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Two distinct scene processing networks connecting vision and memory.

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Two distinct scene processing networks connecting vision and memory.

J Vis. 2015 Sep 1;15(12):571

Authors: Baldassano C, Esteva A, Beck D, Fei-Fei L

Abstract
Research on visual scene understanding has identified a number of regions involved in processing natural scenes, but has lacked a unifying framework for understanding how these different regions are organized and interact. We propose a new organizational principle, in which scene processing relies on two distinct networks at the edge of visual cortex. The first network consists of the Transverse Occipital Sulcus (TOS, or the Occipital Place Area) and the posterior portion of the Parahippocampal Place Area (PPA). These regions have a well-defined retinotopic organization and do not show strong memory or context effects, suggesting that this network primarily processes visual features from the current view of a scene. The second network consists of the caudal Inferior Parietal Lobule (cIPL), Retrosplenial Cortex (RSC), and the anterior portion of the PPA. These regions are involved in a wide range of both visual and non-visual tasks involving episodic memory, navigation, imagination, and default mode processing, and connect information about a current scene view with a much broader temporal and spatial context. We provide evidence for this division from a diverse set of sources. Using a data-driven approach to parcellate resting-state fMRI data, we identify coherent functional regions corresponding to scene-processing areas. We then show that a network clustering analysis separates these scene-related regions into two adjacent networks, which exhibit sharp changes in connectivity properties across their narrow border. Additionally, we argue that the cIPL has been previously overlooked as a critical region for full scene understanding, based on a meta-analysis of previous functional studies as well as diffusion tractography results showing that cIPL is well-positioned to connect visual cortex with many other cortical systems. This new framework for understanding the neural substrates of scene processing bridges results from many lines of research, and makes specific predictions about functional properties of these regions. Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015.

PMID: 26326259 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Cerebellar Contributions to Visual Attention and Visual Working Memory Revealed by Functional MRI and Intrinsic Functional Connectivity.

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Cerebellar Contributions to Visual Attention and Visual Working Memory Revealed by Functional MRI and Intrinsic Functional Connectivity.

J Vis. 2015 Sep 1;15(12):232

Authors: Brissenden J, Levin E, Osher D, Rosen M, Halko M, Somers D

Abstract
The study of cerebellum function has been traditionally limited to the motor domain. Recent research, however, has begun to characterize the cerebellum's role in cognition (see Schmahmann, 2010) and has demonstrated intrinsic functional connectivity between cerebral cortical networks and distinct cerebellar regions (Buckner et al., 2011). Here, in two separate fMRI experiments, we investigated whether cerebro-cerebellar connectivity of dorsal attention network (DAN) predicts cerebellar activation during visual attention and visual working memory (VWM) task performance. In experiment 1 (N=8), subjects performed a multiple-object tracking task. In experiment 2 (N=9), subjects performed a VWM change detection task using oriented bars. Memory load was varied across blocks (set size: SS0, SS1, or SS4). Both experiments employed resting-state functional connectivity analysis using cortical network seeds (Yeo et al., 2011) to parcellate cerebro-cerebellar networks in individual subjects. In experiment 1, a region-of-interest analysis revealed a robust attentional effect within cerebellar regions functionally connected to the cortical DAN (p< .01). Conversely, cerebellar regions functionally connected to the cortical default mode network (DMN) showed reliable deactivation (p< .001). In experiment 2, contrasting SS4 with SS0 and SS1 resulted in a similar pattern of competitive interaction between cerebellar nodes of the DAN and DMN. Load-dependent activation spatially corresponded with cerebellar DAN nodes (SS4-SS0: p< .005; SS4-SS1: p< .0001) and load-dependent deactivation was observed within cerebellar DMN nodes (SS4-SS0: p< .005; SS4-SS1: p< .0005). Across both experiments the strength of intrinsic functional connectivity, with either the cortical DAN or the cortical DMN, significantly predicted the response of individual cerebellar voxels (Experiment 1: rDAN =.67, rDMN =-.71; Experiment 2: rDAN =.60, rDMN =-.56). Our results indicate that cerebellar nodes of the DAN contribute to network function across a diverse range of attentive and working memory conditions. Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015.

