Identifying reproducible individual differences in childhood functional brain networks: An ABCD study

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The 21-site Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study provides an unparalleled opportunity to characterize functional brain development via resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and to quantify relationships between RSFC and behavior. This multi-site data set includes potentially confounding sources of variance, such as differences between data collection sites and/or scanner manufacturers, in addition to those inherent to RSFC (e.g., head motion). The ABCD project provides a framework for characterizing and reproducing RSFC and RSFC-behavior associations, while quantifying the extent to which sources of variability bias RSFC estimates. We quantified RSFC and functional network architecture in 2,188 9-10-year old children from the ABCD study, segregated into demographically-matched discovery (N = 1,166) and replication datasets (N = 1,022). We found RSFC and network architecture to be highly reproducible across children. We did not observe strong effects of site; however, scanner manufacturer effects were large, reproducible, and followed a “short-to-long” association with distance between regions. Accounting for potential confounding variables, we replicated that RSFC between several higher-order networks was related to general cognition. In sum, we provide a framework for how to characterize RSFC-behavior relationships in a rigorous and reproducible manner using the ABCD dataset and other large multi-site projects.




Marek, S., Tervo-Clemmens, B., Nielsen, A. N., Wheelock, M. D., Miller, R. L., Laumann, T. O., … Dosenbach, N. U. F. (2019). Identifying reproducible individual differences in childhood functional brain networks: An ABCD study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 40.

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