In our cohort study, we explored the stability of connectome-based identification in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy individuals over extended follow-up periods, up to 4 and 9 years, respectively. Functional connectome fingerprinting, a method for identifying individuals based on their functional connectome, was employed.

Resting-state fMRI data from 70 MS patients and 273 healthy individuals were analyzed. The study revealed that MS patients exhibited connectome stability and identification accuracies comparable to those of healthy individuals. Longer time intervals between imaging sessions correlated with a drop in identification accuracies from 89% to 76%. Interestingly, factors such as lesion load, brain atrophy, or cognitive impairment did not significantly impact identification accuracies within the studied range of disease severity.

Distinctive connections from the fronto-parietal and default mode network consistently played a crucial role in individual identification. Importantly, the functional connectivity patterns also enabled the prediction of individual cognitive performances.

In conclusion, our findings demonstrate the stability of discriminatory signatures in the functional connectome over extended periods in MS patients. This stability results in similar identification accuracies and enduring functional connectome fingerprinting signatures, both in patients and healthy individuals.

You can read the paper here [pdf]