PMID: 26325920 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Structural and functional connectivity of visual and auditory attentional networks: insights from the Human Connectome Project.

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Structural and functional connectivity of visual and auditory attentional networks: insights from the Human Connectome Project.

J Vis. 2015 Sep 1;15(12):223

Authors: Osher D, Tobyne S, Congden K, Michalka S, Somers D

Abstract
Recent work in our laboratory has suggested that human caudal lateral frontal cortex contains four interleaved regions in each hemisphere that exhibit strong sensory-specific biases in attention tasks (Michalka et al, 2014). Two visually-biased attention regions, superior and inferior pre-central sulcus (sPCS, iPCS), anatomically alternate with two auditory-biased attention regions, caudal inferior frontal sulcus (cIFS) and the transverse gyrus intersection the precentral sulcus (tgPCS). These small regions were identified in fMRI studies in a small number of individual subjects. Here, we have investigated these regions and their putative networks by mining the WashU-Minn Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset. We used data from the 482 HCP participants with both diffusion-weighted imaging and resting-state fMRI. We defined seed regions from our individual subject data in a task that contrasted auditory and visual spatial attention. Probabilistic activation maps were constructed and thresholded to generate ROIs. These ROIs served as seed regions for resting state and tractography analyses of the HCP dataset. Stronger functional connectivity was observed for the sPCS and iPCS than for tgPCS and cIFS with superior parietal lobule visual attention regions, and conversely stronger connectivity was observed for the tgPCS and cIFS than for sPCS and iPCS with superior temporal lobe auditory attention regions. A similar pattern was observed with tractography for all ROIs, except for tgPCS. We next analyzed the whole-brain connectivity patterns of these ROIs using a multivariate approach; we found that the modality of sensory-bias can be predicted well above chance in both hemispheres at a voxelwise scale (L:71%, R:80%), using only the connectivity pattern of an individual voxel. A long-term goal of this analysis is to develop reliable methods for identifying fine-scale brain networks in large population datasets, which could have important clinical applications. Our preliminary results reveal both successes and challenges of these efforts. Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015.

PMID: 26325911 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Abnormal Resting-State Connectivity at Functional MRI in Women with Premenstrual Syndrome.

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Abnormal Resting-State Connectivity at Functional MRI in Women with Premenstrual Syndrome.

PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0136029

Authors: Liu Q, Li R, Zhou R, Li J, Gu Q

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a series of cycling and relapsing physical, emotion and behavior syndromes that occur in the luteal phase and resolve soon after the onset of menses. Although PMS is widely recognized, its neural mechanism is still unclear.
DESIGN: To address this question, we measured brain activity for women with PMS and women without PMS (control group) using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). In addition, the participants should complete the emotion scales (Beck Anxiety Inventory, BAI; Beck Depression Inventory, BDI, before the scanning) as well as the stress perception scale (Visual analog scale for stress, VAS, before and after the scanning).
RESULTS: The results showed that compared with the control group, the PMS group had decreased connectivity in the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and theparahippocampalgyrus (PHG), as well as increased connectivity in the left medial/superior temporal gyri (MTG/STG) and precentralgyrus within the default mode network (DMN); in addition, the PMS group had higher anxiety and depression scale scores, together with lower stress perception scores. Finally, there were significantly positive correlations between the stress perception scores and functional connectivity in the MFG and cuneus. The BDI scores in the PMS group were correlated negatively with the functional connectivity in the MFG and precuneus and correlated positively with the functional connectivity in the MTG.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that compared with normal women, women with PMS displayed abnormal stress sensitivity, which was reflected in the decreased and increased functional connectivity within the DMN, blunted stress perception and higher depression.

PMID: 26325510 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Making Large-Scale Networks from fMRI Data.

