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Human Brain Mapping



Wiley Online Library : Human Brain Mapping



Published: 2017-12-01T00:00:00-05:00

 



Optimization and validation of automated hippocampal subfield segmentation across the lifespan

2017-11-23T23:10:58.732705-05:00

Automated segmentation of hippocampal (HC) subfields from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is gaining popularity, but automated procedures that afford high speed and reproducibility have yet to be extensively validated against the standard, manual morphometry. We evaluated the concurrent validity of an automated method for hippocampal subfields segmentation (automated segmentation of hippocampal subfields, ASHS; Yushkevich et al., ) using a customized atlas of the HC body, with manual morphometry as a standard. We built a series of customized atlases comprising the entorhinal cortex (ERC) and subfields of the HC body from manually segmented images, and evaluated the correspondence of automated segmentations with manual morphometry. In samples with age ranges of 6–24 and 62–79 years, 20 participants each, we obtained validity coefficients (intraclass correlations, ICC) and spatial overlap measures (dice similarity coefficient) that varied substantially across subfields. Anterior and posterior HC body evidenced the greatest discrepancies between automated and manual segmentations. Adding anterior and posterior slices for atlas creation and truncating automated output to the ranges manually defined by multiple neuroanatomical landmarks substantially improved the validity of automated segmentation, yielding ICC above 0.90 for all subfields and alleviating systematic bias. We cross-validated the developed atlas on an independent sample of 30 healthy adults (age 31–84) and obtained good to excellent agreement: ICC (2) = 0.70–0.92. Thus, with described customization steps implemented by experts trained in MRI neuroanatomy, ASHS shows excellent concurrent validity, and can become a promising method for studying age-related changes in HC subfield volumes.



Influence of ventral tegmental area input on cortico-subcortical networks underlying action control and decision making

2017-11-22T08:20:38.230174-05:00

It is argued that the mesolimbic system has a more general function in processing all salient events, including and extending beyond rewards. Saliency was defined as an event that is unexpected due to its frequency of occurrence and elicits an attentional-behavioral switch. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), signals were measured in response to the modulation of salience of rewarding and nonrewarding events during a reward-based decision making task, the so called desire-reason dilemma paradigm (DRD). Replicating previous findings, both frequent and infrequent, and therefore salient, reward stimuli elicited reliable activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and ventral striatum (vStr). When immediate reward desiring contradicted the superordinate task-goal, we found an increased activation of the VTA and vStr when the salient reward stimuli were presented compared to the nonsalient reward stimuli, indicating a boosting of activation in these brain regions. Furthermore, we found a significantly increased functional connectivity between the VTA and vStr, confirming the boosting of vStr activation via VTA input. Moreover, saliency per se without a reward association led to an increased activation of brain regions in the mesolimbic reward system as well as the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Finally, findings uncovered multiple increased functional interactions between cortical saliency-processing brain areas and the VTA and vStr underlying detection and processing of salient events and adaptive decision making.



Regionally specific changes in the hippocampal circuitry accompany progression of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

2017-11-21T23:21:21.162264-05:00

Neuropathological and in vivo brain imaging studies agree that the cornu ammonis 1 and subiculum subfields of the hippocampus are most vulnerable to atrophy in the prodromal phases of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, there has been limited investigation of the structural integrity of the components of the hippocampal circuit, including subfields and extra-hippocampal white matter structure, in relation to the progression of well-accepted cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of AD, amyloid-β 1-42 (Aβ) and total-tau (tau). We investigated these relationships in 88 aging asymptomatic individuals with a parental or multiple-sibling familial history of AD. Apolipoprotein (APOE) ɛ4 risk allele carriers were identified, and all participants underwent cognitive testing, structural magnetic resonance imaging, and lumbar puncture for CSF assays of tau, phosphorylated-tau (p-tau) and Aβ. Individuals with a reduction in CSF Aβ levels (an indicator of amyloid accretion into neuritic plaques) as well as evident tau pathology (believed to be linked to neurodegeneration) exhibited lower subiculum volume, lower fornix microstructural integrity, and a trend towards lower cognitive score than individuals who showed only reduction in CSF Aβ. In contrast, persons with normal levels of tau showed an increase in structural MR markers in relation to declining levels of CSF Aβ. These results suggest that hippocampal subfield volume and extra-hippocampal white matter microstructure demonstrate a complex pattern where an initial volume increase is followed by decline among asymptomatic individuals who, in some instances, may be a decade or more away from onset of cognitive or functional impairment.



Reproducibility of EEG-MEG fusion source analysis of interictal spikes: Relevance in presurgical evaluation of epilepsy

2017-11-21T23:21:04.997807-05:00

Fusion of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data using maximum entropy on the mean method (MEM-fusion) takes advantage of the complementarities between EEG and MEG to improve localization accuracy. Simulation studies demonstrated MEM-fusion to be robust especially in noisy conditions such as single spike source localizations (SSSL). Our objective was to assess the reliability of SSSL using MEM-fusion on clinical data. We proposed to cluster SSSL results to find the most reliable and consistent source map from the reconstructed sources, the so-called consensus map. Thirty-four types of interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) were analyzed from 26 patients with well-defined epileptogenic focus. SSSLs were performed on EEG, MEG, and fusion data and consensus maps were estimated using hierarchical clustering. Qualitative (spike-to-spike reproducibility rate, SSR) and quantitative (localization error and spatial dispersion) assessments were performed using the epileptogenic focus as clinical reference. Fusion SSSL provided significantly better results than EEG or MEG alone. Fusion found at least one cluster concordant with the clinical reference in all cases. This concordant cluster was always the one involving the highest number of spikes. Fusion yielded highest reproducibility (SSR EEG = 55%, MEG = 71%, fusion = 90%) and lowest localization error. Also, using only few channels from either modality (21EEG + 272MEG or 54EEG + 25MEG) was sufficient to reach accurate fusion. MEM-fusion with consensus map approach provides an objective way of finding the most reliable and concordant generators of IEDs. We, therefore, suggest the pertinence of SSSL using MEM-fusion as a valuable clinical tool for presurgical evaluation of epilepsy.



Functional connectivity changes following interpersonal reactivity

2017-11-21T23:20:52.852599-05:00

Attachment experiences substantially influence emotional and cognitive development. Narratives comprising attachment-dependent content were proposed to modulate activation of cognitive-emotional schemata in listeners. We studied the effects after listening to prototypical attachment narratives on wellbeing and countertransference-reactions in 149 healthy participants. Neural correlates of these cognitive-emotional schema activations were investigated in a 7 Tesla rest-task-rest fMRI-study (23 healthy males) using functional connectivity (FC) analysis of the social approach network (seed regions: left and right Caudate Nucleus, CN). Reduced FC between left CN and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) represented a general effect of prior auditory stimulation. After presentation of the insecure-dismissing narrative, FC between left CN and bilateral temporo-parietal junction, and right dorsal posterior Cingulum was reduced, compared to baseline. Post-narrative FC-patterns of insecure-dismissing and insecure-preoccupied narratives differed in strength between left CN and right DLPFC. Neural correlates of the moderating effect of individual attachment anxiety were represented in a reduced CN-DLPFC FC as a function of individual neediness-levels. These findings suggest specific neural processing of prolonged mood-changes and schema activation induced by attachment-specific speech patterns. Individual desire for interpersonal proximity was predicted by attachment anxiety and furthermore modulated FC of the social approach network in those exposed to such narratives.



Task-related changes in degree centrality and local coherence of the posterior cingulate cortex after major cardiac surgery in older adults

2017-11-21T23:20:47.361916-05:00

Objectives Older adults often display postoperative cognitive decline (POCD) after surgery, yet it is unclear to what extent functional connectivity (FC) alterations may underlie these deficits. We examined for postoperative voxel-wise FC changes in response to increased working memory load demands in cardiac surgery patients and nonsurgical controls. Experimental design Older cardiac surgery patients (n = 25) completed a verbal N-back working memory task during MRI scanning and cognitive testing before and 6 weeks after surgery; nonsurgical controls with cardiac disease (n = 26) underwent these assessments at identical time intervals. We measured postoperative changes in degree centrality, the number of edges attached to a brain node, and local coherence, the temporal homogeneity of regional functional correlations, using voxel-wise graph theory-based FC metrics. Group × time differences were evaluated in these FC metrics associated with increased N-back working memory load (2-back > 1-back), using a two-stage partitioned variance, mixed ANCOVA. Principal observations Cardiac surgery patients demonstrated postoperative working memory load-related degree centrality increases in the left dorsal posterior cingulate cortex (dPCC; p < .001, cluster p-FWE < .05). The dPCC also showed a postoperative increase in working memory load-associated local coherence (p < .001, cluster p-FWE < .05). dPCC degree centrality and local coherence increases were inversely associated with global cognitive change in surgery patients (p < .01), but not in controls. Conclusions Cardiac surgery patients showed postoperative increases in working memory load-associated degree centrality and local coherence of the dPCC that were inversely associated with postoperative global cognitive outcomes and independent of perioperative cerebrovascular damage.



Brain responses to social norms: Meta-analyses of fMRI studies

2017-11-21T08:51:06.566427-05:00

Social norms have a critical role in everyday decision-making, as frequent interaction with others regulates our behavior. Neuroimaging studies show that social-based and fairness-related decision-making activates an inconsistent set of areas, which sometimes includes the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and others lateral prefrontal cortices. Social-based decision-making is complex and variability in findings may be driven by socio-cognitive activities related to social norms. To distinguish among social-cognitive activities related to social norms, we identified 36 eligible articles in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature, which we separate into two categories (a) social norm representation and (b) norm violations. The majority of original articles (>60%) used tasks associated with fairness norms and decision-making, such as ultimatum game, dictator game, or prisoner's dilemma; the rest used tasks associated to violation of moral norms, such as scenarios and sentences of moral depravity ratings. Using quantitative meta-analyses, we report common and distinct brain areas that show concordance as a function of category. Specifically, concordance in ventromedial prefrontal regions is distinct to social norm representation processing, whereas concordance in right insula, dorsolateral prefrontal, and dorsal cingulate cortices is distinct to norm violation processing. We propose a neurocognitive model of social norms for healthy adults, which could help guide future research in social norm compliance and mechanisms of its enforcement.



Mapping the structural and functional network architecture of the medial temporal lobe using 7T MRI

2017-11-20T23:20:49.541749-05:00

Medial temporal lobe (MTL) subregions play integral roles in memory function and are differentially affected in various neurological and psychiatric disorders. The ability to structurally and functionally characterize these subregions may be important to understanding MTL physiology and diagnosing diseases involving the MTL. In this study, we characterized network architecture of the MTL in healthy subjects (n = 31) using both resting state functional MRI and MTL-focused T2-weighted structural MRI at 7 tesla. Ten MTL subregions per hemisphere, including hippocampal subfields and cortical regions of the parahippocampal gyrus, were segmented for each subject using a multi-atlas algorithm. Both structural covariance matrices from correlations of subregion volumes across subjects, and functional connectivity matrices from correlations between subregion BOLD time series were generated. We found a moderate structural and strong functional inter-hemispheric symmetry. Several bilateral hippocampal subregions (CA1, dentate gyrus, and subiculum) emerged as functional network hubs. We also observed that the structural and functional networks naturally separated into two modules closely corresponding to (a) bilateral hippocampal formations, and (b) bilateral extra-hippocampal structures. Finally, we found a significant correlation in structural and functional connectivity (r = 0.25). Our findings represent a comprehensive analysis of network topology of the MTL at the subregion level. We share our data, methods, and findings as a reference for imaging methods and disease-based research.



Altered frontal interhemispheric and fronto-limbic structural connectivity in unmedicated adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder

2017-11-16T23:20:36.728535-05:00

Background Previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) have primarily used voxel- or tract-based methods to assess white matter microstructure in medicated patients. This is the first probabilistic tractography study to assess the structural connectivity of all major white matter tracts in unmedicated adults with OCD without comorbid psychopathology. We hypothesized that OCD compared to healthy participants would show reduced integrity in frontal interhemispheric and fronto-limbic tracts. Methods DTI data from 29 unmedicated adults with OCD were compared to that of 27 matched healthy control (HC) participants. TRACULA was used to assess probabilistic tractography and compare groups in the average fractional anisotropy (FA) of 8 bilateral tracts plus forceps minor and major, and explore group differences in axial (AD), radial (RD), and mean (MD) diffusivities in tracts where FA differed across groups. Results Significantly less FA was detected in OCD compared to HC participants in forceps minor, interhemispheric fibers of the frontal cortex, and right uncinate fasciculus (UNC), association fibers connecting frontal and limbic regions (p's < .05). FA in forceps minor was inversely associated with symptom severity in the OCD participants. Exploratory analyses revealed less AD in right UNC was inversely associated with OCD symptoms. Conclusions Structural connectivity of frontal interhemispheric and fronto-limbic circuits may be altered in unmedicated adults with OCD, especially those with the most severe symptoms. These findings suggest a microstructural basis for the abnormal function and reduced resting-state connectivity of frontal regions and fronto-limbic circuits in OCD.



