Towards a predictive spatio-temporal representation of brain data

29 Feb 2020  ·  Tiago Azevedo, Luca Passamonti, Pietro Liò, Nicola Toschi ·

The characterisation of the brain as a "connectome", in which the connections are represented by correlational values across timeseries and as summary measures derived from graph theory analyses, has been very popular in the last years. However, although this representation has advanced our understanding of the brain function, it may represent an oversimplified model. This is because the typical fMRI datasets are constituted by complex and highly heterogeneous timeseries that vary across space (i.e., location of brain regions). We compare various modelling techniques from deep learning and geometric deep learning to pave the way for future research in effectively leveraging the rich spatial and temporal domains of typical fMRI datasets, as well as of other similar datasets. As a proof-of-concept, we compare our approaches in the homogeneous and publicly available Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset on a supervised binary classification task. We hope that our methodological advances relative to previous "connectomic" measures can ultimately be clinically and computationally relevant by leading to a more nuanced understanding of the brain dynamics in health and disease. Such understanding of the brain can fundamentally reduce the constant specialised clinical expertise in order to accurately understand brain variability.

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