Analyzing effective connectivity of brain using fMRI data : DCM and PPI

Mojtahedi, Sina
In neuroscience and biomedical engineering fields, one of the most important issues nowadays is finding a relationship between different brain regions when it is stimulated. Connectivity is an important research area in neuroscience which tries to determine the relationship between different brain region when the brain is stimulated externally or internally. Three main type of connectivity are discussed in this field: Anatomical, Functional and Effective connectivity. Importance of effective connectivity is its ability to detect brain disorders in early stages. Some brain disorders are Schizophrenia, MS and Major Depression disease. Comparing the effective connectivity between a healthy and unhealthy brain will help to diagnose brain disorder. In this master study, two methods named Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) and Psychophysiological Interaction (PPI) are used to compare effective connectivity and neuronal activity between different regions of brain when there are three different stimulations. Since the neural activity is latent in fMRI data, there is a need to a model which is able to transfer data from neuronal level to a visible data like Blood-Oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal. DCM uses a haemodynamic balloon model (HD) to represent this data transfer. The hemodynamic model must be so that the parameters of neural and BOLD signal be the same. It should be noted that what is looked for is not the BOLD signal but the neuronal activity. In this study, as the first step, we did preprocessing of MR images and after ROI`s are created using the program MARSBAR. Ten ROIs, which are thought to have connections between them are selected by considering the stimulations used in the experiments in obtaining the data used in this thesis. The data used contains fMRI images of 11 healthy subjects. Stimulations of experiment are applied to images got from group analysis of 11 healthy subjects. These Stimulations are then used in preparing the design matrix and the parameters related to DCM. These parameters are the values related to connection matrices defining bilinear dynamic model on ROI. Bayesian method is used to select best model between all these models. Another method of PPI is also applied to analyze effective connectivity between 10 ROIs. This method considers two issues of physiological and psychological effects. Like DCM, the preprocessing steps and ROI selection is done for PPI and hemodynamic model is designed for this method. Neural and hemodynamic responses of ROIs are compared using this method.