Functional network estimation using multigraph learning with application to brain maturation study

Junqi Wang, Li Xiao, Wenxing Hu, Gang Qu, Tony W. Wilson, Julia M. Stephen, Vince D. Calhoun, Yu Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although most dramatic structural changes occur in the perinatal period, a growing body of evidences demonstrates that adolescence and early adulthood are also important for substantial neurodevelopment. We were thus motivated to explore brain development during puberty by evaluating functional connectivity network (FCN) differences between childhood and young adulthood using multi-paradigm task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements. Different from conventional multigraph based FCN construction methods where the graph network was built independently for each modality/paradigm, we proposed a multigraph learning model in this work. It promises a better fitting to FCN construction by jointly estimating brain network from multi-paradigm fMRI time series, which may share common graph structures. To investigate the hub regions of the brain, we further conducted graph Fourier transform (GFT) to divide the fMRI BOLD time series of a node within the brain network into a range of frequencies. Then we identified the hub regions characterizing brain maturity through eigen-analysis of the low frequency components, which were believed to represent the organized structures shared by a large population. The proposed method was evaluated using both synthetic and real data, which demonstrated its effectiveness in extracting informative brain connectivity patterns. We detected 14 hub regions from the child group and 12 hub regions from the young adult group. We show the significance of these findings with a discussion of their functions and activation patterns as a function of age. In summary, our proposed method can extract brain connectivity network more accurately by considering the latent common structures between different fMRI paradigms, which are significant for both understanding brain development and recognizing population groups of different ages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2880-2892
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021


  • Laplacian
  • brain maturation
  • functional MRI
  • functional connectivity
  • graph Fourier transform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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