A Novel Joint Brain Network Analysis Using Longitudinal Alzheimer’s Disease Data
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© 2019, The Author(s). There is well-documented evidence of brain network differences between individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and healthy controls (HC). To date, imaging studies investigating brain networks in these populations have typically been cross-sectional, and the reproducibility of such findings is somewhat unclear. In a novel study, we use the longitudinal ADNI data on the whole brain to jointly compute the brain network at baseline and one-year using a state of the art approach that pools information across both time points to yield distinct visit-specific networks for the AD and HC cohorts, resulting in more accurate inferences. We perform a multiscale comparison of the AD and HC networks in terms of global network metrics as well as at the more granular level of resting state networks defined under a whole brain parcellation. Our analysis illustrates a decrease in small-worldedness in the AD group at both the time points and also identifies more local network features and hub nodes that are disrupted due to the progression of AD. We also obtain high reproducibility of the HC network across visits. On the other hand, a separate estimation of the networks at each visit using standard graphical approaches reveals fewer meaningful differences and lower reproducibility.