A Whole-Brain and Cross-Diagnostic Perspective on Functional Brain Network Dysfunction

Marjolein Spronk, Brian P. Keane, Takuya Ito, Kaustubh Kulkarni, Jie Lisa Ji, Alan Anticevic, Michael W. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A wide variety of mental disorders have been associated with resting-state functional network alterations, which are thought to contribute to the cognitive changes underlying mental illness. These observations appear to support theories postulating large-scale disruptions of brain systems in mental illness. However, existing approaches isolate differences in network organization without putting those differences in a broad, whole-brain perspective. Using a graph distance approach - connectome-wide similarity - we found that whole-brain resting-state functional network organization is highly similar across groups of individuals with and without a variety of mental diseases. This similarity was observed across autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia. Nonetheless, subtle differences in network graph distance were predictive of diagnosis, suggesting that while functional connectomes differ little across health and disease, those differences are informative. These results suggest a need to reevaluate neurocognitive theories of mental illness, with a role for subtle functional brain network changes in the production of an array of mental diseases. Such small network alterations suggest the possibility that small, well-targeted alterations to brain network organization may provide meaningful improvements for a variety of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-561
Number of pages15
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • functional connectivity
  • resting state
  • schizophrenia


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