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Making Large-Scale Networks from fMRI Data.

PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0129074

Authors: Schmittmann VD, Jahfari S, Borsboom D, Savi AO, Waldorp LJ

Abstract
Pairwise correlations are currently a popular way to estimate a large-scale network (> 1000 nodes) from functional magnetic resonance imaging data. However, this approach generally results in a poor representation of the true underlying network. The reason is that pairwise correlations cannot distinguish between direct and indirect connectivity. As a result, pairwise correlation networks can lead to fallacious conclusions; for example, one may conclude that a network is a small-world when it is not. In a simulation study and an application to resting-state fMRI data, we compare the performance of pairwise correlations in large-scale networks (2000 nodes) against three other methods that are designed to filter out indirect connections. Recovery methods are evaluated in four simulated network topologies (small world or not, scale-free or not) in scenarios where the number of observations is very small compared to the number of nodes. Simulations clearly show that pairwise correlation networks are fragmented into separate unconnected components with excessive connectedness within components. This often leads to erroneous estimates of network metrics, like small-world structures or low betweenness centrality, and produces too many low-degree nodes. We conclude that using partial correlations, informed by a sparseness penalty, results in more accurate networks and corresponding metrics than pairwise correlation networks. However, even with these methods, the presence of hubs in the generating network can be problematic if the number of observations is too small. Additionally, we show for resting-state fMRI that partial correlations are more robust than correlations to different parcellation sets and to different lengths of time-series.

PMID: 26325185 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Default mode network alterations during implicit emotional faces processing in first-episode, treatment-naive major depression patients.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Default mode network alterations during implicit emotional faces processing in first-episode, treatment-naive major depression patients.

Front Psychol. 2015;6:1198

Authors: Shi H, Wang X, Yi J, Zhu X, Zhang X, Yang J, Yao S

Abstract
Previous studies have focused on resting-state default mode network (DMN) alterations in the development and maintenance of depression; however, only a few studies have addressed DMN changes during task-related processing and their results are inconsistent. Therefore, we explored DMN patterns in young adult patients with first-episode, treatment-naïve major depressive disorder (MDD) performing an implicit emotional processing task. Patients with MDD (N = 29) and healthy controls (N = 33) were subjected to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at rest and while performing a gender judgment task. Group independent component analysis (ICA) was used to identify DMN component under task state for both groups. The DMN of participants with MDD had decreased functional connectivity in bilateral prefrontal areas compared to controls. Right prefrontal gyrus connectivity for MDD patients correlated negatively with scores on maladaptive scales of the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ). Our findings suggest that depressed people have altered DMN patterns during implicit emotional processing, which might be related to impaired internal monitoring and emotional regulation ability.

PMID: 26322003 [PubMed]

Effective artifact removal in resting state fMRI data improves detection of DMN functional connectivity alteration in Alzheimer's disease.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Effective artifact removal in resting state fMRI data improves detection of DMN functional connectivity alteration in Alzheimer's disease.

Front Hum Neurosci. 2015;9:449

Authors: Griffanti L, Dipasquale O, Laganà MM, Nemni R, Clerici M, Smith SM, Baselli G, Baglio F

Abstract
Artifact removal from resting state fMRI data is an essential step for a better identification of the resting state networks and the evaluation of their functional connectivity (FC), especially in pathological conditions. There is growing interest in the development of cleaning procedures, especially those not requiring external recordings (data-driven), which are able to remove multiple sources of artifacts. It is important that only inter-subject variability due to the artifacts is removed, preserving the between-subject variability of interest-crucial in clinical applications using clinical scanners to discriminate different pathologies and monitor their staging. In Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, decreased FC is usually observed in the posterior cingulate cortex within the default mode network (DMN), and this is becoming a possible biomarker for AD. The aim of this study was to compare four different data-driven cleaning procedures (regression of motion parameters; regression of motion parameters, mean white matter and cerebrospinal fluid signal; FMRIB's ICA-based Xnoiseifier-FIX-cleanup with soft and aggressive options) on data acquired at 1.5 T. The approaches were compared using data from 20 elderly healthy subjects and 21 AD patients in a mild stage, in terms of their impact on within-group consistency in FC and ability to detect the typical FC alteration of the DMN in AD patients. Despite an increased within-group consistency across subjects after applying any of the cleaning approaches, only after cleaning with FIX the expected DMN FC alteration in AD was detectable. Our study validates the efficacy of artifact removal even in a relatively small clinical population, and supports the importance of cleaning fMRI data for sensitive detection of FC alterations in a clinical environment.

