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An evaluation of independent component analyses with an application to resting-state fMRI



We examine differences between independent component analyses (ICAs) arising from different assumptions, measures of dependence, and starting points of the algorithms. ICA is a popular method with diverse applications including artifact removal in electrophysiology data, feature extraction in microarray data, and identifying brain networks in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). ICA can be viewed as a generalization of principal component analysis (PCA) that takes into account higher-order cross-correlations. Whereas the PCA solution is unique, there are many ICA methods–whose solutions may differ. Infomax, FastICA, and JADE are commonly applied to fMRI studies, with FastICA being arguably the most popular. Hastie and Tibshirani (2003) demonstrated that ProDenICA outperformed FastICA in simulations with two components. We introduce the application of ProDenICA to simulations with more components and to fMRI data. ProDenICA was more accurate in simulations, and we identified differences between biologically meaningful ICs from ProDenICA versus other methods in the fMRI analysis. ICA methods require nonconvex optimization, yet current practices do not recognize the importance of, nor adequately address sensitivity to, initial values. We found that local optima led to dramatically different estimates in both simulations and group ICA of fMRI, and we provide evidence that the global optimum from ProDenICA is the best estimate. We applied a modification of the Hungarian (Kuhn-Munkres) algorithm to match ICs from multiple estimates, thereby gaining novel insights into how brain networks vary in their sensitivity to initial values and ICA method.