Joint Bayesian-Incorporating Estimation of Multiple Gaussian Graphical Models to Study Brain Connectivity Development in Adolescence

Aiying Zhang, Biao Cai, Wenxing Hu, Bochao Jia, Faming Liang, Tony W. Wilson, Julia M. Stephen, Vince D. Calhoun, Yu Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Adolescence is a transitional period between the childhood and adulthood with physical changes, as well as increasing emotional development. Studies have shown that the emotional sensitivity is related to a second period of rapid brain growth. However, there is little focus on the trend of brain development during this period. In this paper, we aim to track functional brain connectivity development from late childhood to young adulthood. Mathematically, this problem can be modeled via the estimation of multiple Gaussian graphical models (GGMs). However, most existing methods either require the graph sequence to be fairly long or are only applicable to small graphs. In this paper, we adapted a Bayesian approach incorporating joint estimation of multiple GGMs to overcome the short sequence difficulty, which is also computationally efficient. The data used are the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) images obtained from the publicly available Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort (PNC). They include 855 individuals aged 8-22 years who were divided into five different adolescent stages. We summarized the networks with global measurements and applied a hypothesis test across age groups to detect the developmental patterns. Three patterns were detected and defined as consistent development, late puberty, and temporal change. We also discovered several anatomical areas, such as the middle frontal gyrus, putamen gyrus, right lingual gyrus, and right cerebellum crus 2 that are highly involved in the brain functional development. The functional networks, including the salience, subcortical, and auditory networks are significantly developing during the adolescent period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8754707
Pages (from-to)357-365
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Aldolescence
  • Gaussian graphical models (GGMs)
  • brain development
  • brain functional connectivity
  • fMRI
  • joint estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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