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In recent years, neuroimaging studies have increasingly been acquiring multiple modalities of data and searching for task- or disease-related changes in each modality separately. A major challenge in analysis is to find systematic approaches for fusing these differing data types together to automatically find patterns of related changes across multiple modalities, when they exist. Independent Component Analysis (ICA) is a popular unsupervised learning method that can be used to find the modes of variation in neuroimaging data across a group of subjects. When multimodal data is acquired for the subjects, ICA is typically performed separately on each modality, leading to incompatible decompositions across modalities. Using a modular Bayesian framework, we develop a novel "Linked ICA" model for simultaneously modelling and discovering common features across multiple modalities, which can potentially have completely different units, signal- and contrast-to-noise ratios, voxel counts, spatial smoothnesses and intensity distributions. Furthermore, this general model can be configured to allow tensor ICA or spatially-concatenated ICA decompositions, or a combination of both at the same time. Linked ICA automatically determines the optimal weighting of each modality, and also can detect single-modality structured components when present. This is a fully probabilistic approach, implemented using Variational Bayes. We evaluate the method on simulated multimodal data sets, as well as on a real data set of Alzheimer's patients and age-matched controls that combines two very different types of structural MRI data: morphological data (grey matter density) and diffusion data (fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, and tensor mode).

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2198 - 2217


Algorithms, Alzheimer Disease, Anisotropy, Bayes Theorem, Brain, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Models, Neurological, Models, Statistical, Principal Component Analysis