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Altered Domain Functional Network Connectivity Strength and Randomness in Schizophrenia.

  • Author(s): Vergara, Victor M
  • Damaraju, Eswar
  • Turner, Jessica A
  • Pearlson, Godfrey
  • Belger, Aysenil
  • Mathalon, Daniel H
  • Potkin, Steven G
  • Preda, Adrian
  • Vaidya, Jatin G
  • van Erp, Theo GM
  • McEwen, Sarah
  • Calhoun, Vince D
  • et al.
Abstract

Functional connectivity is one of the most widely used tools for investigating brain changes due to schizophrenia. Previous studies have identified abnormal functional connectivity in schizophrenia patients at the resting state brain network level. This study tests the existence of functional connectivity effects at whole brain and domain levels. Domain level refers to the integration of data from several brain networks grouped by their functional relationship. Data integration provides more consistent and accurate information compared to an individual brain network. This work considers two domain level measures: functional connectivity strength and randomness. The first measure is simply an average of connectivities within the domain. The second measure assesses the unpredictability and lack of pattern of functional connectivity within the domain. Domains with less random connectivity have higher chance of exhibiting a biologically meaningful connectivity pattern. Consistent with prior observations, individuals with schizophrenia showed aberrant domain connectivity strength between subcortical, cerebellar, and sensorial brain areas. Compared to healthy volunteers, functional connectivity between cognitive and default mode domains showed less randomness, while connectivity between default mode-sensorial areas showed more randomness in schizophrenia patients. These differences in connectivity patterns suggest deleterious rewiring trade-offs among important brain networks.

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