Chronnectome fingerprinting: Identifying individuals and predicting higher cognitive functions using dynamic brain connectivity patterns

2017-11-15T23:16:51.072212-05:00

The human brain is a large, interacting dynamic network, and its architecture of coupling among brain regions varies across time (termed the “chronnectome”). However, very little is known about whether and how the dynamic properties of the chronnectome can characterize individual uniqueness, such as identifying individuals as a “fingerprint” of the brain. Here, we employed multiband resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from the Human Connectome Project (N = 105) and a sliding time-window dynamic network analysis approach to systematically examine individual time-varying properties of the chronnectome. We revealed stable and remarkable individual variability in three dynamic characteristics of brain connectivity (i.e., strength, stability, and variability), which was mainly distributed in three higher order cognitive systems (i.e., default mode, dorsal attention, and fronto-parietal) and in two primary systems (i.e., visual and sensorimotor). Intriguingly, the spatial patterns of these dynamic characteristics of brain connectivity could successfully identify individuals with high accuracy and could further significantly predict individual higher cognitive performance (e.g., fluid intelligence and executive function), which was primarily contributed by the higher order cognitive systems. Together, our findings highlight that the chronnectome captures inherent functional dynamics of individual brain networks and provides implications for individualized characterization of health and disease.



Spontaneous neural activity differences in posttraumatic stress disorder: A quantitative resting-state meta-analysis and fMRI validation

2017-11-15T23:16:42.409181-05:00

Identifying the pathophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a critical step toward reducing its debilitating impact. Spontaneous neural activity, measured at rest using various neuroimaging techniques (e.g., regional homogeneity [ReHo], amplitude of low frequency fluctuations [ALFF]), can provide insight about baseline neurobiological factors influencing sensory, cognitive, or behavioral processes associated with PTSD. The present study used activation likelihood estimation (ALE) to conduct the largest-to-date quantitative meta-analysis of spontaneous neural activity in PTSD, including 457 PTSD cases, 292 trauma-exposed controls (TECs), and 293 non-traumatized controls (NTCs) across 22 published studies. Five regions-of-interest (ROIs) were identified where activity differed between PTSD cases and controls: one when compared to all controls (left globus pallidus), two when compared to TECs (left inferior parietal lobule [IPL] and right lingual gyrus), and two when compared to NTCs (left amygdala and right caudate head). To corroborate these results, a second analysis was conducted using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging on an independent sample of 205 previously-deployed US military veterans. In this analysis, converging evidence from ReHo and ALFF showed that spontaneous neural activity in the left IPL alone was positively correlated with PTSD symptom severity. This result is consistent with theoretical accounts that link left IPL activity with PTSD-relevant processes such as processing of emotional stimuli (e.g., fearful faces) and the extent that attention is captured by salient autobiographical memories. By modeling the neurobiological correlates of PTSD, we can increase our understanding of this debilitating disorder and guide the development of future clinical innovations.



Central pain processing in “drug-naïve” pain-free patients with Parkinson's disease

2017-11-15T23:16:36.563641-05:00

Background Despite its clinical relevance, the pathophysiology of pain in Parkinson's disease (PD) is still largely unknown, and both central and peripheral mechanisms have been invoked. Objectives To investigate whether central pain processing is altered in “drug-naive” pain-free PD (dnPD) patients. Methods Using event-related functional MRI (fMRI), functional response to forearm heat stimulation (FHS) at two different intensities (41°C and 53°C) was investigated in 20 pain-free dnPD patients, compared with 18 healthy controls (HCs). Secondary analyses were performed to evaluate associations between BOLD signal changes and PD clinical features and behavioral responses. Results During low-innocuous FHS (41°C), no activation differences were found between dnPD patients and HCs. During high-noxious FHS (53°C) a significantly increased activation in the left somatosensory cortex, left cerebellum, and right low pons was observed in dnPD patients compared to HCs. In the latter experimental condition, fMRI BOLD signal changes in the right low pons (p < .0001; R = −0.8) and in the cerebellum (p = .004; R = −0.7) were negatively correlated with pain intensity ratings only in dnPD patients. No statistically significant difference in experimental pain perception was detected between dnPD patients and HCs. Conclusions Our findings suggest that a functional remodulation of pain processing pathways occurs even in the absence of clinically overt pain symptoms in dnPD patients. These mechanisms may eventually become dysfunctional over time, contributing to the emergence of pain symptoms in more advanced PD stages. The comprehension of pain-related mechanisms may improve the clinical approach and therapeutic management of this disabling nonmotor symptom.



Association between structural brain network efficiency and intelligence increases during adolescence

2017-11-14T23:21:29.940741-05:00

Adolescence represents an important period during which considerable changes in the brain take place, including increases in integrity of white matter bundles, and increasing efficiency of the structural brain network. A more efficient structural brain network has been associated with higher intelligence. Whether development of structural network efficiency is related to intelligence, and if so to which extent genetic and environmental influences are implicated in their association, is not known. In a longitudinal study, we mapped FA-weighted efficiency of the structural brain network in 310 twins and their older siblings at an average age of 10, 13, and 18 years. Age-trajectories of global and local FA-weighted efficiency were related to intelligence. Contributions of genes and environment were estimated using structural equation modeling. Efficiency of brain networks changed in a non-linear fashion from childhood to early adulthood, increasing between 10 and 13 years, and leveling off between 13 and 18 years. Adolescents with higher intelligence had higher global and local network efficiency. The dependency of FA-weighted global efficiency on IQ increased during adolescence (rph=0.007 at age 10; 0.23 at age 18). Global efficiency was significantly heritable during adolescence (47% at age 18). The genetic correlation between intelligence and global and local efficiency increased with age; genes explained up to 87% of the observed correlation at age 18. In conclusion, the brain's structural network differentiates depending on IQ during adolescence, and is under increasing influence of genes that are also associated with intelligence as it develops from late childhood to adulthood.



Neural mechanisms of interference control in working memory capacity

2017-11-14T23:15:49.50353-05:00

The extent to which one can use cognitive resources to keep information in working memory is known to rely on (1) active maintenance of target representations and (2) downregulation of interference from irrelevant representations. Neurobiologically, the global capacity of working memory is thought to depend on the prefrontal and parietal cortices; however, the neural mechanisms involved in controlling interference specifically in working memory capacity tasks remain understudied. In this study, 22 healthy participants completed a modified complex working memory capacity task (Reading Span) with trials of varying levels of interference control demands while undergoing functional MRI. Neural activity associated with interference control demands was examined separately during encoding and recall phases of the task. Results suggested a widespread network of regions in the prefrontal, parietal, and occipital cortices, and the cingulate and cerebellum associated with encoding, and parietal and occipital regions associated with recall. Results align with prior findings emphasizing the importance of frontoparietal circuits for working memory performance, including the role of the inferior frontal gyrus, cingulate, occipital cortex, and cerebellum in regulation of interference demands.



Cognitive abilities, brain white matter hyperintensity volume, and structural network connectivity in older age

2017-11-14T23:15:44.559606-05:00

Objective To assess brain structural connectivity in relation to cognitive abilities in healthy ageing, and the mediating effects of white matter hyper-intensity (WMH) volume. Methods MRI data were analysed in 558 members of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Brains were segmented into 85 regions and combined with tractography to generate structural connectomes. WMH volume was quantified. Relationships between whole-brain connectivity, assessed using graph theory metrics, and four major domains of cognitive ability (visuospatial reasoning, verbal memory, information processing speed and crystallized ability) were investigated, as was the mediating effects of WMH volume on these relationships. Results Visuospatial reasoning was associated with network strength, mean shortest path length, and global efficiency. Memory was not associated with any network connectivity metric. Information processing speed and crystallized ability were associated with all network measures. Some relationships were lost when adjusted for mean network FA. WMH volume mediated 11%–15% of the relationships between most network measures and information processing speed, even after adjusting for mean network FA. Conclusion Brain structural connectivity relates to visuospatial reasoning, information processing speed and crystallized ability, but not memory, in this relatively healthy age-homogeneous cohort of 73 year olds. When adjusted for mean FA across the network, most relationships are lost, except with information processing speed suggesting that the underlying topological network structure is related to this cognitive domain. Moreover, the connectome-processing speed relationship is partly mediated by WMH volume in this cohort. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Brain networks of the imaginative mind: Dynamic functional connectivity of default and cognitive control networks relates to openness to experience

2017-11-14T10:45:26.834275-05:00

Imagination and creative cognition are often associated with the brain's default network (DN). Recent evidence has also linked cognitive control systems to performance on tasks involving imagination and creativity, with a growing number of studies reporting functional interactions between cognitive control and DN regions. We sought to extend the emerging literature on brain dynamics supporting imagination by examining individual differences in large-scale network connectivity in relation to Openness to Experience, a personality trait typified by imagination and creativity. To this end, we obtained personality and resting-state fMRI data from two large samples of participants recruited from the United States and China, and we examined contributions of Openness to temporal shifts in default and cognitive control network interactions using multivariate structural equation modeling and dynamic functional network connectivity analysis. In Study 1, we found that Openness was related to the proportion of scan time (i.e., “dwell time”) that participants spent in a brain state characterized by positive correlations among the default, executive, salience, and dorsal attention networks. Study 2 replicated and extended the effect of Openness on dwell time in a correlated brain state comparable to the state found in Study 1, and further demonstrated the robustness of this effect in latent variable models including fluid intelligence and other major personality factors. The findings suggest that Openness to Experience is associated with increased functional connectivity between default and cognitive control systems, a connectivity profile that may account for the enhanced imaginative and creative abilities of people high in Openness to Experience.



Cortical hemispheric asymmetries are present at young ages and further develop into adolescence

2017-11-13T23:15:46.339606-05:00

Specialization of the auditory cortices for pure tone listening may develop with age. In adults, the right hemisphere dominates when listening to pure tones and music; we thus hypothesized that (a) asymmetric function between auditory cortices increases with age and (b) this development is specific to tonal rather than broadband/non-tonal stimuli. Cortical responses to tone-bursts and broadband click-trains were recorded by multichannel electroencephalography in young children (5.1 ± 0.8 years old) and adolescents (15.2 ± 1.7 years old) with normal hearing. Peak dipole moments indicating activity strength in right and left auditory cortices were calculated using the Time Restricted, Artefact and Coherence source Suppression (TRACS) beamformer. Monaural click-trains and tone-bursts in young children evoked a dominant response in the contralateral right cortex by left ear stimulation and, similarly, a contralateral left cortex response to click-trains in the right ear. Responses to tone-bursts in the right ear were more bilateral. In adolescents, peak activity dominated in the right cortex in most conditions (tone-bursts from either ear and to clicks from the left ear). Bilateral activity was evoked by right ear click stimulation. Thus, right hemispheric specialization for monaural tonal stimuli begins in children as young as 5 years of age and becomes more prominent by adolescence. These changes were marked by consistent dipole moments in the right auditory cortex with age in contrast to decreases in dipole activity in all other stimulus conditions. Together, the findings reveal increasingly asymmetric function for the two auditory cortices, potentially to support greater cortical specialization with development into adolescence.



Superior colliculus resting state networks in post-traumatic stress disorder and its dissociative subtype

2017-11-13T23:15:34.343006-05:00

Objectives The innate alarm system (IAS) models the neurocircuitry involved in threat processing in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, we investigate a primary subcortical structure of the IAS model, the superior colliculus (SC), where the SC is thought to contribute to the mechanisms underlying threat-detection in PTSD. Critically, the functional connectivity between the SC and other nodes of the IAS remains unexplored. Experimental design We conducted a resting-state fMRI study to investigate the functional architecture of the IAS, focusing on connectivity of the SC in PTSD (n = 67), its dissociative subtype (n = 41), and healthy controls (n = 50) using region-of-interest seed-based analysis. Principal observations We observed group-specific resting state functional connectivity between the SC for both PTSD and its dissociative subtype, indicative of dedicated IAS collicular pathways in each group of patients. When comparing PTSD to its dissociative subtype, we observed increased resting state functional connectivity between the left SC and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in PTSD. The DLPFC is involved in modulation of emotional processes associated with active defensive responses characterising PTSD. Moreover, when comparing PTSD to its dissociative subtype, increased resting state functional connectivity was observed between the right SC and the right temporoparietal junction in the dissociative subtype. The temporoparietal junction is involved in depersonalization responses associated with passive defensive responses typical of the dissociative subtype. Conclusions Our findings suggest that unique resting state functional connectivity of the SC parallels the unique symptom profile and defensive responses observed in PTSD and its dissociative subtype. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Differences between child and adult large-scale functional brain networks for reading tasks

2017-11-09T23:22:04.649798-05:00

Reading is an important high-level cognitive function of the human brain, requiring interaction among multiple brain regions. Revealing differences between children's large-scale functional brain networks for reading tasks and those of adults helps us to understand how the functional network changes over reading development. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging data of 17 adults (19–28 years old) and 16 children (11–13 years old), and graph theoretical analyses to investigate age-related changes in large-scale functional networks during rhyming and meaning judgment tasks on pairs of visually presented Chinese characters. We found that: (1) adults had stronger inter-regional connectivity and nodal degree in occipital regions, while children had stronger inter-regional connectivity in temporal regions, suggesting that adults rely more on visual orthographic processing whereas children rely more on auditory phonological processing during reading. (2) Only adults showed between-task differences in inter-regional connectivity and nodal degree, whereas children showed no task differences, suggesting the topological organization of adults’ reading network is more specialized. (3) Children showed greater inter-regional connectivity and nodal degree than adults in multiple subcortical regions; the hubs in children were more distributed in subcortical regions while the hubs in adults were more distributed in cortical regions. These findings suggest that reading development is manifested by a shift from reliance on subcortical to cortical regions. Taken together, our study suggests that Chinese reading development is supported by developmental changes in brain connectivity properties, and some of these changes may be domain-general while others may be specific to the reading domain.



