A deep learning approach to estimating initial conditions of Brain Network Models in reference to measured fMRI data

Amrit Kashyap, Sergey Plis, Petra Ritter and Shella Keilholz

Introduction: Brain Network Models (BNMs) are mathematical models that simulate the activity of the entire brain. These models use neural mass models to represent local activity in different brain regions that interact with each other via a global structural network. Researchers have been interested in using these models to explain measured brain activity, particularly resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). BNMs have shown to produce similar properties as measured data computed over longer periods of time such as average functional connectivity (FC), but it is unclear how well simulated trajectories compare to empirical trajectories on a timepoint-by-timepoint basis. During task fMRI, the relevant processes pertaining to task occur over the time frame of the hemodynamic response function, and thus it is important to understand how BNMs capture these dynamics over these short periods.

Methods: To test the nature of BNMs’ short-term trajectories, we used a deep learning technique called Neural ODE to simulate short trajectories from estimated initial conditions based on observed fMRI measurements. To compare to previous methods, we solved for the parameterization of a specific BNM, the Firing Rate Model, using these short-term trajectories as a metric.

Results: Our results show an agreement between parameterization of using previous long-term metrics with the novel short term metrics exists if also considering other factors such as the sensitivity in accuracy with relative to changes in structural connectivity, and the presence of noise.

Discussion: Therefore, we conclude that there is evidence that by using Neural ODE, BNMs can be simulated in a meaningful way when comparing against measured data trajectories, although future studies are necessary to establish how BNM activity relate to behavioral variables or to faster neural processes during this time period.

Front. Neurosci. 17:1159914 (2023)


Brain Network Modeldeep learningfMRIinitial conditionneural ODEs
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