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Journal Article

Recent developments in representations of the connectome


Valk,  Sofie L.
Otto Hahn Group Cognitive Neurogenetics, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Research Center Jülich, Germany;

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Bijsterbosch, J. D., Valk, S. L., Wang, D., & Glasser, M. F. (2021). Recent developments in representations of the connectome. NeuroImage, 243: 118533. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118533.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-3EAA-3
Research into the human connectome (i.e., all connections in the human brain) with the use of resting state functional MRI has rapidly increased in popularity in recent years, especially with the growing availability of large-scale neuroimaging datasets. The goal of this review article is to describe innovations in functional connectome representations that have come about in the past 8 years, since the 2013 NeuroImage special issue on ‘Mapping the Connectome’. In the period, research has shifted from group-level brain parcellations towards the characterization of the individualized connectome and of relationships between individual connectomic differences and behavioral/clinical variation. Achieving subject-specific accuracy in parcel boundaries while retaining cross-subject correspondence is challenging, and a variety of different approaches are being developed to meet this challenge, including improved alignment, improved noise reduction, and robust group-to-subject mapping approaches. Beyond the interest in the individualized connectome, new representations of the data are being studied to complement the traditional parcellated connectome representation (i.e., pairwise connections between distinct brain regions), such as methods that capture overlapping and smoothly varying patterns of connectivity (‘gradients’). These different connectome representations offer complimentary insights into the inherent functional organization of the brain, but challenges for functional connectome research remain. Interpretability will be improved by future research towards gaining insights into the neural mechanisms underlying connectome observations obtained from functional MRI. Validation studies comparing different connectome representations are also needed to build consensus and confidence to proceed with clinical trials that may produce meaningful clinical translation of connectome insights.