Impact of different intensities of intermittent theta burst stimulation on the cortical properties during TMS-EEG and working memory performance

2017-11-09T23:21:41.656969-05:00

Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation technique capable of increasing cortical excitability beyond the stimulation period. Due to the rapid induction of modulatory effects, prefrontal application of iTBS is gaining popularity as a therapeutic tool for psychiatric disorders such as depression. In an attempt to increase efficacy, higher than conventional intensities are currently being applied. The assumption that this increases neuromodulatory may be mechanistically false for iTBS. This study examined the influence of intensity on the neurophysiological and behavioural effects of iTBS in the prefrontal cortex. Sixteen healthy participants received iTBS over prefrontal cortex at either 50, 75 or 100% resting motor threshold in separate sessions. Single-pulse TMS and concurrent electroencephalography (EEG) was used to assess changes in cortical reactivity measured as TMS-evoked potentials and oscillations. The n-back task was used to assess changes in working memory performance. The data can be summarised as an inverse U-shape relationship between intensity and iTBS plastic effects, where 75% iTBS yielded the largest neurophysiological changes. Improvement in reaction time in the 3-back task was supported by the change in alpha power, however, comparison between conditions revealed no significant differences. The assumption that higher intensity results in greater neuromodulatory effects may be false, at least in healthy individuals, and should be carefully considered for clinical populations. Neurophysiological changes associated with working memory following iTBS suggest functional relevance. However, the effects of different intensities on behavioural performance remain elusive in the present healthy sample.



A dimensional approach to determine common and specific neurofunctional markers for depression and social anxiety during emotional face processing

2017-11-06T05:42:24.560506-05:00

Major depression disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorder are both prevalent and debilitating. High rates of comorbidity between MDD and social anxiety disorder (SAD) suggest common pathological pathways, including aberrant neural processing of interpersonal signals. In patient populations, the determination of common and distinct neurofunctional markers of MDD and SAD is often hampered by confounding factors, such as generally elevated anxiety levels and disorder-specific brain structural alterations. This study employed a dimensional disorder approach to map neurofunctional markers associated with levels of depression and social anxiety symptoms in a cohort of 91 healthy subjects using an emotional face processing paradigm. Examining linear associations between levels of depression and social anxiety, while controlling for trait anxiety revealed that both were associated with exaggerated dorsal striatal reactivity to fearful and sad expression faces respectively. Exploratory analysis revealed that depression scores were positively correlated with dorsal striatal functional connectivity during processing of fearful faces, whereas those of social anxiety showed a negative association during processing of sad faces. No linear relationships between levels of depression and social anxiety were observed during a facial-identity matching task or with brain structure. Together, the present findings indicate that dorsal striatal neurofunctional alterations might underlie aberrant interpersonal processing associated with both increased levels of depression and social anxiety.



Tau PET imaging predicts cognition in atypical variants of Alzheimer's disease

2017-11-06T00:55:50.988074-05:00

Accumulation of paired helical filament tau contributes to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). 18F-flortaucipir is a positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand sensitive to tau in AD, but its clinical utility will depend in part on its ability to predict cognitive symptoms in diverse dementia phenotypes associated with selective, regional uptake. We examined associations between 18F-flortaucipir and cognition in 14 mildly-impaired patients (12 with cerebrospinal fluid analytes consistent with AD pathology) who had amnestic (n = 5) and non-amnestic AD syndromes, including posterior cortical atrophy (PCA, n = 5) and logopenic-variant primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA, n = 4). Amnestic AD patients had deficits in memory; lvPPA in language; and both amnestic AD and PCA patients in visuospatial function. Associations with cognition were tested using sparse regression and compared to associations in anatomical regions-of-interest (ROIs). 18F-flortaucipir uptake was expected to show regionally-specific correlations with each domain. In multivariate analyses, uptake was elevated in neocortical areas specifically associated with amnestic and non-amnestic syndromes. Uptake in left anterior superior temporal gyrus accounted for 67% of the variance in language performance. Uptake in right lingual gyrus predicted 85% of the variance in visuospatial performance. Memory was predicted by uptake in right fusiform gyrus and cuneus as well as a cluster comprising right anterior hippocampus and amygdala; this eigenvector explained 57% of the variance in patients' scores. These results provide converging evidence for associations between 18F-flortaucipir uptake, tau pathology, and patients' cognitive symptoms.



Altered structure and functional connection in patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia

2017-11-06T00:55:33.897805-05:00

Classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a specific type of neuropathic orofacial pain of which the plasticity of brain structure and connectivity have remained largely unknown. A total of 62 TN patients were included and referred to MRI scans. Voxel-based morphometry was used to analyze the change of gray matter volume. Resting-state functional imaging was used to analyze the connectivity between brain regions. The results showed gray matter volume reduction in components of the prefrontal cortex, precentral gyrus, cerebellar tonsil, thalamus, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbens among right TN patient and in the inferior frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, cerebellum, thalamus, ventral striatum, and putamen among left TN patients. The connections between the right superior frontal gyrus and right middle frontal gyrus were lower in right TN patients. The connection between the left precentral gyrus and the left superior frontal gyrus was lower while the connection between bilateral thalamus was higher in left TN patients. The changes of volume in bilateral thalamus of right TN patients and left ventral striatum of left TN patients, and the connectivity between bilateral thalamus of left TN patients were moderately correlated with pain duration. These findings suggest that brain regions such as the thalamus may not only be involved in processing of pain stimuli but also be important for the development of TN. The left hemisphere may be dominant in processing and modulation of TN pain signal. Chronification of TN induces volume changes in brain regions which are associated with emotional or cognitive modulation of pain. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Different shades of default mode disturbance in schizophrenia: Subnodal covariance estimation in structure and function

2017-11-03T07:05:55.982338-05:00

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental disease with an apparent disruption in the highly associative default mode network (DMN). Interplay between this canonical network and others probably contributes to goal-directed behavior so its disturbance is a candidate neural fingerprint underlying schizophrenia psychopathology. Previous research has reported both hyperconnectivity and hypoconnectivity within the DMN, and both increased and decreased DMN coupling with the multimodal saliency network (SN) and dorsal attention network (DAN). This study systematically revisited network disruption in patients with schizophrenia using data-derived network atlases and multivariate pattern-learning algorithms in a multisite dataset (n = 325). Resting-state fluctuations in unconstrained brain states were used to estimate functional connectivity, and local volume differences between individuals were used to estimate structural co-occurrence within and between the DMN, SN, and DAN. In brain structure and function, sparse inverse covariance estimates of network coupling were used to characterize healthy participants and patients with schizophrenia, and to identify statistically significant group differences. Evidence did not confirm that the backbone of the DMN was the primary driver of brain dysfunction in schizophrenia. Instead, functional and structural aberrations were frequently located outside of the DMN core, such as in the anterior temporoparietal junction and precuneus. Additionally, functional covariation analyses highlighted dysfunctional DMN-DAN coupling, while structural covariation results highlighted aberrant DMN-SN coupling. Our findings reframe the role of the DMN core and its relation to canonical networks in schizophrenia. We thus underline the importance of large-scale neural interactions as effective biomarkers and indicators of how to tailor psychiatric care to single patients.



Increased functional connectivity in the ventral and dorsal streams during retrieval of novel words in professional musicians

2017-11-03T07:05:27.737596-05:00

Current models of speech and language processing postulate the involvement of two parallel processing streams (the dual stream model): a ventral stream involved in mapping sensory and phonological representations onto lexical and conceptual representations and a dorsal stream contributing to sound-to-motor mapping, articulation, and to how verbal information is encoded and manipulated in memory. Based on previous evidence showing that music training has an influence on language processing, cognitive functions, and word learning, we examined EEG-based intracranial functional connectivity in the ventral and dorsal streams while musicians and nonmusicians learned the meaning of novel words through picture–word associations. In accordance with the dual stream model, word learning was generally associated with increased beta functional connectivity in the ventral stream compared to the dorsal stream. In addition, in the linguistically most demanding “semantic task,” musicians outperformed nonmusicians, and this behavioral advantage was accompanied by increased left-hemispheric theta connectivity in both streams. Moreover, theta coherence in the left dorsal pathway was positively correlated with the number of years of music training. These results provide evidence for a complex interplay within a network of brain regions involved in semantic processing and verbal memory functions, and suggest that intensive music training can modify its functional architecture leading to advantages in novel word learning.



Surface based electrode localization and standardized regions of interest for intracranial EEG

2017-11-02T06:42:14.911578-05:00

Intracranial recordings captured from subdural electrodes in patients with drug resistant epilepsy offer clinicians and researchers a powerful tool for examining neural activity in the human brain with high spatial and temporal precision. There are two major challenges, however, to interpreting these signals both within and across individuals. Anatomical distortions following implantation make accurately identifying the electrode locations difficult. In addition, because each implant involves a unique configuration, comparing neural activity across individuals in a standardized manner has been limited to broad anatomical regions such as cortical lobes or gyri. We address these challenges here by introducing a semi-automated method for localizing subdural electrode contacts to the unique surface anatomy of each individual, and by using a surface-based grid of regions of interest (ROIs) to aggregate electrode data from similar anatomical locations across individuals. Our localization algorithm, which uses only a postoperative CT and preoperative MRI, builds upon previous spring-based optimization approaches by introducing manually identified anchor points directly on the brain surface to constrain the final electrode locations. This algorithm yields an accuracy of 2 mm. Our surface-based ROI approach involves choosing a flexible number of ROIs with different spatial resolutions. ROIs are registered across individuals to represent identical anatomical locations while accounting for the unique curvature of each brain surface. This ROI based approach therefore enables group level statistical testing from spatially precise anatomical regions.



When global rule reversal meets local task switching: The neural mechanisms of coordinated behavioral adaptation to instructed multi-level demand changes

2017-11-02T06:40:57.41852-05:00

Cognitive flexibility is essential to cope with changing task demands and often it is necessary to adapt to combined changes in a coordinated manner. The present fMRI study examined how the brain implements such multi-level adaptation processes. Specifically, on a “local,” hierarchically lower level, switching between two tasks was required across trials while the rules of each task remained unchanged for blocks of trials. On a “global” level regarding blocks of twelve trials, the task rules could reverse or remain the same. The current task was cued at the start of each trial while the current task rules were instructed before the start of a new block. We found that partly overlapping and partly segregated neural networks play different roles when coping with the combination of global rule reversal and local task switching. The fronto-parietal control network (FPN) supported the encoding of reversed rules at the time of explicit rule instruction. The same regions subsequently supported local task switching processes during actual implementation trials, irrespective of rule reversal condition. By contrast, a cortico-striatal network (CSN) including supplementary motor area and putamen was increasingly engaged across implementation trials and more so for rule reversal than for nonreversal blocks, irrespective of task switching condition. Together, these findings suggest that the brain accomplishes the coordinated adaptation to multi-level demand changes by distributing processing resources either across time (FPN for reversed rule encoding and later for task switching) or across regions (CSN for reversed rule implementation and FPN for concurrent task switching).



Perinatal maternal depressive symptoms alter amygdala functional connectivity in girls

2017-11-02T06:40:53.078513-05:00

Perinatal maternal depressive symptoms influence brain development of offspring. Such effects are particularly notable in the amygdala, a key structure involved in emotional processes. This study investigated whether the functional organization of the amygdala varies as a function of pre- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms. The amygdala functional network was assessed using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) in 128 children at age of 4.4 to 4.8 years. Maternal depressive symptoms were obtained at 26 weeks of gestation, 3 months, 1, 2, 3, and 4.5 years after delivery. Linear regression was used to examine associations between maternal depressive symptoms and the amygdala functional network. Prenatal maternal depressive symptoms were significantly associated with the functional connectivity between the amygdala and the cortico-striatal circuitry, especially the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), insula, subgenual anterior cingulate (ACC), temporal pole, and striatum. Interestingly, greater pre- than post-natal depressive symptoms were associated with lower functional connectivity of the left amygdala with the bilateral subgenual ACC and left caudate and with lower functional connectivity of the right amygdala with the left OFC, insula, and temporal pole. These findings were only observed in girls but not in boys. Early exposure to maternal depressive symptoms influenced the functional organization of the cortico-striato-amygdala circuitry, which is intrinsic to emotional perception and regulation in girls. This suggests its roles in the transgenerational transmission of vulnerability for socio-emotional problems and depression. Moreover, this study underscored the importance of gender-dependent developmental pathways in defining the neural circuitry that underlies the risk for depression.