PMID: 26321937 [PubMed]

Detection of short-term activity avalanches in human brain default mode network with ultrafast MR encephalography.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Detection of short-term activity avalanches in human brain default mode network with ultrafast MR encephalography.

Front Hum Neurosci. 2015;9:448

Authors: Rajna Z, Kananen J, Keskinarkaus A, Seppänen T, Kiviniemi V

Abstract
Recent studies pinpoint visually cued networks of avalanches with MEG/EEG data. Co-activation pattern (CAP) analysis can be used to detect single brain volume activity profiles and hemodynamic fingerprints of neuronal avalanches as sudden high signal activity peaks in classical fMRI data. In this study, we aimed to detect dynamic patterns of brain activity spreads with the use of ultrafast MR encephalography (MREG). MREG achieves 10 Hz whole brain sampling, allowing the estimation of spatial spread of an avalanche, even with the inherent hemodynamic delay of the BOLD signal. We developed a novel computational method to separate avalanche type fast activity spreads from motion artifacts, vasomotor fluctuations, and cardio-respiratory noise in human brain default mode network (DMN). Reproducible and classical DMN sources were identified using spatial ICA prior to advanced noise removal in order to assure that ICA converges to reproducible networks. Brain activity peaks were identified from parts of the DMN, and normalized MREG data around each peak were extracted individually to show dynamic avalanche type spreads as video clips within the DMN. Individual activity spread video clips of specific parts of the DMN were then averaged over the group of subjects. The experiments show that the high BOLD values around the peaks are mostly spreading along the spatial pattern of the particular DMN segment detected with ICA. With also the spread size and lifetime resembling the expected power law distributions, this indicates that the detected peaks are parts of activity avalanches, starting from (or crossing) the DMN. Furthermore, the split, one-sided sub-networks of the DMN show different spread directions within the same DMN framework. The results open possibilities to follow up brain activity avalanches in the hope to understand more about the system wide properties of diseases related to DMN dysfunction.

PMID: 26321936 [PubMed]

Corrigendum: Prevalence of increases in functional connectivity in visual, somatosensory and language areas in congenital blindness.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Corrigendum: Prevalence of increases in functional connectivity in visual, somatosensory and language areas in congenital blindness.

Front Neuroanat. 2015;9:106

Authors: Heine L, Bahri MA, Cavaliere C, Soddu A, Reislev NL, Laureys S, Ptito M, Kupers R

Abstract
[This corrects the article on p. 86 in vol. 9, PMID: 26190978.].

PMID: 26321919 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Influence of ROI selection on resting state functional connectivity: an individualized approach for resting state fMRI analysis.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Influence of ROI selection on resting state functional connectivity: an individualized approach for resting state fMRI analysis.

Front Neurosci. 2015;9:280

Authors: Sohn WS, Yoo K, Lee YB, Seo SW, Na DL, Jeong Y

Abstract
The differences in how our brain is connected are often thought to reflect the differences in our individual personalities and cognitive abilities. Individual differences in brain connectivity has long been recognized in the neuroscience community however it has yet to manifest itself in the methodology of resting state analysis. This is evident as previous studies use the same region of interest (ROIs) for all subjects. In this paper we demonstrate that the use of ROIs which are standardized across individuals leads to inaccurate calculations of functional connectivity. We also show that this problem can be addressed by taking an individualized approach by using subject-specific ROIs. Finally we show that ROI selection can affect the way we interpret our data by showing different changes in functional connectivity with aging.

