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Brain Connect. 2018 Dec 26. doi: 10.1089/brain.2018.0580. [Epub ahead of print]

Test-Retest Reliability of Graph Theoretic Metrics in Adolescent Brains.

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1 Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging, University of California , San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
2 Department of Clinical Science, Child- and Adolescent Psychiatry, Umeå University , Umeå, Sweden .
3 Department of Psychiatry and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of California , San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
4 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University , Stanford, California.
5 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University , Tallahassee, Florida.


Graph theory analysis of structural brain networks derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has become a popular analytical method in neuroscience, enabling advanced investigations of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The purpose of this study was to investigate (1) the effects of edge weighting schemes and (2) the effects of varying interscan periods on graph metrics within the adolescent brain. We compared a binary (B) network definition with three weighting schemes: fractional anisotropy (FA), streamline count, and streamline count with density and length correction (SDL). Two commonly used global and two local graph metrics were examined. The analysis was conducted with two groups of adolescent volunteers who received DTI scans either 12 weeks apart (16.62 ± 1.10 years) or within the same scanning session (30 min apart) (16.65 ± 1.14 years). The intraclass correlation coefficient was used to assess test-retest reliability and the coefficient of variation (CV) was used to assess precision. On average, each edge scheme produced reliable results at both time intervals. Weighted measures outperformed binary measures, with SDL weights producing the most reliable metrics. All edge schemes except FA displayed high CV values, leaving FA as the only edge scheme that consistently showed high precision while also producing reliable results. Overall findings suggest that FA weights are more suited for DTI connectome studies in adolescents.


adolescent brain; connectome; diffusion MRI; edge weight; network; test–retest


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