Functional dysconnectivity of the limbic loop of frontostriatal circuits in first-episode, treatment-naive schizophrenia

2017-11-02T06:40:47.606046-05:00

Frontostriatal circuits dysfunction has been implicated in the etiology and psychopathology of patients with schizophrenia (SZ). However, few studies have investigated SZ-related functional connectivity (FC) alterations in discrete frontostriatal circuits and their relationship with pathopsychology in first-episode schizophrenia (FESZ). The goal of this study was to identify dysfunctions in discrete frontostriatal circuits that are associated with key features of FESZ. To this end, a case–control, cross-sectional study was conducted, wherein resting-state (RS) functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) data were collected from 37 treatment-naïve FESZ patients and 29 healthy control (HC) subjects. Seed-based FC analyses were performed by placing six bilateral pairs of seeds within a priori defined subdivisions of the striatum. We observed significantly decreased FC for the FESZ group relative to the HC group [p < .05, family-wise error (FWE)-corrected] in the limbic loop, but not in the sensorimotor or associative loops, of frontostriatal circuitry. Moreover, bilaterally decreased inferior ventral striatum/nucleus accumbens (VSi)-dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) FC within the limbic loop correlated inversely with overall FESZ symptom severity and the disorganization factor score of PANSS. These findings provide new insight into the role of frontostriatal limbic loop hypoconnectivity in early-stage schizophrenia pathology and suggest potential novel therapeutic targets.



Long reaction times are associated with delayed brain activity in lewy body dementia

2017-11-02T06:40:39.330127-05:00

A significant symptom of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is slow cognitive processing or bradyphrenia. In a previous fMRI task-based study, we found slower responses in LBD, accompanied by greater deactivation in the default mode network. In this study, we investigated the timing and magnitude of the activations and deactivations with respect to reaction time to determine whether the slower responses in LBD were associated with delayed neuronal activity. Using fMRI, we examined the magnitude and latency of activations and deactivations during an event-related attention task in 32 patients with LBD and 23 healthy controls using predefined regions of interest. Default mode network deactivations did not significantly differ in their timing between groups or task conditions, while the task-related activations in the parietal, occipital, frontal, and motor cortex were all significantly later in the LBD group. Repeating the analysis with reaction time as a parametric modulator of activation magnitude produced similar findings, with the reaction time modulator being significant in a number of regions including the default mode network, suggesting that the increased deactivation in LBD is partly explained by slower task completion. Our data suggest that the default mode network deactivation is initiated at the start of the task, and remains deactivated until its end, with the increased magnitude of deactivation in LBD reflecting the more prolonged cognitive processing in these patients. These data add substantially to our understanding of the neural origins of bradyphrenia, which will be essential for determining optimum therapeutic strategies for cognitive impairment in LBD. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 The Authors Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Four in vivo g-ratio-weighted imaging methods: Comparability and repeatability at the group level

2017-11-01T07:45:38.267144-05:00

A recent method, denoted in vivo g-ratio-weighted imaging, has related the microscopic g-ratio, only accessible by ex vivo histology, to noninvasive MRI markers for the fiber volume fraction (FVF) and myelin volume fraction (MVF). Different MRI markers have been proposed for g-ratio weighted imaging, leaving open the question which combination of imaging markers is optimal. To address this question, the repeatability and comparability of four g-ratio methods based on different combinations of, respectively, two imaging markers for FVF (tract-fiber density, TFD, and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging, NODDI) and two imaging markers for MVF (magnetization transfer saturation rate, MT, and, from proton density maps, macromolecular tissue volume, MTV) were tested in a scan–rescan experiment in two groups. Moreover, it was tested how the repeatability and comparability were affected by two key processing steps, namely the masking of unreliable voxels (e.g., due to partial volume effects) at the group level and the calibration value used to link MRI markers to MVF (and FVF). Our data showed that repeatability and comparability depend largely on the marker for the FVF (NODDI outperformed TFD), and that they were improved by masking. Overall, the g-ratio method based on NODDI and MT showed the highest repeatability (90%) and lowest variability between groups (3.5%). Finally, our results indicate that the calibration procedure is crucial, for example, calibration to a lower g-ratio value (g = 0.6) than the commonly used one (g = 0.7) can change not only repeatability and comparability but also the reported dependency on the FVF imaging marker. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Motion artifact in studies of functional connectivity: Characteristics and mitigation strategies

2017-11-01T07:45:29.443267-05:00

Motion artifacts are now recognized as a major methodological challenge for studies of functional connectivity. As in-scanner motion is frequently correlated with variables of interest such as age, clinical status, cognitive ability, and symptom severity, in-scanner motion has the potential to introduce systematic bias. In this article, we describe how motion-related artifacts influence measures of functional connectivity and discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of commonly used denoising strategies. Furthermore, we illustrate how motion can bias inference, using a study of brain development as an example. Finally, we highlight directions of ongoing and future research, and provide recommendations for investigators in the field. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Analysis of family-wise error rates in statistical parametric mapping using random field theory

2017-11-01T07:45:20.493696-05:00

This technical report revisits the analysis of family-wise error rates in statistical parametric mapping—using random field theory—reported in (Eklund et al. []: arXiv 1511.01863). Contrary to the understandable spin that these sorts of analyses attract, a review of their results suggests that they endorse the use of parametric assumptions—and random field theory—in the analysis of functional neuroimaging data. We briefly rehearse the advantages parametric analyses offer over nonparametric alternatives and then unpack the implications of (Eklund et al. []: arXiv 1511.01863) for parametric procedures. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 The Authors Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Ventral striatal network connectivity reflects reward learning and behavior in patients with Parkinson's disease

2017-10-31T00:10:45.573827-05:00

A subgroup of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with dopaminergic therapy develop compulsive reward-driven behaviors, which can result in life-altering morbidity. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine network guides reward-motivated behavior; however, its role in this treatment-related behavioral phenotype is incompletely understood. Here, mesocorticolimbic network function in PD patients who develop impulsive and compulsive behaviors (ICB) in response to dopamine agonists was assessed using BOLD fMRI. The tested hypothesis was that network connectivity between the ventral striatum and the limbic cortex is elevated in patients with ICB and that reward-learning proficiency reflects the extent of mesocorticolimbic network connectivity. To evaluate this hypothesis, 3.0T BOLD-fMRI was applied to measure baseline functional connectivity on and off dopamine agonist therapy in age and sex-matched PD patients with (n = 19) or without (n = 18) ICB. An incentive-based task was administered to a subset of patients (n = 20) to quantify positively or negatively reinforced learning. Whole-brain voxelwise analyses and region-of-interest-based mixed linear effects modeling were performed. Elevated ventral striatal connectivity to the anterior cingulate gyrus (P = 0.013), orbitofrontal cortex (P = 0.034), insula (P = 0.044), putamen (P = 0.014), globus pallidus (P < 0.01), and thalamus (P < 0.01) was observed in patients with ICB. A strong trend for elevated amygdala-to-midbrain connectivity was found in ICB patients on dopamine agonist. Ventral striatum-to-subgenual cingulate connectivity correlated with reward learning (P < 0.01), but not with punishment-avoidance learning. These data indicate that PD-ICB patients have elevated network connectivity in the mesocorticolimbic network. Behaviorally, proficient reward-based learning is related to this enhanced limbic and ventral striatal connectivity. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Top–down signal transmission and global hyperconnectivity in auditory-visual synesthesia: Evidence from a functional EEG resting-state study

2017-10-31T00:10:33.915131-05:00

Auditory-visual (AV) synesthesia is a rare phenomenon in which an auditory stimulus induces a “concurrent” color sensation. Current neurophysiological models of synesthesia mainly hypothesize “hyperconnected” and “hyperactivated” brains, but differ in the directionality of signal transmission. The two-stage model proposes bottom–up signal transmission from inducer- to concurrent- to higher-order brain areas, whereas the disinhibited feedback model postulates top–down signal transmission from inducer- to higher-order- to concurrent brain areas. To test the different models of synesthesia, we estimated local current density, directed and undirected connectivity patterns in the intracranial space during 2 min of resting-state (RS) EEG in 11 AV synesthetes and 11 nonsynesthetes. AV synesthetes demonstrated increased parietal theta, alpha, and lower beta current density compared to nonsynesthetes. Furthermore, AV synesthetes were characterized by increased top–down signal transmission from the superior parietal lobe to the left color processing area V4 in the upper beta frequency band. Analyses of undirected connectivity revealed a global, synesthesia-specific hyperconnectivity in the alpha frequency band. The involvement of the superior parietal lobe even during rest is a strong indicator for its key role in AV synesthesia. By demonstrating top–down signal transmission in AV synesthetes, we provide direct support for the disinhibited feedback model of synesthesia. Finally, we suggest that synesthesia is a consequence of global hyperconnectivity. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Reliability of an fMRI paradigm for emotional processing in a multisite longitudinal study: Clarification and implications for statistical power

2017-10-31T00:10:27.292143-05:00

In this commentary, we clarify the meaning of the generalizability-theory-based coefficients reported in our multisite reliability study of fMRI measures of regional brain activation during an emotion processing task (Gee et al., Human Brain Mapping 2015;36:2558–2579). While the original paper reported generalizability and dependability coefficients based on the design of our traveling subjects study (in which each subject was scanned twice at each of eight sites), those coefficients are of limited applicability outside of the reliability study context. Here we report generalizability and dependability coefficients that represent the reliability one can expect for a multisite study, in which a given subject is scanned once on a scanner drawn randomly from the pool of available scanners (i.e., analogous to the more typical multisite study design). We also characterize the implications of a multisite versus single-site study design for statistical power, including Figure 1 that shows sample size requirements to detect activation in two key nodes of the emotion processing circuitry given observed differences in reliability of measurement between single-site and multisite designs.



New evidence for preserved somatosensory pathways in complete spinal cord injury: A fMRI study

2017-10-28T00:21:36.837859-05:00

Trauma to the spinal cord rarely results in complete division of the cord with surviving nerves sometimes remaining silent or failing to function normally. The term motor or sensory discomplete has been used to describe this important but unclassified subgroup of complete SCI. Importantly, silent motor or sensory pathways may contribute to aversive symptoms (spasticity, pain) or improved treatment success. To demonstrate more objectively the presence of subclinical preserved somatosensory pathways in clinically complete SCI, a cross-sectional study using functional MRI (fMRI) was undertaken. The presence of brain activation following innocuous brushing of an insensate region below-injury (great toe) was analyzed in 23 people (19 males (83%), mean ± SD age 43 ± 13 years) with clinically complete (AIS A) SCI with (n = 13) and without (n = 10) below-level neuropathic pain and 21 people without SCI or pain (15 males (71%); mean ± SD age 41 ± 14 years). Location appropriate, significant fMRI brain activation was detected in 48% (n = 11/23) of subjects with clinically complete SCI from below-injury stimulation. No association was found between the presence of subclinical sensory pathways transmitting innocuous mechanical stimuli (dorsal column medical lemniscal) and below-level neuropathic pain (χ2 = 0.034, P = 0.9). The high prevalence of sensory discomplete injuries (∼50% complete SCI) strengthens the case to explore inclusion of this category into the international SCI taxonomy (ISNCSCI). This would ensure more widespread inclusion of discomplete SCI in ongoing pain and motor recovery research. Neurophysiological tests such as fMRI may play a role in this process. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Cortical thickness alterations linked to somatoform and psychological dissociation in functional neurological disorders

2017-10-28T00:21:24.64014-05:00

Background Links between dissociation and functional neurological disorder (FND)/conversion disorder are well-established, yet the pathophysiology of dissociation remains poorly understood. This MRI study investigated structural alterations associated with somatoform and psychological dissociation in FND. We hypothesized that multimodal, paralimbic cingulo-insular regions would relate to the severity of somatoform dissociation in patients with FND. Methods FreeSurfer cortical thickness and subcortical volumetric analyses were performed in 26 patients with motor FND and 27 matched healthy controls. Patients with high dissociation as measured by the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire-20 (SDQ) or Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) were compared to controls in stratified analyses. Within-group analyses were also performed with SDQ and DES scores in patients with FND. All cortical thickness analyses were whole-brain corrected at the cluster-wise level. Results Patients with FND and high somatoform dissociation (SDQ > 35) showed reduced left caudal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) cortical thickness compared to controls. In within-group analyses, SDQ scores inversely correlated with left caudal ACC cortical thickness in patients with FND. Depersonalization/derealization scores positively correlated with right lateral occipital cortical thickness. Both within-group findings remained statistically significant controlling for trait anxiety/depression, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, adverse life events, and motor FND subtypes in post-hoc analyses. Conclusion Using complementary between-group and within-group analyses, an inverse association between somatoform dissociation and left caudal ACC cortical thickness was observed in patients with FND. A positive relationship was also appreciated between depersonalization/derealization severity and cortical thickness in visual association areas. These findings advance our neuropathobiological understanding of dissociation in FND. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



The challenge of forgetting: Neurobiological mechanisms of auditory directed forgetting

2017-10-28T00:21:20.689-05:00

Directed forgetting (DF) is considered an adaptive mechanism to cope with unwanted memories. Understanding it is crucial to develop treatments for disorders in which thought control is an issue. With an item-method DF paradigm in an auditory form, the underlying neurocognitive processes that support auditory DF were investigated. Subjects were asked to perform multi-modal encoding of word-stimuli before knowing whether to remember or forget each word. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that DF is subserved by a right frontal-parietal-cingulate network. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses of the activation of this network show converging evidence suggesting that DF is a complex process in which active inhibition, attentional switching, and working memory are needed to manipulate both unwanted and preferred items. These results indicate that DF is a complex inhibitory mechanism which requires the crucial involvement of brain areas outside prefrontal regions to operate over attentional and working memory processes. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Morphology of subcortical brain nuclei is associated with autonomic function in healthy humans