PMID: 26321904 [PubMed]

3D interactive tractography-informed resting-state fMRI connectivity.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

3D interactive tractography-informed resting-state fMRI connectivity.

Front Neurosci. 2015;9:275

Authors: Chamberland M, Bernier M, Fortin D, Whittingstall K, Descoteaux M

Abstract
In the past decade, the fusion between diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has opened the way for exploring structure-function relationships in vivo. As it stands, the common approach usually consists of analysing fMRI and dMRI datasets separately or using one to inform the other, such as using fMRI activation sites to reconstruct dMRI streamlines that interconnect them. Moreover, given the large inter-individual variability of the healthy human brain, it is possible that valuable information is lost when a fixed set of dMRI/fMRI analysis parameters such as threshold values are assumed constant across subjects. By allowing one to modify such parameters while viewing the results in real-time, one can begin to fully explore the sensitivity of structure-function relations and how they differ across brain areas and individuals. This is especially important when interpreting how structure-function relationships are altered in patients with neurological disorders, such as the presence of a tumor. In this study, we present and validate a novel approach to achieve this: First, we present an interactive method to generate and visualize tractography-driven resting-state functional connectivity, which reduces the bias introduced by seed size, shape and position. Next, we demonstrate that structural and functional reconstruction parameters explain a significant portion of intra- and inter-subject variability. Finally, we demonstrate how our proposed approach can be used in a neurosurgical planning context. We believe this approach will promote the exploration of structure-function relationships in a subject-specific aspect and will open new opportunities for connectomics.

PMID: 26321901 [PubMed]

Bipolar disorder: Functional neuroimaging markers in relatives.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Bipolar disorder: Functional neuroimaging markers in relatives.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Aug 28;

Authors: Piguet C, Fodoulian L, Aubry JM, Vuilleumier P, Houenou J

Abstract
Neural models of anatomical and functional alterations have been proposed for bipolar disorders (BD). However, studies in affected patients do not allow disentangling alterations linked to the liability to BD from those associated with the evolution, medication and comorbidities of BD. Explorations in high risk subjects allow the study of these risk markers. We reported and summarized all functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies focusing on first-degree relatives of BD patients. We found 29 studies reporting neural correlates of working memory (WM), emotional processing, executive functions and resting state in relatives of BD patients, compared to healthy subjects. Overall, the same regions that have been involved in patients, such as the inferior frontal gyrus and limbic areas, seem to be functionally altered in high-risk subjects. We conclude that the same brain regions already implicated in the pathophysiology of the disease such as the amygdala are also associated with the risk of BD. However longitudinal studies are required to understand their implication in the transition to BD.

PMID: 26321590 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Resting-state functional connectivity abnormalities correlate with psychometric hepatic encephalopathy score in cirrhosis.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30

Resting-state functional connectivity abnormalities correlate with psychometric hepatic encephalopathy score in cirrhosis.

Eur J Radiol. 2015 Aug 18;

Authors: Chen HJ, Jiang LF, Sun T, Liu J, Chen QF, Shi HB

Abstract
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Neurocognitive impairment is a common complication of cirrhosis and regarded as the important characteristic for early stage of hepatic encephalopathy (HE). This study aimed to investigate the changes in brain network centrality of functional connectivity among cirrhotic patients and uncover the mechanisms about early HE.
METHODS: Twenty-four cirrhotic patients without overt HE and 21 healthy controls were enrolled and underwent resting-state fMRI and Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score (PHES) tests. Whole-brain functional network was constructed by measuring the temporal correlations of every pairs of brain gray matter voxels; and then voxel-wise degree centrality (DC), an index reflecting importance of a node in functional integration, was calculated and compared between two groups. A seed-based resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis was further performed to investigate abnormal functional connectivity pattern of those regions with changed DC.
RESULTS: Compared with controls, the cirrhotic patients had worse performances in all neurocognitive tests and lower PHES score. Meanwhile, patients showed decreased DC in bilateral medial prefrontal gyrus and anterior cingulate cortex, left middle frontal gyrus, and bilateral thalamus; while increased DC in right middle occipital gyrus and parahippocampal gyrus/inferior temporal gyrus. The seed-based RSFC analyses revealed that the relevant functional networks, such as default-mode and attention networks, visual network, and thalamo-cortical circuits, were disturbed in cirrhotic patients. The DC changes were correlated with PHES score in patient group.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings further confirm brain network disorganization in cirrhotic patients with neurocognitive impairments and may provide a new perspective for understanding HE-related mechanisms.

