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Clin Neurosci Res. 2007 Nov;6(6):381-390.

Neural network approaches and their reproducibility in the study of verbal working memory and Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer's disease and the Aging Brain, 622 West 168 Street, PH-18, New York, New York.


As clinical and cognitive neurosciences mature, the need for sophisticated neuroimaging analysis becomes more apparent. Multivariate analysis techniques have recently received increasing attention because they have attractive features that cannot be easily realized by the more commonly used univariate, voxel-wise, techniques. Multivariate approaches evaluate correlation/covariance of activation across brain regions, rather than proceeding on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Thus, their results can be more easily interpreted as a signature of neural networks. Univariate approaches, in contrast, cannot directly address functional connectivity in the brain. Apart from this conceptual difference, the covariance approach can also result in greater statistical power when compared with univariate techniques, which are forced to employ very stringent, and often overly conservative, corrections for voxel-wise multiple comparisons. Multivariate techniques also lend themselves much better to prospective application of results from the analysis of one dataset to entirely new datasets. We provide two examples that illustrate different uses of multivariate techniques in cognitive and clinical neuroscience. We hope this contribution helps facilitate wider dissemination of these techniques in the research community.

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