2017-10-28T00:21:13.333438-05:00

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a brain body interface which serves to maintain homeostasis by influencing a plethora of physiological processes, including metabolism, cardiorespiratory regulation and nociception. Accumulating evidence suggests that ANS function is disturbed in numerous prevalent clinical disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. While the brain is a central hub for regulating autonomic function, the association between resting autonomic activity and subcortical morphology has not been comprehensively studied and thus was our aim. In 27 healthy subjects [14 male and 13 female; mean age 30 years (range 22–53 years)], we quantified resting ANS function using validated indices of cardiac sympathetic index (CSI) and parasympathetic cardiac vagal tone (CVT). High resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired, and differences in subcortical nuclei shape, that is, ‘deformation’, contingent on resting ANS activity were investigated. CSI positively correlated with outward deformation of the brainstem, right nucleus accumbens, right amygdala and bilateral pallidum (all thresholded to corrected P < 0.05). In contrast, parasympathetic CVT negatively correlated with inward deformation of the right amygdala and pallidum (all thresholded to corrected P < 0.05). Left and right putamen volume positively correlated with CVT (r = 0.62, P = 0.0047 and r = 0.59, P = 0.008, respectively), as did the brainstem (r = 0.46, P = 0.049). These data provide novel evidence that resting autonomic state is associated with differences in the shape and volume of subcortical nuclei. Thus, subcortical morphological brain differences in various disorders may partly be attributable to perturbation in autonomic function. Further work is warranted to investigate these findings in clinical populations. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Individualized prediction of schizophrenia based on the whole-brain pattern of altered white matter tract integrity

2017-10-28T00:20:42.071804-05:00

Background A schizophrenia diagnosis relies on characteristic symptoms identified by trained physicians, and is thus prone to subjectivity. This study developed a procedure for the individualized prediction of schizophrenia based on whole-brain patterns of altered white matter tract integrity. Methods The study comprised training (108 patients and 144 controls) and testing (60 patients and 60 controls) groups. Male and female participants were comparable in each group and were analyzed separately. All participants underwent diffusion spectrum imaging of the head, and the data were analyzed using the tract-based automatic analysis method to generate a standardized two-dimensional array of white matter tract integrity, called the connectogram. Unique patterns in the connectogram that most accurately identified schizophrenia were systematically reviewed in the training group. Then, the diagnostic performance of the patterns was individually verified in the testing group by using receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis. Results The performance was high in men (accuracy = 0.85) and satisfactory in women (accuracy = 0.75). In men, the pattern was located in discrete fiber tracts, as has been consistently reported in the literature; by contrast, the pattern was widespread over all tracts in women. These distinct patterns suggest that there is a higher variability in the microstructural alterations in female patients than in male patients. Conclusions The individualized prediction of schizophrenia is feasible based on the different whole-brain patterns of tract integrity. The optimal masks and their corresponding regions in the fiber tracts could serve as potential imaging biomarkers for schizophrenia. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



White matter alterations over the course of two consecutive high-school football seasons and the effect of a jugular compression collar: A preliminary longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging study

2017-10-28T00:20:35.196288-05:00

The cumulative effects of repetitive subclinical head impacts during sports may result in chronic white matter (WM) changes and possibly, neurodegenerative sequelae. In this pilot study, we investigated the longitudinal WM changes over the course of two consecutive high-school football seasons and explored the long-term effects of a jugular vein compression collar on these WM alterations. Diffusion tensor imaging data were prospectively collected both pre- and postseason in the two consecutive seasons. Participants were assigned into either collar or noncollar groups. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) approach and region of interest-based approach were used to quantify changes in WM diffusion properties. Despite comparable exposure to repetitive head impacts, significant reductions in mean, axial, and/or radial diffusivity were identified in Season 1 in multiple WM regions in the noncollar group but not in the collar group. After an 8- to 9-month long off-season, these changes observed in the noncollar group partially and significantly reversed but also remained significantly different from the baseline. In Season 2, trend level WM alterations in the noncollar group were found but located in spatially different regions than Season 1. Last, the WM integrity in the collar group remained unchanged throughout the four time points. In conclusion, we quantitatively assessed the WM structural changes and partial reversal over the course of two consecutive high-school football seasons. In addition, the mitigated WM alterations in athletes in the collar group might indicate potential effect of the collar in ameliorating the changes against repetitive head impacts. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Social comparison in the brain: A coordinate-based meta-analysis of functional brain imaging studies on the downward and upward comparisons

2017-10-24T08:16:08.99347-05:00

Social comparison is ubiquitous across human societies with dramatic influence on people's well-being and decision making. Downward comparison (comparing to worse-off others) and upward comparison (comparing to better-off others) constitute two types of social comparisons that produce different neuropsychological consequences. Based on studies exploring neural signatures associated with downward and upward comparisons, the current study utilized a coordinate-based meta-analysis to provide a refinement of understanding about the underlying neural architecture of social comparison. We identified consistent involvement of the ventral striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in downward comparison and consistent involvement of the anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in upward comparison. These findings fit well with the “common-currency” hypothesis that neural representations of social gain or loss resemble those for non-social reward or loss processing. Accordingly, we discussed our findings in the framework of general reinforcement learning (RL) hypothesis, arguing how social gain/loss induced by social comparisons could be encoded by the brain as a domain-general signal (i.e., prediction errors) serving to adjust people's decisions in social settings. Although the RL account may serve as a heuristic framework for the future research, other plausible accounts on the neuropsychological mechanism of social comparison were also acknowledged. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Differential involvement of nigral subregions in idiopathic parkinson's disease

2017-10-24T08:15:03.176346-05:00

In this study, the prevalence of abnormality in putative nigrosome 1 and nigrosome 4 (N1 and N4, respectively) was investigated in early versus late-stage idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) patients. A total of 128 IPD patients (early stage[n = 89]; late stage[n = 39]) and 15 healthy subjects were scanned for high-resolution (0.5 × 0.5 × 1.0 mm3) multiecho gradient-recalled echo MRI and dopamine transporter PET imaging. The MRI data were processed for susceptibility map-weighted imaging (SMWI) to improve a contrast-to-noise ratio, and the images were resliced at 0.5 mm to define N1 and N4. When each side of N1 and N4 was assessed separately for the loss of hyperintensity by two independent reviewers, the consensus review results showed that in early-stage IPD (178 substantia nigras [SNs]), the loss of hyperintensity was observed more often in only the N1 region (65.2%) when compared to in both N1 and N4 regions (34.8%). In late-stage IPD (78 SNs), on the other hand, the loss in only the N1 region (25.6%) was less prevalent than in both N1 and N4 (74.4%) (P < 0.0001). Additionally, intact SNs (both in N1 and N4) were observed 17 SNs (9.6%) of the early-stage IPD patients, whereas it was not found in any SNs of the late-stage IPD patients (P = 0.005). Moreover, involvement of both N1 and N4 on both sides was found in 19.1% of the early-stage IPD patients, whereas its incidence was higher (61.5%) in the late-stage IPD patients (P < 0.0001), suggesting that the loss of hyperintensity in IPD progresses from N1 to N4 as the disease advances. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Diffuse brain damage in normal tension glaucoma

2017-10-24T08:14:32.044701-05:00

Brain changes within and beyond the visual system have been demonstrated in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), the most common type of glaucoma. These changes have been often interpreted as a neurodegenerative process due, at least partially, to the raised intraocular pressure (IOP). In this context, normal tension glaucoma (NTG), a form of POAG with IOP <21 mm Hg despite the typical glaucomatous findings, represents the most suitable model of glaucoma to test the validity of this hypothesis. We acquired multimodal brain MRI in NTG patients (n = 17) and compared them with demographically matched groups of POAG patients with raised IOP (n = 17) and normal controls (NC, n = 29). Voxelwise statistics was performed with nonparametric permutation testing. Both NTG and POAG patients showed, compared to NC, significantly more gray matter atrophy in both the visual system and in nonvisual brain regions and altered diffusion tensor imaging-derived anatomical connectivity (AC; lower fractional anisotropy and/or higher diffusivities). Compared with NTG, POAG had both more atrophic visual cortex and higher axial diffusivity in nonvisual regions. Functional connectivity (FC) with respect to NC was altered in NTG at short-range level [visual network (VN), ventral attention network] and in POAG at long-range level (between secondary VN and limbic network). FC of POAG was higher than NTG in both VN and executive network. This study provides further evidence that diffuse structural and functional abnormalities across glaucoma brain may be, at least partially, independent of raised IOP and the consequent retinal degeneration. This further defines glaucoma as a condition with neurodegeneration spreading. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Brain stimulation-induced neuroplasticity underlying therapeutic response in phantom sounds

2017-10-24T08:14:18.760434-05:00

Noninvasive brain stimulation can modify phantom sounds for longer periods by modulating neural activity and putatively inducing regional neuroplastic changes. However, treatment response is limited and there are no good demographic or clinical predictors for treatment outcome. We used state-of-the-art voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to investigate whether transcranial magnetic stimulation-induced neuroplasticity determines therapeutic outcome. Sixty subjects chronically experiencing phantom sounds (i.e., tinnitus) received repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of left dorsolateral prefrontal and temporal cortex according to a protocol that has been shown to yield a significantly higher number of treatment responders than sham stimulation and previous stimulation protocols. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was performed before and after rTMS. In VBM whole-brain analyses (P < 0.05, FWE corrected), we assessed longitudinal gray matter changes as well as structural connectivity between the ensuing regions. We observed longitudinal mesoscopic gray matter changes of left dorsolateral prefontal (DLPFC), left operculo-insular, and right inferior temporal cortex (ITC) in responders (N = 22) but not nonresponders (N = 38), as indicated by a group × time interaction and post-hoc tests. These results were neither influenced by age, sex, hearing loss nor by tinnitus laterality, duration, and severity at baseline. Furthermore, we found robust DLPFC–insula and insula–ITC connectivity in responders, while only relatively weak DLPFC–insula connectivity and no insula–ITC connectivity could be demonstrated in nonresponders. Our results reinforce the implication of nonauditory brain regions in phantom sounds and suggest the dependence of therapeutic response on their neuroplastic capabilities. The latter in turn may depend on (differences in) their individual structural connectivity. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



The bumps under the hippocampus

2017-10-23T07:23:44.914808-05:00

Shown in every neuroanatomy textbook, a key morphological feature is the bumpy ridges, which we refer to as hippocampal dentation, on the inferior aspect of the hippocampus. Like the folding of the cerebral cortex, hippocampal dentation allows for greater surface area in a confined space. However, examining numerous approaches to hippocampal segmentation and morphology analysis, virtually all published 3D renderings of the hippocampus show the inferior surface to be quite smooth or mildly irregular; we have rarely seen the characteristic bumpy structure on reconstructed 3D surfaces. The only exception is a 9.4T postmortem study (Yushkevich et al. [2009]: NeuroImage 44:385–398). An apparent question is, does this indicate that this specific morphological signature can only be captured using ultra high-resolution techniques? Or, is such information buried in the data we commonly acquire, awaiting a computation technique that can extract and render it clearly? In this study, we propose an automatic and robust super-resolution technique that captures the fine scale morphometric features of the hippocampus based on common 3T MR images. The method is validated on 9.4T ultra-high field images and then applied on 3T data sets. This method opens possibilities of future research on the hippocampus and other sub-cortical structural morphometry correlating the degree of dentation with a range of diseases including epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Predicting auditory feedback control of speech production from subregional shape of subcortical structures

2017-10-23T07:23:32.991075-05:00

Although a growing body of research has focused on the cortical sensorimotor mechanisms that support auditory feedback control of speech production, much less is known about the subcortical contributions to this control process. This study examined whether subregional anatomy of subcortical structures assessed by statistical shape analysis is associated with vocal compensations and cortical event-related potentials in response to pitch feedback errors. The results revealed significant negative correlations between the magnitudes of vocal compensations and subregional shape of the right thalamus, between the latencies of vocal compensations and subregional shape of the left caudate and pallidum, and between the latencies of cortical N1 responses and subregional shape of the left putamen. These associations indicate that smaller local volumes of the basal ganglia and thalamus are predictive of slower and larger neurobehavioral responses to vocal pitch errors. Furthermore, increased local volumes of the left hippocampus and right amygdala were predictive of larger vocal compensations, suggesting that there is an interplay between the memory-related subcortical structures and auditory-vocal integration. These results, for the first time, provide evidence for differential associations of subregional morphology of the basal ganglia, thalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala with neurobehavioral processing of vocal pitch errors, suggesting that subregional shape measures of subcortical structures can predict behavioral outcome of auditory-vocal integration and associated neural features. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Multichannel wearable fNIRS-EEG system for long-term clinical monitoring

2017-10-23T07:23:26.494607-05:00

Continuous brain imaging techniques can be beneficial for the monitoring of neurological pathologies (such as epilepsy or stroke) and neuroimaging protocols involving movement. Among existing ones, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) have the advantage of being noninvasive, nonobstructive, inexpensive, yield portable solutions, and offer complementary monitoring of electrical and local hemodynamic activities. This article presents a novel system with 128 fNIRS channels and 32 EEG channels with the potential to cover a larger fraction of the adult superficial cortex than earlier works, is integrated with 32 EEG channels, is light and battery-powered to improve portability, and can transmit data wirelessly to an interface for real-time display of electrical and hemodynamic activities. A novel fNIRS-EEG stretchable cap, two analog channels for auxiliary data (e.g., electrocardiogram), eight digital triggers for event-related protocols and an internal accelerometer for movement artifacts removal contribute to improve data acquisition quality. The system can run continuously for 24 h. Following instrumentation validation and reliability on a solid phantom, performance was evaluated on (1) 12 healthy participants during either a visual (checkerboard) task at rest or while pedalling on a stationary bicycle or a cognitive (language) task and (2) 4 patients admitted either to the epilepsy (n = 3) or stroke (n = 1) units. Data analysis confirmed expected hemodynamic variations during validation recordings and useful clinical information during in-hospital testing. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a wearable wireless multichannel fNIRS-EEG monitoring system in patients with neurological conditions. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Affective creativity meets classic creativity in the scanner

