Quantitative functionally-defined relationships between structural and functional connectivity within the human brain

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Solar, Kevin Grant
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Structural connectivity (SC) describes the white matter pathways that provide the electrochemical basis of functional connectivity (FC: temporally-coherent brain activity amongst anatomically-distinct brain regions). Initial human SC-FC relationship studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were largely exploratory and used only anatomical brain parcellations (failing to account for functional network organization), and revealed that SC reliably predicts FC, but that FC does not appear to predict SC. The purpose of this thesis is to elucidate SC-FC coupling within resting state functional networks. Diffusion tensor and myelin water MRI were applied to measure SC, with resting state functional MRI to measure FC. I tested the strength of SC-FC relationships by linear correlation and regression analyses. This thesis provides novel empirical evidence for divergent and non-overlapping SC-FC coupling within resting state networks, and importantly reveals a few specific brain regions that appear to be disproportionally involved in SC-FC coupling.
Structural connectivity, Functional connectivity, Rich club, Large-scale network, MRI, Resting state, Functional MRI, DTI, MWI