False Discovery Rate Control in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies via Markov Random Fields Academic Article uri icon


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used to study population effects of factors on brain morphometry. Inference from such studies often require the simultaneous testing of millions of statistical hypotheses. Such scale of inference is known to lead to large numbers of false positive results. Control of the false discovery rate (FDR) is commonly employed to mitigate against such outcomes. However, current methodologies in FDR control only account for the marginal significance of hypotheses, and are not able to explicitly account for spatial relationships, such as those between MRI voxels. In this article, we present novel methods that incorporate spatial dependencies into the process of controlling FDR through the use of Markov random fields. Our method is able to automatically estimate the relationships between spatially dependent hypotheses by means of maximum pseudo-likelihood estimation and the pseudo-likelihood information criterion. We show that our methods have desirable statistical properties with regards to FDR control and are able to outperform noncontexual methods in simulations of dependent hypothesis scenarios. Our method is applied to investigate the effects of aging on brain morphometry using data from the PATH study. Evidence of whole brain and component level effects that correspond to similar findings in the literature is found in our investigation.


publication date

  • August 2014