2017-10-23T07:21:22.322791-05:00

The investigation of neurocognitive processes underlying more real-life creative behavior is among the greatest challenges in creativity research. In this fMRI study, we addressed this issue by investigating functional patterns of brain activity while participants were required to be creative in an affective context. Affective creativity was assessed in terms of individual's inventiveness in generating alternative appraisals for anger-evoking events, which has recently emerged as a new ability concept in cognitive reappraisal research. In addition, a classic divergent thinking task was administered. Both creativity tasks yielded strong activation in left prefrontal regions, indicating their shared cognitive processing demands like the inhibition of prepotent responses, shifting between different perspectives and controlled memory retrieval. Regarding task-specific differences, classic creative ideation activated a characteristic divergent thinking network comprising the left supramarginal, inferior temporal, and inferior frontal gyri. Affective creativity on the other hand specifically recruited the right superior frontal gyrus, presumably involved in the postretrieval monitoring of reappraisal success, and core hubs of the default-mode network, which are also implicated in social cognition. As a whole, by taking creativity research to the realm of emotion, this study advances our understanding of how more real-life creativity is rooted in the brain. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Identifying disease foci from static and dynamic effective connectivity networks: Illustration in soldiers with trauma

2017-10-23T07:21:14.451685-05:00

Brain connectivity studies report group differences in pairwise connection strengths. While informative, such results are difficult to interpret since our understanding of the brain relies on region-based properties, rather than on connection information. Given that large disruptions in the brain are often caused by a few pivotal sources, we propose a novel framework to identify the sources of functional disruption from effective connectivity networks. Our approach integrates static and time-varying effective connectivity modeling in a probabilistic framework, to identify aberrant foci and the corresponding aberrant connectomics network. Using resting-state fMRI, we illustrate the utility of this novel approach in U.S. Army soldiers (N = 87) with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and combat controls. Additionally, we employed machine-learning classification to identify those significant connectivity features that possessed high predictive ability. We identified three disrupted foci (middle frontal gyrus [MFG], insula, hippocampus), and an aberrant prefrontal-subcortical-parietal network of information flow. We found the MFG to be the pivotal focus of network disruption, with aberrant strength and temporal-variability of effective connectivity to the insula, amygdala and hippocampus. These connectivities also possessed high predictive ability (giving a classification accuracy of 81%); and they exhibited significant associations with symptom severity and neurocognitive functioning. In summary, dysregulation originating in the MFG caused elevated and temporally less-variable connectivity in subcortical regions, followed by a similar effect on parietal memory-related regions. This mechanism likely contributes to the reduced control over traumatic memories leading to re-experiencing, hyperarousal and flashbacks observed in soldiers with PTSD and mTBI. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Radiation-induced brain structural and functional abnormalities in presymptomatic phase and outcome prediction

2017-10-23T07:21:02.4143-05:00

Radiation therapy, a major method of treatment for brain cancer, may cause severe brain injuries after many years. We used a rare and unique cohort of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients with normal-appearing brains to study possible early irradiation injury in its presymptomatic phase before severe, irreversible necrosis happens. The aim is to detect any structural or functional imaging biomarker that is sensitive to early irradiation injury, and to understand the recovery and progression of irradiation injury that can shed light on outcome prediction for early clinical intervention. We found an acute increase in local brain activity that is followed by extensive reductions in such activity in the temporal lobe and significant loss of functional connectivity in a distributed, large-scale, high-level cognitive function-related brain network. Intriguingly, these radiosensitive functional alterations were found to be fully or partially recoverable. In contrast, progressive late disruptions to the integrity of the related far-end white matter structure began to be significant after one year. Importantly, early increased local brain functional activity was predictive of severe later temporal lobe necrosis. Based on these findings, we proposed a dynamic, multifactorial model for radiation injury and another preventive model for timely clinical intervention. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Functional subdivisions within the human intraparietal sulcus are involved in visuospatial transformation in a non-context-dependent manner

2017-10-23T07:20:51.766338-05:00

Object-based visuospatial transformation is important for the ability to interact with the world and the people and objects within it. In this preliminary investigation, we hypothesized that object-based visuospatial transformation is a unitary process invoked regardless of current context and is localized to the intraparietal sulcus. Participants (n = 14) performed both antisaccade and mental rotation tasks while scanned using fMRI. A statistical conjunction confirmed that both tasks activated the intraparietal sulcus. Statistical parametric anatomical mapping determined that the statistical conjunction was localized to intraparietal sulcus subregions hIP2 and hIP3. A Gaussian naïve Bayes classifier confirmed that the conjunction in region hIP3 was indistinguishable between tasks. The results provide evidence that object-based visuospatial transformation is a domain-general process that is invoked regardless of current context. Our results are consistent with the modular model of the posterior parietal cortex and the distinct cytoarchitectonic, structural, and functional connectivity profiles of the subregions in the intraparietal sulcus. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



An investigation of regional cerebral blood flow and tissue structure changes after acute administration of antipsychotics in healthy male volunteers

2017-10-23T07:20:45.649166-05:00

Chronic administration of antipsychotic drugs has been linked to structural brain changes observed in patients with schizophrenia. Recent MRI studies have shown rapid changes in regional brain volume following just a single dose of these drugs. However, it is not clear if these changes represent real volume changes or are artefacts (“apparent” volume changes) due to drug-induced physiological changes, such as increased cerebral blood flow (CBF). To address this, we examined the effects of a single, clinical dose of three commonly prescribed antipsychotics on quantitative measures of T1 and regional blood flow of the healthy human brain. Males (n = 42) were randomly assigned to one of two parallel groups in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, three-period cross-over study design. One group received a single oral dose of either 0.5 or 2 mg of risperidone or placebo during each visit. The other received olanzapine (7.5 mg), haloperidol (3 mg), or placebo. MR measures of quantitative T1, CBF, and T1-weighted images were acquired at the estimated peak plasma concentration of the drug. All three drugs caused localized increases in striatal blood flow, although drug and region specific effects were also apparent. In contrast, all assessments of T1 and brain volume remained stable across sessions, even in those areas experiencing large changes in CBF. This illustrates that a single clinically relevant oral dose of an antipsychotic has no detectable acute effect on T1 in healthy volunteers. We further provide a methodology for applying quantitative imaging methods to assess the acute effects of other compounds on structural MRI metrics. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Development of short-range white matter in healthy children and adolescents

2017-10-14T00:40:28.174232-05:00

Neural communication is facilitated by intricate networks of white matter (WM) comprised of both long and short range connections. The maturation of long range WM connections has been extensively characterized, with projection, commissural, and association tracts showing unique trajectories with age. There, however, remains a limited understanding of age-related changes occurring within short range WM connections, or U-fibers. These connections are important for local connectivity within lobes and facilitate regional cortical function and greater network economy. Recent studies have explored the maturation of U-fibers primarily using cross-sectional study designs. Here, we analyzed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data for healthy children and adolescents in both a cross-sectional (n = 78; mean age = 13.04 ± 3.27 years) and a primarily longitudinal (n = 26; mean age = 10.78 ± 2.69 years) cohort. We found significant age-related differences in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) across the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes of participants within the cross-sectional cohort. By contrast, we report significant age-related differences in only FA for participants within the longitudinal cohort. Specifically, larger FA values were observed with age in frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes of the left hemisphere. Our results extend previous findings restricted to long range WM to demonstrate regional changes in the microstructure of short range WM during childhood and adolescence. These changes possibly reflect continued myelination and axonal organization of short range WM with increasing age in more anterior regions of the left hemisphere. Hum Brain Mapp 00:000–000, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Mapping the sequence of brain events in response to disgusting food

2017-10-11T23:27:56.67554-05:00

Warning signals indicating that a food is potentially dangerous may evoke a response that is not limited to the feeling of disgust. We investigated the sequence of brain events in response to visual representations of disgusting food using a dynamic image analysis. Functional MRI was acquired in 30 healthy subjects while they were watching a movie showing disgusting food scenes interspersed with the scenes of appetizing food. Imaging analysis included the identification of the global brain response and the generation of frame-by-frame activation maps at the temporal resolution of 2 s. Robust activations were identified in brain structures conventionally associated with the experience of disgust, but our analysis also captured a variety of other brain elements showing distinct temporal evolutions. The earliest events included transient changes in the orbitofrontal cortex and visual areas, followed by a more durable engagement of the periaqueductal gray, a pivotal element in the mediation of responses to threat. A subsequent core phase was characterized by the activation of subcortical and cortical structures directly concerned not only with the emotional dimension of disgust (e.g., amygdala-hippocampus, insula), but also with the regulation of food intake (e.g., hypothalamus). In a later phase, neural excitement extended to broad cortical areas, the thalamus and cerebellum, and finally to the default mode network that signaled the progressive termination of the evoked response. The response to disgusting food representations is not limited to the emotional domain of disgust, and may sequentially involve a variety of broadly distributed brain networks. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Accounting for the role of hematocrit in between-subject variations of MRI-derived baseline cerebral hemodynamic parameters and functional BOLD responses

2017-10-11T23:27:50.258623-05:00

Baseline hematocrit fraction (Hct) is a determinant for baseline cerebral blood flow (CBF) and between-subject variation of Hct thus causes variation in task-based BOLD fMRI signal changes. We first verified in healthy volunteers (n = 12) that Hct values can be derived reliably from venous blood T1 values by comparison with the conventional lab test. Together with CBF measured using phase-contrast MRI, this noninvasive estimation of Hct, instead of using a population-averaged Hct value, enabled more individual determination of oxygen delivery (DO2), oxygen extraction fraction (OEF), and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). The inverse correlation of CBF and Hct explained about 80% of between-subject variation of CBF in this relatively uniform cohort of subjects, as expected based on the regulation of DO2 to maintain constant CMRO2. Furthermore, we compared the relationships of visual task-evoked BOLD response with Hct and CBF. We showed that Hct and CBF contributed 22%–33% of variance in BOLD signal and removing the positive correlation with Hct and negative correlation with CBF allowed normalization of BOLD signal with 16%–22% lower variability. The results of this study suggest that adjustment for Hct effects is useful for studies of MRI perfusion and BOLD fMRI. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Clinical yield of magnetoencephalography distributed source imaging in epilepsy: A comparison with equivalent current dipole method

2017-10-11T23:27:46.586287-05:00

Objective Source localization of interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) is clinically useful in the presurgical workup of epilepsy patients. It is usually obtained by equivalent current dipole (ECD) which localizes a point source and is the only inverse solution approved by clinical guidelines. In contrast, magnetic source imaging using distributed methods (dMSI) provides maps of the location and the extent of the generators, but its yield has not been clinically validated. We systematically compared ECD versus dMSI performed using coherent Maximum Entropy on the Mean (cMEM), a method sensitive to the spatial extent of the generators. Methods 340 source localizations of IEDs derived from 49 focal epilepsy patients with foci well-defined through intracranial EEG, MRI lesions, and surgery were analyzed. The comparison was based on the assessment of the sublobar concordance with the focus and of the distance between the source and the focus. Results dMSI sublobar concordance was significantly higher than ECD (81% vs 69%, P < 0.001), especially for extratemporal lobe sources (dMSI = 84%; ECD = 67%, P < 0.001) and for seizure free patients (dMSI = 83%; ECD = 70%, P < 0.001). The median distance from the focus was 4.88 mm for ECD and 3.44 mm for dMSI (P < 0.001). ECD dipoles were often wrongly localized in deep brain regions. Conclusions dMSI using cMEM exhibited better accuracy. dMSI also offered the advantage of recovering more realistic maps of the generator, which could be exploited for neuronavigation aimed at targeting invasive EEG and surgical resection. Therefore, dMSI may be preferred to ECD in clinical practice. Hum Brain Mapp 00:000–000, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Interbrain phase synchronization during turn-taking verbal interaction—a hyperscanning study using simultaneous EEG/MEG

2017-10-11T23:27:04.7955-05:00

Recently, neurophysiological findings about social interaction have been investigated widely, and hardware has been developed that can measure multiple subjects' brain activities simultaneously. These hyperscanning studies have enabled us to discover new and important evidences of interbrain interactions. Yet, very little is known about verbal interaction without any visual input. Therefore, we conducted a new hyperscanning study based on verbal, interbrain turn-taking interaction using simultaneous EEG/MEG, which measures rapidly changing brain activities. To establish turn-taking verbal interactions between a pair of subjects, we set up two EEG/MEG systems (19 and 146 channels of EEG and MEG, respectively) located ∼100 miles apart. Subjects engaged in verbal communication via condenser microphones and magnetic-compatible earphones, and a network time protocol synchronized the two systems. Ten subjects participated in this experiment and performed verbal interaction and noninteraction tasks separately. We found significant oscillations in EEG alpha and MEG alpha/gamma bands in several brain regions for all subjects. Furthermore, we estimated phase synchronization between two brains using the weighted phase lag index and found statistically significant synchronization in EEG and MEG data. Our novel paradigm and neurophysiological findings may foster a basic understanding of the functional mechanisms involved in human social interactions. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Multifaceted brain networks reconfiguration in disorders of consciousness uncovered by co-activation patterns