PMID: 26321490 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Thalamocortical connectivity is enhanced following functional hemispherotomy for intractable lateralized epilepsy.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30
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Thalamocortical connectivity is enhanced following functional hemispherotomy for intractable lateralized epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Aug 24;51:281-285

Authors: Ibrahim GM, Morgan BR, Smith ML, Kerr E, Donner E, Go CY, Doesburg S, Taylor M, Widjaja E, Rutka JT, Snead OC

Abstract
Although developmental outcomes may improve following functional hemispherotomy for lateralized, catastrophic childhood epilepsy, the neuronal processes mediating these improvements are unknown. We report the case of a 14-year-old child with neurocognitive impairment who underwent functional hemispherotomy with longitudinal resting-state fMRI. Compared with preoperative fMRI, we report significantly more robust thalamo-default mode network connectivity on postoperative neuroimaging. Furthermore, we show decreased connectivity to nodes within the disconnected hemisphere, providing direct evidence that functional interactions are dependent upon structural connectivity. Since the vascular supply to these nodes remains intact, although they are disconnected from the remainder of the brain, these findings also confirm that blood-oxygen level dependent oscillations are driven primarily by neuronal activity. The current study highlights the importance of thalamocortical interactions in the understanding of neural oscillations and cognitive function, and their impairment in childhood epilepsy.

PMID: 26318790 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Functional Organization of the Action Observation Network in Autism: A Graph Theory Approach.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30
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Functional Organization of the Action Observation Network in Autism: A Graph Theory Approach.

PLoS One. 2015;10(8):e0137020

Authors: Alaerts K, Geerlings F, Herremans L, Swinnen SP, Verhoeven J, Sunaert S, Wenderoth N

Abstract
BACKGROUND: The ability to recognize, understand and interpret other's actions and emotions has been linked to the mirror system or action-observation-network (AON). Although variations in these abilities are prevalent in the neuro-typical population, persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have deficits in the social domain and exhibit alterations in this neural network.
METHOD: Here, we examined functional network properties of the AON using graph theory measures and region-to-region functional connectivity analyses of resting-state fMRI-data from adolescents and young adults with ASD and typical controls (TC).
RESULTS: Overall, our graph theory analyses provided convergent evidence that the network integrity of the AON is altered in ASD, and that reductions in network efficiency relate to reductions in overall network density (i.e., decreased overall connection strength). Compared to TC, individuals with ASD showed significant reductions in network efficiency and increased shortest path lengths and centrality. Importantly, when adjusting for overall differences in network density between ASD and TC groups, participants with ASD continued to display reductions in network integrity, suggesting that also network-level organizational properties of the AON are altered in ASD.
CONCLUSION: While differences in empirical connectivity contributed to reductions in network integrity, graph theoretical analyses provided indications that also changes in the high-level network organization reduced integrity of the AON.

PMID: 26317222 [PubMed - in process]

Baseline Striatal Functional Connectivity as a Predictor of Response to Antipsychotic Drug Treatment.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30
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Baseline Striatal Functional Connectivity as a Predictor of Response to Antipsychotic Drug Treatment.

