Journal of Neuroscience Methods vol:197 issue:1 pages:143-57
In this paper we describe a method for functional connectivity analysis of fMRI data between given brain regions-of-interest (ROIs). The method relies on nonnegativity constrained- and spatially regularized multiset canonical correlation analysis (CCA), and assigns weights to the fMRI signals of the ROIs so that their representative signals become simultaneously maximally correlated. The different pairwise correlations between the representative signals of the ROIs are combined using the maxvar approach for multiset CCA, which has been shown to be equivalent to the generalized eigenvector formulation of CCA. The eigenvector in the maxvar approach gives an indication of the relative importance of each ROI in obtaining a maximal overall correlation, and hence, can be interpreted as a functional connectivity pattern of the ROIs. The successive canonical correlations define subsequent functional connectivity patterns, in decreasing order of importance. We apply our method on synthetic data and real fMRI data and show its advantages compared to unconstrained CCA and to PCA. Furthermore, since the representative signals for the ROIs are optimized for maximal correlation they are also ideally suited for further effective connectivity analyses, to assess the information flows between the ROIs in the brain.