A deep graph neural network architecture for modelling spatio-temporal dynamics in resting-state functional MRI data.

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Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) has been successfully employed to understand the organisation of the human brain. Typically, the brain is parcellated into regions of interest (ROIs) and modelled as a graph where each ROI represents a node and association measures between ROI-specific blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) time series are edges. Recently, graph neural networks (GNNs) have seen a surge in popularity due to their success in modelling unstructured relational data. The latest developments with GNNs, however, have not yet been fully exploited for the analysis of rs-fMRI data, particularly with regards to its spatio-temporal dynamics. In this paper, we present a novel deep neural network architecture which combines both GNNs and temporal convolutional networks (TCNs) in order to learn from both the spatial and temporal components of rs-fMRI data in an end-to-end fashion. In particular, this corresponds to intra-feature learning (i.e., learning temporal dynamics with TCNs) as well as inter-feature learning (i.e., leveraging interactions between ROI-wise dynamics with GNNs). We evaluate our model with an ablation study using 35,159 samples from the UK Biobank rs-fMRI database, as well as in the smaller Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset, both in a unimodal and in a multimodal fashion. We also demonstrate that out architecture contains explainability-related features which easily map to realistic neurobiological insights. We suggest that this model could lay the groundwork for future deep learning architectures focused on leveraging the inherently and inextricably spatio-temporal nature of rs-fMRI data.
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CIE Terms
Deep learning, Graph neural networks, Rs-fMRI, Spatio-temporal dynamics, Temporal convolutional network, Time series, UK Biobank