2017-10-11T23:26:43.816157-05:00

Introduction Given that recent research has shown that functional connectivity is not a static phenomenon, we aim to investigate the dynamic properties of the default mode network's (DMN) connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness. Methods Resting-state fMRI volumes of a convenience sample of 17 patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and controls were reduced to a spatiotemporal point process by selecting critical time points in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Spatial clustering was performed on the extracted PCC time frames to obtain 8 different co-activation patterns (CAPs). We investigated spatial connectivity patterns positively and negatively correlated with PCC using both CAPs and standard stationary method. We calculated CAPs occurrences and the total number of frames. Results Compared to controls, patients showed (i) decreased within-network positive correlations and between-network negative correlations, (ii) emergence of “pathological” within-network negative correlations and between-network positive correlations (better defined with CAPs), and (iii) “pathological” increases in within-network positive correlations and between-network negative correlations (only detectable using CAPs). Patients showed decreased occurrence of DMN-like CAPs (1–2) compared to controls. No between-group differences were observed in the total number of frames Conclusion CAPs reveal at a more fine-grained level the multifaceted spatial connectivity reconfiguration following the DMN disruption in UWS patients, which is more complex than previously thought and suggests alternative anatomical substrates for consciousness. BOLD fluctuations do not seem to differ between patients and controls, suggesting that BOLD response represents an intrinsic feature of the signal, and therefore that spatial configuration is more important for consciousness than BOLD activation itself. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Cover Image

2017-11-08T05:16:30.549804-05:00

COVER ILLUSTRATION: Voluntary movements require control of multiple kinematic parameters, a task carried out by a distributed brain architecture. fMRI imaging during a wrist-flexion task revealed preferential encoding of kinematic parameters along the motor system, such that activity in the left primary motor cortex (M1) showed preferential encoding of movement amplitude, while the anterior lobe of the right cerebellum (primarily lobule V) showed preferential encoding of movement speed. Cover Illustrated by: Adam Y. Amorai.



Editorial board - TOC

2017-11-08T05:16:42.066446-05:00




Dual-echo ASL contributes to decrypting the link between functional connectivity and cerebral blow flow

2017-09-08T07:50:49.659402-05:00

Arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI with a dual-echo readout module (DE-ASL) enables noninvasive simultaneous acquisition of cerebral blood flow (CBF)-weighted images and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast. Up to date, resting-state functional connectivity (FC) studies based on CBF fluctuations have been very limited, while the BOLD is still the method most frequently used. The purposes of this technical report were (i) to assess the potentiality of the DE-ASL sequence for the quantification of resting-state FC and brain organization, with respect to the conventional BOLD (cvBOLD) and (ii) to investigate the relationship between a series of complex network measures and the CBF information. Thirteen volunteers were scanned on a 3 T scanner acquiring a pseudocontinuous multislice DE-ASL sequence, from which the concomitant BOLD (ccBOLD) simultaneously to the ASL can be extracted. In the proposed comparison, the brain FC and graph-theoretical analysis were used for quantifying the connectivity strength between pairs of regions and for assessing the network model properties in all the sequences. The main finding was that the ccBOLD part of the DE-ASL sequence provided highly comparable connectivity results compared to cvBOLD. As expected, because of its different nature, ASL sequence showed different patterns of brain connectivity and graph indices compared to BOLD sequences. To conclude, the resting-state FC can be reliably detected using DE-ASL, simultaneously to CBF quantifications, whereas a single fMRI experiment precludes the quantitative measurement of BOLD signal changes. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5831–5844, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



On the integrity of functional brain networks in schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and advanced age: Evidence from connectivity-based single-subject classification

2017-09-06T09:50:43.601437-05:00

Previous whole-brain functional connectivity studies achieved successful classifications of patients and healthy controls but only offered limited specificity as to affected brain systems. Here, we examined whether the connectivity patterns of functional systems affected in schizophrenia (SCZ), Parkinson's disease (PD), or normal aging equally translate into high classification accuracies for these conditions. We compared classification performance between pre-defined networks for each group and, for any given network, between groups. Separate support vector machine classifications of 86 SCZ patients, 80 PD patients, and 95 older adults relative to their matched healthy/young controls, respectively, were performed on functional connectivity in 12 task-based, meta-analytically defined networks using 25 replications of a nested 10-fold cross-validation scheme. Classification performance of the various networks clearly differed between conditions, as those networks that best classified one disease were usually non-informative for the other. For SCZ, but not PD, emotion-processing, empathy, and cognitive action control networks distinguished patients most accurately from controls. For PD, but not SCZ, networks subserving autobiographical or semantic memory, motor execution, and theory-of-mind cognition yielded the best classifications. In contrast, young–old classification was excellent based on all networks and outperformed both clinical classifications. Our pattern-classification approach captured associations between clinical and developmental conditions and functional network integrity with a higher level of specificity than did previous whole-brain analyses. Taken together, our results support resting-state connectivity as a marker of functional dysregulation in specific networks known to be affected by SCZ and PD, while suggesting that aging affects network integrity in a more global way. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5845–5858, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Short-term language switching training tunes the neural correlates of cognitive control in bilingual language production

2017-09-03T22:45:29.436074-05:00

The present study investigated how language switching experience would modulate the neural correlates of cognitive control involved in bilingual language production. A group of unbalanced Chinese–English bilinguals undertook an 8-day cued picture naming training during which they named pictures in either of their languages based on visually presented cues. Participants’ brain activation was scanned before and after the training in the same task. Behavioral results revealed a significant training effect such that switch costs were reduced after training. fMRI results showed that after training, activation of brain areas associated with cognitive control including the anterior cingulated cortex and the caudate was reduced. Besides, the activation reduction in the left dorsal anterior cingulated cortex positively correlated with the reduction in switch costs in response time and this training effect could be transferred to untrained stimuli. These findings suggest that neural correlates of cognitive control, especially that of the conflict monitoring process, in bilingual language production could be modulated by short-term language switching training. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5859–5870, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Predicting hemispheric dominance for language production in healthy individuals using support vector machine

2017-09-03T22:45:39.391787-05:00

We used a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier to assess hemispheric pattern of language dominance of 47 individuals categorized as non-typical for language from their hemispheric functional laterality index (HFLI) measured on a sentence minus word-list production fMRI-BOLD contrast map. The SVM classifier was trained at discriminating between Dominant and Non-Dominant hemispheric language production activation pattern on a group of 250 participants previously identified as Typicals (HFLI strongly leftward). Then, SVM was applied to each hemispheric language activation pattern of 47 non-typical individuals. The results showed that at least one hemisphere (left or right) was found to be Dominant in every, except 3 individuals, indicating that the “dominant” type of functional organization is the most frequent in non-typicals. Specifically, left hemisphere dominance was predicted in all non-typical right-handers (RH) and in 57.4% of non-typical left-handers (LH). When both hemisphere classifications were jointly considered, four types of brain patterns were observed. The most often predicted pattern (51%) was left-dominant (Dominant left-hemisphere and Non-Dominant right-hemisphere), followed by right-dominant (23%, Dominant right-hemisphere and Non-Dominant left-hemisphere) and co-dominant (19%, 2 Dominant hemispheres) patterns. Co-non-dominant was rare (6%, 2 Non-Dominant hemispheres), but was normal variants of hemispheric specialization. In RH, only left-dominant (72%) and co-dominant patterns were detected, while for LH, all types were found, although with different occurrences. Among the 10 LH with a strong rightward HFLI, 8 had a right-dominant brain pattern. Whole-brain analysis of the right-dominant pattern group confirmed that it exhibited a functional organization strictly mirroring that of left-dominant pattern group. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5871–5889, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Gray matter asymmetries in aging and neurodegeneration: A review and meta-analysis

2017-08-30T03:41:38.612764-05:00

Inter-hemispheric asymmetries are a common phenomenon of the human brain. Some evidence suggests that neurodegeneration related to aging and disease may preferentially affect the left—usually language- and motor-dominant—hemisphere. Here, we used activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis to assess gray matter (GM) loss and its lateralization in healthy aging and in neurodegeneration, namely, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's dementia (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and Huntington's disease (HD). This meta-analysis, comprising 159 voxel-based morphometry publications (enrolling 4,469 patients and 4,307 controls), revealed that GM decline appeared to be asymmetric at trend levels but provided no evidence for increased left-hemisphere vulnerability. Regions with asymmetric GM decline were located in areas primarily affected by neurodegeneration. In HD, the left putamen showed converging evidence for more pronounced atrophy, while no consistent pattern was found in PD. In MCI, the right hippocampus was more atrophic than its left counterpart, a pattern that reversed in AD. The stability of these findings was confirmed using permutation tests. However, due to the lenient threshold used in the asymmetry analysis, further work is needed to confirm our results and to provide a better understanding of the functional role of GM asymmetries, for instance in the context of cognitive reserve and compensation. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5890–5904, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Complexity analysis of cortical surface detects changes in future Alzheimer's disease converters

2017-08-30T03:41:04.58405-05:00

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurological disorder that creates neurodegenerative changes at several structural and functional levels in human brain tissue. The fractal dimension (FD) is a quantitative parameter that characterizes the morphometric variability of the human brain. In this study, we investigate spherical harmonic-based FD (SHFD), thickness, and local gyrification index (LGI) to assess whether they identify cortical surface abnormalities toward the conversion to AD. We study 33 AD patients, 122 mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients (50 MCI converters and 29 MCI nonconverters), and 32 healthy controls (HC). SHFD, thickness, and LGI methodology allowed us to perform not only global level but also local level assessments in each cortical surface vertex. First, we found that global SHFD decreased in AD and future MCI converters compared to HC, and in MCI converters compared to MCI nonconverters. Second, we found that local white matter SHFD was reduced in AD compared to HC and MCI mainly in medial temporal lobe. Third, local white-matter SHFD was significantly reduced in MCI converters compared to MCI nonconverters in distributed areas, including the medial frontal lobe. Thickness and LGI metrics presented a reduction in AD compared to HC. Thickness was significantly reduced in MCI converters compared to healthy controls in entorhinal cortex and lateral temporal. In summary, SHFD was the only surface measure showing differences between MCI individuals that will convert or remain stable in the next 4 years. We suggest that SHFD may be an optimal complement to thickness loss analysis in monitoring longitudinal changes in preclinical and clinical stages of AD. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5905–5918, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Central and non-central networks, cognition, clinical symptoms, and polygenic risk scores in schizophrenia

2017-09-07T08:10:31.924472-05:00

Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that may be the result of aberrant connections between specific brain regions rather than focal brain abnormalities. Here, we investigate the relationships between brain structural connectivity as described by network analysis, intelligence, symptoms, and polygenic risk scores (PGRS) for schizophrenia in a group of patients with schizophrenia and a group of healthy controls. Recently, researchers have shown an interest in the role of high centrality networks in the disorder. However, the importance of non-central networks still remains unclear. Thus, we specifically examined network-averaged fractional anisotropy (mean edge weight) in central and non-central subnetworks. Connections with the highest betweenness centrality within the average network (>75% of centrality values) were selected to represent the central subnetwork. The remaining connections were assigned to the non-central subnetwork. Additionally, we calculated graph theory measures from the average network (connections that occur in at least 2/3 of participants). Density, strength, global efficiency, and clustering coefficient were significantly lower in patients compared with healthy controls for the average network (pFDR < 0.05). All metrics across networks were significantly associated with intelligence (pFDR < 0.05). There was a tendency towards significance for a correlation between intelligence and PGRS for schizophrenia (r = −0.508, p = 0.052) that was significantly mediated by central and non-central mean edge weight and every graph metric from the average network. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that intelligence deficits are associated with a genetic risk for schizophrenia, which is mediated via the disruption of distributed brain networks. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5919–5930, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



A pediatric structural MRI analysis of healthy brain development from newborns to young adults

2017-09-12T07:41:50.090651-05:00

Assessment of healthy brain maturation can be useful toward better understanding natural patterns of brain growth and toward the characterization of a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders as deviations from normal growth trajectories. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides excellent soft-tissue contrast, which allows for the assessment of gray and white matter in the developing brain. We performed a large-scale retrospective analysis of 993 pediatric structural brain MRI examinations of healthy subjects (n = 988, aged 0–32 years) imaged clinically at 3 T, and extracted a wide variety of measurements such as white matter volumes, cortical thickness, and gyral curvature localized to subregions of the brain. All extracted structural biomarkers were tested for their correlation with subject age at time of imaging, providing measurements that may assist in the assessment of neurological maturation. Additional analyses were also performed to assess gender-based differences in the brain at a variety of developmental stages, and to assess hemispheric asymmetries. Results add to the literature by analyzing a realistic distribution of healthy participants imaged clinically, a useful cohort toward the investigation and creation of diagnostic tests for a variety of pathologies as aberrations from healthy growth trajectories. The next generation of diagnostic tests will be responsible for identifying pathological conditions from populations of healthy clinically imaged individuals. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5931–5942, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Hypersensitivity to low intensity fearful faces in autism when fixation is constrained to the eyes

