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Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 15;65:374-86. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.10.017. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Toward reliable characterization of functional homogeneity in the human brain: preprocessing, scan duration, imaging resolution and computational space.

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Laboratory for Functional Connectome and Development, Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


While researchers have extensively characterized functional connectivity between brain regions, the characterization of functional homogeneity within a region of the brain connectome is in early stages of development. Several functional homogeneity measures were proposed previously, among which regional homogeneity (ReHo) was most widely used as a measure to characterize functional homogeneity of resting state fMRI (R-fMRI) signals within a small region (Zang et al., 2004). Despite a burgeoning literature on ReHo in the field of neuroimaging brain disorders, its test-retest (TRT) reliability remains unestablished. Using two sets of public R-fMRI TRT data, we systematically evaluated the ReHo's TRT reliability and further investigated the various factors influencing its reliability and found: 1) nuisance (head motion, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid) correction of R-fMRI time series can significantly improve the TRT reliability of ReHo while additional removal of global brain signal reduces its reliability, 2) spatial smoothing of R-fMRI time series artificially enhances ReHo intensity and influences its reliability, 3) surface-based R-fMRI computation largely improves the TRT reliability of ReHo, 4) a scan duration of 5 min can achieve reliable estimates of ReHo, and 5) fast sampling rates of R-fMRI dramatically increase the reliability of ReHo. Inspired by these findings and seeking a highly reliable approach to exploratory analysis of the human functional connectome, we established an R-fMRI pipeline to conduct ReHo computations in both 3-dimensions (volume) and 2-dimensions (surface).

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