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Network Neuroscience

Olaf Sporns, Editor
Summer 2017, Vol. 1, No. 3, Pages 208-221
(doi: 10.1162/NETN_a_00012)
Visibility graphs for fMRI data: Multiplex temporal graphs and their modulations across resting state networks
Article PDF (2.33 MB)

Visibility algorithms are a family of methods that map time series into graphs, such that the tools of graph theory and network science can be used for the characterization of time series. This approach has proved a convenient tool and visibility graphs have found applications across several disciplines. Recently, an approach has been proposed to extend this framework to multivariate time series, allowing a novel way to describe collective dynamics. Here we test their application to fMRI time series, following two main motivations, namely that (i) this approach allows to simultaneously capture and process relevant aspects of both local and global dynamics in an easy and intuitive way, and (ii) this provides a suggestive bridge between time series and network theory which nicely fits the consolidating field of network neuroscience. Our application to a large open dataset reveals differences in the similarities of temporal networks (and thus in correlated dynamics) across resting state networks, and gives indications that some differences in brain activity connected to psychiatric disorders could be picked up by this approach.Here we present the first application of multivariate visibility graphs to fMRI data. Visibility graphs are a way to represent a time series as a temporal network, evidencing specific aspects of its dynamics, such as extreme events. Multivariate time series, as those encountered in neuroscience, and in fMRI in particular, can be seen as a multiplex network, in which each layer represents a rime series (a region of interest in the brain in our case). Here we report the method, we describe some relevant aspects of its application to BOLD time series, and we discuss the analogies and differences with existing methods. Finally, we present an application to a high-quality, publicly available dataset, containing healthy subjects and psychotic patients, and we discuss our findings. All the code to reproduce the analyses and the figures is publicly available.