Structural and functional brain connectivity are increasingly used to identify and analyze group differences in studies of brain disease. This study presents methods to analyze uniand bi-modal brain connectivity and evaluate their ability to identify differences. Novel visualizations of significantly different connections comparing multiple metrics are presented. On the global level, "bi-modal comparison plots" show the distribution of uni- and bi-modal group differences and the relationship between structure and function. Differences between brain lobes are visualized using "worm plots". Group differences in connections are examined with an existing visualization, the "connectogram". These visualizations were evaluated in two proof-of-concept studies: (1) middle-aged versus elderly subjects; and (2) patients with schizophrenia versus controls. Each included two measures derived from diffusion weighted images and two from functional magnetic resonance images. The structural measures were minimum cost path between two anatomical regions according to the "Statistical Analysis of Minimum cost path based Structural Connectivity" method and the average fractional anisotropy along the fiber. The functional measures were Pearson's correlation and partial correlation of mean regional time series. The relationship between structure and function was similar in both studies. Uni-modal group differences varied greatly between connectivity types. Group differences were identified in both studies globally, within brain lobes and between regions. In the aging study, minimum cost path was highly effective in identifying group differences on all levels; fractional anisotropy and mean correlation showed smaller differences on the brain lobe and regional levels. In the schizophrenia study, minimum cost path and fractional anisotropy showed differences on the global level and within brain lobes; mean correlation showed small differences on the lobe level. Only fractional anisotropy and mean correlation showed regional differences. The presented visualizations were helpful in comparing and evaluating connectivity measures on multiple levels in both studies.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Langen, C.D, White, T.J.H, Ikram, M.A, Vernooij, M.W, & Niessen, W.J. (2015). Integrated analysis and visualization of group differences in structural and functional brain connectivity: Applications in typical ageing and schizophrenia. PLoS ONE, 10(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137484