Am J Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 28;:appiajp201514121571

Authors: Sarpal DK, Argyelan M, Robinson DG, Szeszko PR, Karlsgodt KH, John M, Weissman N, Gallego JA, Kane JM, Lencz T, Malhotra AK

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Clinical response to antipsychotic drug treatment is highly variable, yet prognostic biomarkers are lacking. The authors recently demonstrated that successful antipsychotic drug treatment alters resting-state functional connectivity of the striatum. The goal of the present study was to test whether intrinsic striatal connectivity patterns provide prognostic information and can serve as a potential biomarker of treatment response to antipsychotic drugs.
METHOD: The authors used resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) to develop a prognostic index in a discovery cohort of 41 first-episode schizophrenia patients, then tested this index in an independent cohort of 40 newly hospitalized chronic patients with acute psychosis. In the discovery cohort, patients underwent resting-state fMRI scanning at the initiation of randomized controlled treatment with a second-generation antipsychotic. Whole-brain functional connectivity maps were generated for each subject from striatal seed regions. A stringent measure of clinical response was calculated that required sustained improvement over two consecutive study visits. Clinical response was entered into a survival analysis, and Cox regression was applied to the functional connectivity data. A striatal connectivity index was created, comprising functional connections of the striatum that predicted treatment response. This striatal connectivity index was tested on a generalizability cohort of patients with psychotic disorders who were hospitalized for an acute psychotic episode.
RESULTS: A total of 91 regions functionally connected with the striatum provided significant prognostic information. Connectivity in these regions was used to create a baseline striatal connectivity index that predicted response to antipsychotic treatment with high sensitivity and specificity in both the discovery and generalizability cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence that individual differences in striatal functional connectivity predict response to antipsychotic drug treatment in acutely psychotic patients. With further development, this has the potential to serve as a prognostic biomarker with clinical utility and to reduce the overall burden associated with psychotic illnesses.

PMID: 26315980 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Aging Effects on Whole-Brain Functional Connectivity in Adults Free of Cognitive and Psychiatric Disorders.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30
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Aging Effects on Whole-Brain Functional Connectivity in Adults Free of Cognitive and Psychiatric Disorders.

Cereb Cortex. 2015 Aug 26;

Authors: Ferreira LK, Regina AC, Kovacevic N, Martin MD, Santos PP, Carneiro CG, Kerr DS, Amaro E, McIntosh AR, Busatto GF

Abstract
Aging is associated with decreased resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) within the default mode network (DMN), but most functional imaging studies have restricted the analysis to specific brain regions or networks, a strategy not appropriate to describe system-wide changes. Moreover, few investigations have employed operational psychiatric interviewing procedures to select participants; this is an important limitation since mental disorders are prevalent and underdiagnosed and can be associated with RSFC abnormalities. In this study, resting-state fMRI was acquired from 59 adults free of cognitive and psychiatric disorders according to standardized criteria and based on extensive neuropsychological and clinical assessments. We tested for associations between age and whole-brain RSFC using Partial Least Squares, a multivariate technique. We found that normal aging is not only characterized by decreased RSFC within the DMN but also by ubiquitous increases in internetwork positive correlations and focal internetwork losses of anticorrelations (involving mainly connections between the DMN and the attentional networks). Our results reinforce the notion that the aging brain undergoes a dedifferentiation processes with loss of functional diversity. These findings advance the characterization of healthy aging effects on RSFC and highlight the importance of adopting a broad, system-wide perspective to analyze brain connectivity.

PMID: 26315689 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Disruption of cortical integration during midazolam-induced light sedation.

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 01:30
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Disruption of cortical integration during midazolam-induced light sedation.

