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Despite increasing knowledge on the neuroimaging patterns of eating disorder (ED) symptoms in non-clinical populations, studies using whole-brain machine learning to identify connectome-based neuromarkers of ED symptomatology are absent. This study examined the association of connectivity within and between large-scale functional networks with specific symptomatic behaviors and cognitions using connectome-based predictive modeling (CPM).
CPM with ten-fold cross-validation was carried out to probe functional networks that were predictive of ED-associated symptomatology, including body image concerns, binge eating, and compensatory behaviors, within the discovery sample of 660 participants. The predictive ability of the identified networks was validated using an independent sample of 821 participants.
The connectivity predictive of body image concerns was identified within and between networks implicated in cognitive control (frontoparietal and medial frontal), reward sensitivity (subcortical), and visual perception (visual). Crucially, the set of connections in the positive network related to body image concerns identified in one sample was generalized to predict body image concerns in an independent sample, suggesting the replicability of this effect.
These findings point to the feasibility of using the functional connectome to predict ED symptomatology in the general population and provide the first evidence that functional interplay among distributed networks predicts body shape/weight concerns.
Schizophrenia has been primarily conceptualized as a disorder of high-order cognitive functions with deficits in executive brain regions. Yet due to the increasing reports of early sensory processing deficit, recent models focus more on the developmental effects of impaired sensory process on high-order functions. The present study examined whether this pathological interaction relates to an overarching system-level imbalance, specifically a disruption in macroscale hierarchy affecting integration and segregation of unimodal and transmodal networks.
We applied a novel combination of connectome gradient and stepwise connectivity analysis to resting-state fMRI to characterize the sensorimotor-to-transmodal cortical hierarchy organization (96 patients v. 122 controls).
We demonstrated compression of the cortical hierarchy organization in schizophrenia, with a prominent compression from the sensorimotor region and a less prominent compression from the frontal−parietal region, resulting in a diminished separation between sensory and fronto-parietal cognitive systems. Further analyses suggested reduced differentiation related to atypical functional connectome transition from unimodal to transmodal brain areas. Specifically, we found hypo-connectivity within unimodal regions and hyper-connectivity between unimodal regions and fronto-parietal and ventral attention regions along the classical sensation-to-cognition continuum (voxel-level corrected, p < 0.05).
The compression of cortical hierarchy organization represents a novel and integrative system-level substrate underlying the pathological interaction of early sensory and cognitive function in schizophrenia. This abnormal cortical hierarchy organization suggests cascading impairments from the disruption of the somatosensory−motor system and inefficient integration of bottom-up sensory information with attentional demands and executive control processes partially account for high-level cognitive deficits characteristic of schizophrenia.
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