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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2016 Sep;18(3):277-287.

Individual variation in functional brain connectivity: implications for personalized approaches to psychiatric disease.

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Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Department of Radiology and Bioimaging Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven Connecticut, USA.


in English, French, Spanish

Functional brain connectivity measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a popular technique for investigating neural organization in both healthy subjects and patients with mental illness. Despite a rapidly growing body of literature, however, functional connectivity research has yet to deliver biomarkers that can aid psychiatric diagnosis or prognosis at the single-subject level. One impediment to developing such practical tools has been uncertainty regarding the ratio of intra- to interindividual variability in functional connectivity; in other words, how much variance is state- versus trait-related. Here, we review recent evidence that functional connectivity profiles are both reliable within subjects and unique across subjects, and that features of these profiles relate to behavioral phenotypes. Together, these results suggest the potential to discover reliable correlates of present and future illness and/or response to treatment in the strength of an individual's functional brain connections. Ultimately, this work could help develop personalized approaches to psychiatric illness.


biomarker; fMRI; functional connectivity; individual variation; prediction

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