Function Neural Networks for Nonlinear Functional Connectivity Network Recovery in Resting-State Functional MRI. In: Gimi, Barjor; Krol, Andrzej (eds.) : Medical Imaging 2016: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging. Proceedings SPIE, Vol. 9788. Spie.
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We investigate the applicability of a computational framework, called mutual connectivity analysis (MCA), for directed functional connectivity analysis in both synthetic and resting-state functional MRI data. This framework comprises of first evaluating non-linear cross-predictability between every pair of time series prior to recovering the underlying network structure using community detection algorithms. We obtain the non-linear cross-prediction score between time series using Generalized Radial Basis Functions (GRBF) neural networks. These cross-prediction scores characterize the underlying functionally connected networks within the resting brain, which can be extracted using non-metric clustering approaches, such as the Louvain method. We first test our approach on synthetic models with known directional influence and network structure. Our method is able to capture the directional relationships between time series (with an area under the ROC curve = 0.92 +/- 0.037) as well as the underlying network structure (Rand index = 0.87 +/- 0.063) with high accuracy. Furthermore, we test this method for network recovery on resting-state fMRI data, where results are compared to the motor cortex network recovered from a motor stimulation sequence, resulting in a strong agreement between the two (Dice coefficient = 0.45). We conclude that our MCA approach is effective in analyzing non-linear directed functional connectivity and in revealing underlying functional network structure in complex systems.