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In Frontiers in neuroscience ; h5-index 72.0

Increasing evidence has suggested that the dynamic properties of functional brain networks are related to individual behaviors and cognition traits. However, current fMRI-based approaches mostly focus on statistical characteristics of the windowed correlation time course, potentially overlooking subtle time-varying patterns in dynamic functional connectivity (dFC). Here, we proposed the use of an end-to-end deep learning model that combines the convolutional neural network (CNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM) network to capture temporal and spatial features of functional connectivity sequences simultaneously. The results on a large cohort (Human Connectome Project, n = 1,050) demonstrated that our model could achieve a high classification accuracy of about 93% in a gender classification task and prediction accuracies of 0.31 and 0.49 (Pearson's correlation coefficient) in fluid and crystallized intelligence prediction tasks, significantly outperforming previously reported models. Furthermore, we demonstrated that our model could effectively learn spatiotemporal dynamics underlying dFC with high statistical significance based on the null hypothesis estimated using surrogate data. Overall, this study suggests the advantages of a deep learning model in making full use of dynamic information in resting-state functional connectivity, and highlights the potential of time-varying connectivity patterns in improving the prediction of individualized characterization of demographics and cognition traits.

Fan Liangwei, Su Jianpo, Qin Jian, Hu Dewen, Shen Hui


deep learning, dynamic functional connectivity (dFC), gender classification, intelligence prediction, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging