Joint source based morphometry identifies linked gray and white matter group differences

Lai Xu, Godfrey Pearlson, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We present a multivariate approach called joint source based morphometry (jSBM), to identify linked gray and white matter regions which differ between groups. In jSBM, joint independent component analysis (jICA) is used to decompose preprocessed gray and white matter images into joint sources and statistical analysis is used to determine the significant joint sources showing group differences and their relationship to other variables of interest (e.g. age or sex). The identified joint sources are groupings of linked gray and white matter regions with common covariation among subjects. In this study, we first provide a simulation to validate the jSBM approach. To illustrate our method on real data, jSBM is then applied to structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) data obtained from 120 chronic schizophrenia patients and 120 healthy controls to identify group differences. JSBM identified four joint sources as significantly associated with schizophrenia. Linked gray-white matter regions identified in each of the joint sources included: 1) temporal - corpus callosum, 2) occipital/frontal - inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, 3) frontal/parietal/occipital/temporal - superior longitudinal fasciculus and 4) parietal/frontal - thalamus. Age effects on all four joint sources were significant, but sex effects were significant only for the third joint source. Our findings demonstrate that jSBM can exploit the natural linkage between gray and white matter by incorporating them into a unified framework. This approach is applicable to a wide variety of problems to study linked gray and white matter group differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-789
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Gray matter and white matter
  • Group differences
  • Joint independent component analysis
  • Joint source based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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