Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging
© 2018 Multi-center MRI studies can enhance power, generalizability, and discovery for clinical neuroimaging research in brain disorders. Here, we sought to establish the utility of a clustering algorithm as an alternative to more traditional intra-class correlation coefficient approaches in a longitudinal multi-center human phantom study. We completed annual reliability scans on ‘travelling human phantoms’. Acquisitions across sites were harmonized prospectively. Twenty-seven MRI sessions were available across four participants, scanned on five scanners, across three years. For each scan, three metrics were extracted: cortical thickness (CT), white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), and resting state functional connectivity (FC). For each metric, hierarchical clustering (Ward's method) was performed. The cluster solutions were compared to participant and scanner using the adjusted Rand index (ARI). For all metrics, data clustered by participant rather than by scanner (ARI > 0.8 comparing clusters to participants, ARI < 0.2 comparing clusters to scanners). These results demonstrate that hierarchical clustering can reliably identify structural and functional scans from different participants imaged on different scanners across time. With increasing interest in data-driven approaches in psychiatric and neurologic brain imaging studies, our findings provide a framework for multi-center analytic approaches aiming to identify subgroups of participants based on brain structure or function.
School of Medicine