Thursday, May 21, 2020

White matter matters—Gf and white matter connectivity

A neuromarker of individual general fluid intelligence from the white-matter functional connectome.  Link.

Jiao Li1, Bharat B. Biswal, Yao Meng, Siqi Yang, Xujun Duan, Qian Cui, Huafu Chen, and Wei Liao


Neuroimaging studies have uncovered the neural roots of individual differences in human general fluid intelligence (Gf). Gf is characterized by the function of specific neural circuits in brain gray-matter; however, the association between Gf and neural function in brain white-matter (WM) remains unclear. Given reliable detection of blood-oxygen-level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI) signals in WM, we used a functional, rather than an anatomical, neuromarker in WM to identify individual Gf. We collected longitudinal BOLD-fMRI data (in total three times, ~11 months between time 1 and time 2, and ~29 months between time 1 and time 3) in normal volunteers at rest, and identified WM functional connectomes that predicted the individual Gf at time 1 (n = 326). From internal validation analyses, we demonstrated that the constructed predictive model at time 1 predicted an individual's Gf from WM functional connectomes at time 2 (time 1 ∩ time 2: n = 105) and further at time 3 (time 1 ∩ time 3: n = 83). From external validation analyses, we demonstrated that the predictive model from time 1 was generalized to unseen individuals from another center (n = 53). From anatomical aspects, WM functional connectivity showing high predictive power predominantly included the superior longitudinal fasciculus system, deep frontal WM, and ventral frontoparietal tracts. These results thus demonstrated that WM functional connectomes offer a novel applicable neuromarker of Gf and supplement the gray-matter connectomes to explore brain–behavior relationships.

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