Objective biomarkers of depression: A study of Granger causality and wavelet coherence in resting-state fMRI

R. Cirstian, J. Pilmeyer*, A. Bernas, J.F.A. Jansen, M. Breeuwer, A.P. Aldenkamp, S. Zinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and PurposeThe lack of a robust diagnostic biomarker makes understanding depression from a neurobiological standpoint an important goal, especially in the context of brain imaging. MethodsIn this study, we aim to create novel image-based features for objective diagnosis of depression. Resting-state network time series are used to investigate neurodynamics with the help of wavelet coherence and Granger causality (G-causality). Three new features are introduced: total wavelet coherence, wavelet lead coherence, and wavelet coherence blob analysis. The fourth feature, pair-wise conditional G-causality, is used to establish the causality between resting-state networks. We use the proposed features to classify depression in adult subjects. ResultsWe obtained an accuracy of 86% in the wavelet lead coherence, 80% in Granger causality, and 86% in wavelet coherence blob analysis. Subjects with depression showed hyperconnectivity between the dorsal attention network and the auditory network as well as between the posterior default mode network and the dorsal attention network. Hypoconnectivity was found between the anterior default mode network and the auditory network as well as the right frontoparietal network and the lateral visual network. An abnormal co-activation pattern was found between cerebellum and the lateral motor network according to the wavelet coherence blob analysis. ConclusionBased on abnormal functional dynamics between brain networks, we were able to identify subjects with depression with high accuracy. The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of the impaired emotional and attention processing associated with depression, as well as decreased motor activity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2023


  • causality
  • depression
  • fMRI
  • neurodynamics
  • resting-state networks
  • wavelet coherence

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