Hum Brain Mapp. 2015 Aug 28;

Authors: Liang P, Zhang H, Xu Y, Jia W, Zang Y, Li K

Abstract
This work examines the effect of midazolam-induced light sedation on intrinsic functional connectivity of human brain, using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, within-subject design. Fourteen healthy young subjects were enrolled and midazolam (0.03 mg/kg of the participant's body mass, to a maximum of 2.5 mg) or saline were administrated with an interval of one week. Resting-state fMRI was conducted before and after administration for each subject. We focus on two types of networks: sensory related lower-level functional networks and higher-order functions related ones. Independent component analysis (ICA) was used to identify these resting-state functional networks. We hypothesize that the sensory (visual, auditory, and sensorimotor) related networks will be intact under midazolam-induced light sedation while the higher-order (default mode, executive control, salience networks, etc.) networks will be functionally disconnected. It was found that the functional integrity of the lower-level networks was maintained, while that of the higher-level networks was significantly disrupted by light sedation. The within-network connectivity of the two types of networks was differently affected in terms of direction and extent. These findings provide direct evidence that higher-order cognitive functions including memory, attention, executive function, and language were impaired prior to lower-level sensory responses during sedation. Our result also lends support to the information integration model of consciousness. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PMID: 26314702 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Eye-tracking in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A longitudinal study of saccadic and cognitive tasks.

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 17:01
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Eye-tracking in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A longitudinal study of saccadic and cognitive tasks.

Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2015 Aug 27;:1-11

Authors: Proudfoot M, Menke RA, Sharma R, Berna CM, Hicks SL, Kennard C, Talbot K, Turner MR

Abstract
A relative preservation of eye movements is notable in ALS, but saccadic functions have not been studied longitudinally. ALS overlaps with FTD, typically involving executive dysfunction, and eye-tracking offers additional potential for the assessment of extramotor pathology where writing and speaking are both impaired. Eye-tracking measures (including anti-saccade, trail-making and visual search tasks) were assessed at six-monthly intervals for up to two years in a group of ALS (n = 61) and primary lateral sclerosis (n = 7) patients, compared to healthy age-matched controls (n = 39) assessed on a single occasion. Task performance was explored speculatively in relation to resting-state functional MRI (R-FMRI) network connectivity. Results showed that ALS patients were impaired on executive and visual search tasks despite normal basic saccadic function, and impairments in the PLS patients were unexpectedly often more severe. No significant progression was detected longitudinally in either group. No changes in R-FMRI network connectivity were identified in relation to patient performance. In conclusion, eye-tracking offers an objective means to assess extramotor cerebral involvement in ALS. The relative resistance of pure oculomotor function is confirmed, and higher-level executive impairments do not follow the same rate of decline as physical disability. PLS patients may have more cortical dysfunction than has been previously appreciated.

PMID: 26312652 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Changes in functional connectivity of pain modulatory systems in women with primary dysmenorrhea.

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 14:00
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Changes in functional connectivity of pain modulatory systems in women with primary dysmenorrhea.

Pain. 2015 Aug 22;

Authors: Wei SY, Chao HT, Tu CH, Li WC, Low I, Chuang CY, Chen LF, Hsieh JC

Abstract
Menstrual pain is the most prevalent gynecological complaint, and is usually without organic cause (termed as primary dysmenorrhea, PDM). The high comorbidity in the later life of PDM with many functional pain disorders (associated with central dysfunction of pain inhibition, e.g., fibromyalgia) suggests possible maladaptive functionality of pain modulatory systems already occurred in young PDM women, making them vulnerable to functional pain disorders. Periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) functions as a critical hub in the neuraxis of pain modulatory systems; therefore, we investigated the functional connectivity of PAG in PDM. Forty-six PDM subjects and 49 controls received resting-state fMRI during menstruation and peri-ovulatory phases. The PAG of PDM subjects exhibited adaptive/reactive hyper-connectivity with the sensorimotor cortex during painful-menstruation, whereas it exhibited maladaptive hypo-connectivity with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and default mode network (involving the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex or posterior parietal cortex) during menstruation or peri-ovulatory phase. We propose that the maladaptive descending pain modulatory systems in PDM may underpin the central susceptibility to subsequent development of various functional disorders later in life. This hypothesis is corroborated by the growing body of evidence that hypo-connectivity between PAG and default mode network is a co-terminal to many functional pain disorders.

PMID: 26307856 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]