Dynamic Granger causality based on Kalman filter for evaluation of functional network connectivity in fMRI data

Martin Havlicek, Jiri Jan, Milan Brazdil, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing interest in understanding dynamic interactions of brain neural networks leads to formulation of sophisticated connectivity analysis methods. Recent studies have applied Granger causality based on standard multivariate autoregressive (MAR) modeling to assess the brain connectivity. Nevertheless, one important flaw of this commonly proposed method is that it requires the analyzed time series to be stationary, whereas such assumption is mostly violated due to the weakly nonstationary nature of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time series. Therefore, we propose an approach to dynamic Granger causality in the frequency domain for evaluating functional network connectivity in fMRI data. The effectiveness and robustness of the dynamic approach was significantly improved by combining a forward and backward Kalman filter that improved estimates compared to the standard time-invariant MAR modeling. In our method, the functional networks were first detected by independent component analysis (ICA), a computational method for separating a multivariate signal into maximally independent components. Then the measure of Granger causality was evaluated using generalized partial directed coherence that is suitable for bivariate as well as multivariate data. Moreover, this metric provides identification of causal relation in frequency domain, which allows one to distinguish the frequency components related to the experimental paradigm. The procedure of evaluating Granger causality via dynamic MAR was demonstrated on simulated time series as well as on two sets of group fMRI data collected during an auditory sensorimotor (SM) or auditory oddball discrimination (AOD) tasks. Finally, a comparison with the results obtained from a standard time-invariant MAR model was provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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