Small worldness in dense and weighted connectomes

Luis M. Colon-Perez, Michelle Couret, William Triplett, Catherine C. Price, Thomas H. Mareci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The human brain is a heterogeneous network of connected functional regions; however, most brain network studies assume that all brain connections can be described in a framework of binary connections. The brain is a complex structure of white matter tracts connected by a wide range of tract sizes, which suggests a broad range of connection strengths. Therefore, the assumption that the connections are binary yields an incomplete picture of the brain. Various thresholding methods have been used to remove spurious connections and reduce the graph density in binary networks. But these thresholds are arbitrary and make problematic the comparison of networks created at different thresholds. The heterogeneity of connection strengths can be represented in graph theory by applying weights to the network edges. Using our recently introduced edge weight parameter, we estimated the topological brain network organization using a complimentary weighted connectivity framework to the traditional framework of a binary network. To examine the reproducibility of brain networks in a controlled condition, we studied the topological network organization of a single healthy individual by acquiring 10 repeated diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance image datasets, over a 1-month period on the same scanner, and analyzing these networks with deterministic tractography. We applied a threshold to both the binary and weighted networks and determined that the extra degree of freedom that comes with the framework of weighting network connectivity provides a robust result as any threshold level. The proposed weighted connectivity framework provides a stable result and is able to demonstrate the small world property of brain networks in situations where the binary framework is inadequate and unable to demonstrate this network property.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 10 May 2016


  • Brain topology
  • Complex networks
  • Small worldness
  • Tractography
  • Weighted connectomes


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