Homotopic Group ICA for Multi-Subject Brain Imaging Data

Juemin Yang, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Biostatistics
Ani Eloyan, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Biostatistics
Anita Barber, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Mary Beth Nebel, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Stewart Mostofsky, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Jim Pekar, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Ciprian Crainiceanu, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics
Brian Caffo, Johns Hopkins University, Department of BOsitatistics


Independent Component Analysis (ICA) is a computational technique for revealing latent factors that underlie sets of measurements or signals. It has become a standard technique in functional neuroimaging. In functional neuroimaging, so called group ICA (gICA) seeks to identify and quantify networks of correlated regions across subjects. This paper reports on the development of a new group ICA approach, Homotopic Group ICA (H-gICA), for blind source separation of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Resting state brain functional homotopy is the similarity of spontaneous fluctuations between bilaterally symmetrically opposing regions (i.e. those symmetric with respect to the mid-sagittal plane) (Zuo et al., 2010). The approach we proposed improves network estimates by leveraging this known brain functional homotopy. H-gICA increases the potential for network discovery, effectively by averaging information across hemispheres. It is theoretically proven to be identical to standard group ICA when the true sources are both perfectly homotopic and noise-free, while simulation studies and data explorations demonstrate its benefits in the presence of noise. Moreover, compared to commonly applied group ICA algorithms, the structure of the H-gICA input data leads to significant improvement in computational efficiency. A simulation study comfirms its effectiveness in homotopic, non-homotopic and mixed settings, as well as on the landmark ADHD-200 dataset. From a relatively small subset of data, several brain networks were found including: the visual, the default mode and auditory networks, as well as others. These were shown to be more contiguous and clearly delineated than the corresponding ordinary group ICA. Finally, in addition to improving network estimation, H-gICA facilitates the investigation of functional homotopy via ICA-based networks.