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Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging can be used to non-invasively probe the brain microstructure. In addition, recent advances have enabled the identification of complex fiber configurations present in most of the white matter. This has improved the investigation of structural connectivity with tractography methods. Whole-brain structural connectivity networks, or connectomes, are reconstructed by parcellating the gray matter and performing tractography to determine connectivity between these regions. These complex networks can be analyzed with graph theoretical methods, which measure their global and local properties. However, as these tools have only recently been applied to structural brain networks, there is little information about the reproducibility and intercorrelation of network properties, connectivity weights and fiber tractography reconstruction parameters in the brain. We studied the reproducibility and correlation in structural brain connectivity networks reconstructed with constrained spherical deconvolution based probabilistic streamlines tractography. Diffusion-weighted data from 19 subjects were acquired with b = 2800 s/mm and 75 gradient orientations. Intrasubject variability was computed with residual bootstrapping. Our findings indicate that the reproducibility of graph theoretical metrics is generally excellent with the exception of betweenness centrality. A reconstruction density of approximately one million streamlines is necessary for excellent reproducibility, but the reproducibility increases further with higher densities. The reproducibility decreases, but only slightly, when switching to a higher order in constrained spherical deconvolution. Moreover, in binary networks, using sufficiently high threshold values improves the reproducibility. We show that multiple network properties and connectivity weights are highly intercorrelated. The experiments were replicated by using a test-retest dataset of 44 healthy subjects provided by the Human Connectome Project. In conclusion, our results provide guidelines for reproducible investigation of structural brain networks.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Medical image analysis
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The statistical reproducibility of measurements (often in a clinical context), including the testing of instrumentation or techniques to obtain reproducible results. The concept includes reproducibility of physiological measurements, which may be used to develop rules to assess probability or prognosis, or response to a stimulus; reproducibility of occurrence of a condition; and reproducibility of experimental results.
Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of systems, processes, or phenomena. They include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.
Part of an ear examination that measures the ability of sound to reach the brain.
A cellular phone with advanced computing and connectivity capability built on an operating system.
Individuals connecting by family, work or other interests. It also includes connectivity facilitated by computer-based communications.