A Statistical Analysis of Brain Morphology Using Wild Bootstrapping
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Methods for the analysis of brain morphology, including voxel-based morphology and surface-based morphometries, have been used to detect associations between brain structure and covariates of interest, such as diagnosis, severity of disease, age, IQ, and genotype. The statistical analysis of morphometric measures usually involves two statistical procedures: 1) invoking a statistical model at each voxel (or point) on the surface of the brain or brain subregion, followed by mapping test
... (e.g., test) or their associated values at each of those voxels; 2) correction for the multiple statistical tests conducted across all voxels on the surface of the brain region under investigation. We propose the use of new statistical methods for each of these procedures. We first use a heteroscedastic linear model to test the associations between the morphological measures at each voxel on the surface of the specified subregion (e.g., cortical or subcortical surfaces) and the covariates of interest. Moreover, we develop a robust test procedure that is based on a resampling method, called wild bootstrapping. This procedure assesses the statistical significance of the associations between a measure of given brain structure and the covariates of interest. The value of this robust test procedure lies in its computationally simplicity and in its applicability to a wide range of imaging data, including data from both anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Simulation studies demonstrate that this robust test procedure can accurately control the family-wise error rate. We demonstrate the application of this robust test procedure to the detection of statistically significant differences in the morphology of the hippocampus over time across gender groups in a large sample of healthy subjects.