2017-09-07T08:10:47.569163-05:00

Previous studies that showed decreased brain activation in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) viewing expressive faces did not control that participants looked in the eyes. This is problematic because ASD is characterized by abnormal attention to the eyes. Here, we collected fMRI data from 48 participants (27 ASD) viewing pictures of neutral faces and faces expressing anger, happiness, and fear at low and high intensity, with a fixation cross between the eyes. Group differences in whole brain activity were examined for expressive faces at high and low intensity versus neutral faces. Group differences in neural activity were also investigated in regions of interest within the social brain, including the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). In response to low intensity fearful faces, ASD participants showed increased activation in the social brain regions, and decreased functional coupling between the amygdala and the vmPFC. This oversensitivity to low intensity fear coupled with a lack of emotional regulation capacity could indicate an excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in their socio-affective processing system. This may result in social disengagement and avoidance of eye-contact to handle feelings of strong emotional reaction. Our results also demonstrate the importance of careful control of gaze when investigating emotional processing in ASD. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5943–5957, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Learning to name smells increases activity in heteromodal semantic areas

2017-09-12T23:20:55.510057-05:00

Semantic description of odors is a cognitively demanding task. Learning to name smells is, however, possible with training. This study set out to examine how improvement in olfactory semantic knowledge following training reorganizes the neural representation of smells. First, 19 nonexpert volunteers were trained for 3 days; they were exposed (i) to odorants presented without verbal labels (perceptual learning) and (ii) to other odorants paired with lexicosemantic labels (associative learning). Second, the same participants were tested in a brain imaging study (fMRI) measuring hemodynamic responses to learned odors presented in both the perceptual and associative learning conditions. The lexicosemantic training enhanced the ability to describe smells semantically. Neurally, this change was associated with enhanced activity in a set of heteromodal areas—including superior frontal gyrus—and parietal areas. These findings demonstrate that odor-name associative learning induces recruitment of brain areas involved in the integration and representation of semantic attributes of sensory events. They also offer new insights into the brain plasticity underlying the acquisition of olfactory expertise in lay people. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5958–5969, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Preferential encoding of movement amplitude and speed in the primary motor cortex and cerebellum

2017-09-08T07:50:41.778563-05:00

Voluntary movements require control of multiple kinematic parameters, a task carried out by a distributed brain architecture. However, it remains unclear whether regions along the motor system encode single, or rather a mixture of, kinematic parameters during action execution. Here, rapid event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to differentiate brain activity along the motor system during the encoding of movement amplitude, duration, and speed. We present cumulative evidence supporting preferential encoding of kinematic parameters along the motor system, based on blood-oxygenation-level dependent signal recorded in a well-controlled single-joint wrist-flexion task. Whereas activity in the left primary motor cortex (M1) showed preferential encoding of movement amplitude, the anterior lobe of the right cerebellum (primarily lobule V) showed preferential encoding of movement speed. Conversely, activity in the left supplementary motor area (SMA), basal ganglia (putamen), and anterior intraparietal sulcus was not preferentially modulated by any specific parameter. We found no preference in peak activation for duration encoding in any of the tested regions. Electromyographic data was mainly modulated by movement amplitude, restricting the distinction between amplitude and muscle force encoding. Together, these results suggest that during single-joint movements, distinct kinematic parameters are controlled by largely distinct brain-regions that work together to produce and control precise movements. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5970–5986, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Frequency-specific neuromodulation of local and distant connectivity in aging and episodic memory function

2017-09-08T07:52:09.534183-05:00

A growing literature has focused on the brain's ability to augment processing in local regions by recruiting distant communities of neurons in response to neural decline or insult. In particular, both younger and older adult populations recruit bilateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) as a means of compensating for increasing neural effort to maintain successful cognitive function. However, it remains unclear how local changes in neural activity affect the recruitment of this adaptive mechanism. To address this problem, we combined graph theoretical measures from functional MRI with diffusion weighted imaging and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to resolve a central hypothesis: how do aged brains flexibly adapt to local changes in cortical activity? Specifically, we applied neuromodulation to increase or decrease local activity in a cortical region supporting successful memory encoding (left dorsolateral PFC or DLPFC) using 5 or 1 Hz rTMS, respectively. We then assessed a region's local within-module degree, or the distributed between-module degree (BMD) between distant cortical communities. We predicted that (1) local stimulation-related deficits may be counteracted by boosting BMD between bilateral PFC, and that this effect should be (2) positively correlated with structural connectivity. Both predictions were confirmed; 5 Hz rTMS increased local success-related activity and local increases in PFC connectivity, while 1 Hz rTMS decreases local activity and triggered a more distributed pattern of bilateral PFC connectivity to compensate for this local inhibitory effect. These results provide an integrated, causal explanation for the network interactions associated with successful memory encoding in older adults. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5987–6004, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Structural connectivity-defined thalamic subregions have different functional connectivity abnormalities in multiple sclerosis patients: Implications for clinical correlations

2017-09-07T08:11:49.814134-05:00

In spite of the well-known importance of thalami in multiple sclerosis (MS), only limited data on whole and subregional thalamic functional connectivity (FC) changes are available. Using diffusion tensor imaging, we performed a structural connectivity based thalamic parcellation and investigated subregional thalamic resting-state (RS) FC alterations and their relationship with clinical/cognitive measures in MS. MRI data from a reference set of healthy controls (HC) were used to parcellate the thalami into five subregions, according to their structural connectivity. For each thalamic subregion, a seed-based RS FC analysis was performed in 187 MS patients and 94 HC. Correlations between thalamic RS FC and clinical/cognitive variables were assessed. Compared to HC, MS patients showed increased intra- and inter-thalamic RS FC for almost all thalamic subregions, and increased RS FC between all thalamic subregions and the left insula. Frontal and motor thalamic subregions also showed reduced RS FC with the caudate nucleus. For the temporal thalamic subregion, we observed reduced RS FC with the ipsilateral thalamus, anterior and middle cingulate cortex, and cerebellum. Compared to cognitively preserved, cognitively impaired MS patients had higher thalamic RS FC with several temporal areas. In MS patients, lower RS FC between thalamic subregions and the caudate and cingulate cortex correlated with worse motor performance, whereas higher RS FC with the insula correlated with better motor performance. The main thalamic subregions have different RS-FC abnormalities in MS patients. Increased thalamic RS FC with the insula may have a compensatory role, whereas increased RS FC with temporal areas, observed in patients with cognitive impairment may reflect maladaptive mechanisms. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6005–6018, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Deficits in voluntary pursuit and inhibition of risk taking in sensation seeking

2017-09-08T07:50:23.348336-05:00

Sensation seeking has been associated with substance use and other risk-taking behaviors. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated the neural correlates underlying risk taking in sensation seeking. Twenty-eight high sensation seekers (HSS; 14 female and 14 male young adults) and 28 low sensation seekers (LSS; 14 female and 14 male young adults) performed an interactive, sequential gambling task that allowed for voluntary pursuit or inhibition of risk taking. Behaviorally, HSS versus LSS exhibited a stronger tendency toward risk taking. Comparison of the groups revealed that when taking risks, HSS relative to LSS exhibited reduced fMRI responses in brain areas involved in risk processing, such as the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and the thalamus. Importantly, during the voluntary inhibition of risk taking, HSS relative to LSS showed greater fMRI responses in brain areas implicated in cognitive control (the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex) and negative emotion (the right anterior insula). These findings suggest that risk taking in sensation seeking may be driven by both a hypoactive neural system in the voluntary pursuit of risk taking and a hyperactive neural system in the voluntary inhibition of risk taking, thus providing implications for future prevention programs targeting sensation-seeking behaviors. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6019–6028, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Neural mechanisms of motion perceptual learning in noise

2017-09-12T23:20:45.179854-05:00

Practice improves our perceptual ability. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this experience-dependent plasticity in adult brain remain unclear. Here, we studied the long-term neural correlates of motion perceptual learning. Subjects’ behavioral performance and BOLD signals were tracked before, immediately after, and 2 weeks after practicing a motion direction discrimination task in noise over six daily sessions. Parallel to the specificity and persistency of the behavioral learning effect, we found that training sharpened the cortical tuning in MT, and enhanced the connectivity strength from MT to the intraparietal sulcus (IPS, a motion decision-making area). In addition, the decoding accuracy for the trained motion direction was improved in IPS 2 weeks after training. The dual changes in the sensory and the high-level cortical areas suggest that learning refines the neural representation of the trained stimulus and facilitates the information transmission in the decision process. Our findings are consistent with the functional specialization in the visual cortex, and provide empirical evidence to the reweighting theory of perceptual learning at a large spatial scale. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6029–6042, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Microstructural white matter alterations in patients with drug induced parkinsonism

2017-09-12T23:21:53.579509-05:00

Drug-induced parkinsonism (DIP) is the second most common etiology of parkinsonism. And yet, there is little information on structural imaging in DIP to elucidate the accurate underlying pathomechanisms. To investigate microstructural white matter (WM) in patients with DIP using diffusion tensor image and to determine its relationship to severity of parkinsonian motor symptoms and cognitive function. A total of 42 patients with DIP, 65 with Parkinson's disease, and 33 control subjects were recruited from a movement disorders outpatient clinic. We performed comparative analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values among groups using tract-based spatial statistics. Correlation analysis between WM integrity and parkinsonian motor symptoms and cognitive performance was also performed in DIP patients using voxel-wise statistical analysis. DIP patients had significantly lower FA and higher MD values over widespread WM areas than control subjects. The patients with DIP had poor cognitive performance relative to control subjects, which correlated well with WM properties. Additionally, the parkinsonian motor symptoms were negatively correlated with FA values. In contrast, exposure time to the offending drugs prior to the development of parkinsonism or duration of parkinsonism showed no significant association with FA or MD values. The present study demonstrates that disruption of the WM microstructure is extensive in patients with DIP, and it is correlated with clinical parameters of parkinsonism and cognitive performance. This suggests that DIP may be reflective of underlying abnormality of microstructural WM. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6043–6052, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Altered white-matter integrity in unaffected siblings of probands with autism spectrum disorders

2017-09-20T23:31:56.459839-05:00

Despite the evidence of altered white-matter tract property in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about their unaffected siblings. This study aimed to investigate white-matter integrity in unaffected siblings of ASD probands. Thirty-nine unaffected siblings (mean age 15.6 ± 6.0 years; 27 males, 69.2%) and 39 typically developing controls (TDC) (14.2 ± 5.6 years; 26 males, 66.7%) were assessed with diffusion spectrum images and neuropsychological tests. Using the tract-based automatic analysis and the threshold-free cluster weighted (TFCW) scores, we searched for the segments among 76 tracts with the largest difference over the entire brain compared to TDC. Tract integrity was quantified by calculating the mean generalized fractional anisotropy (mGFA) values of the segments with the largest difference in TFCW scores. Unaffected siblings showed reduced mGFA in the bilateral frontal aslant tracts, the right superior longitudinal fasciculus 2 (SLF2), the frontostriatal tracts from the right dorsolateral and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortices, the thalamic radiations of the left ventral and the right dorsal thalamus, the callosal fibers of the splenium, and the increased mGFA of the callosal fibers of the precuneus and the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Among these, reduced right SLF2 mGFA was associated with social awareness deficits; impaired frontostriatal tract was associated with internalizing problems, while right frontal aslant tract integrity was associated with visual memory deficits. In conclusion, unaffected siblings showed the aberrant integrity of several white-matter tracts, which were correlated with clinical symptoms and neurocognitive dysfunction. The altered tract integrity could be further examined in the probands with ASD. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6053–6067, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Neural correlates of interoception: Effects of interoceptive focus and relationship to dimensional measures of body awareness

2017-09-12T23:21:39.529858-05:00

Interoception has been defined as the sensing of the physiological condition of the body, with interoceptive sensibility (IS) characterizing an individual's self-reported awareness of internal sensation. IS is a multidimensional construct including not only the tendency to be aware of sensation but also how sensations are interpreted, regulated, and used to inform behavior, with different dimensions relating to different aspects of health and disease. Here we investigated neural mechanisms of interoception when healthy individuals attended to their heartbeat and skin temperature, and examined the relationship between neural activity during interoception and individual differences in self-reported IS using the Multidimensional Scale of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA). Consistent with prior work, interoception activated a network involving insula and sensorimotor regions but also including occipital, temporal, and prefrontal cortex. Differences based on interoceptive focus (heartbeat vs skin temperature) were found in insula, sensorimotor regions, occipital cortex, and limbic areas. Factor analysis of MAIA dimensions revealed 3 dissociable components of IS in our dataset, only one of which was related to neural activity during interoception. Reduced scores on the third factor, which reflected reduced ability to control attention to body sensation and increased tendency to distract from and worry about aversive sensations, was associated with greater activation in many of the same regions as those involved in interoception, including insula, sensorimotor, anterior cingulate, and temporal cortex. These data suggest that self-rated interoceptive sensibility is related to altered activation in regions involved in monitoring body state, which has implications for disorders associated with abnormality of interoception. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6068–6082, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Evidence-based source modeling of nociceptive cortical responses: A direct comparison of scalp and intracranial activity in humans

2017-09-18T23:15:30.171866-05:00

Background Source modeling of EEG traditionally relies on interplay between physiological hypotheses and mathematical estimates. We propose to optimize the process by using evidence gathered from brain imaging and intracortical recordings. Methods We recorded laser-evoked potentials in 18 healthy participants, using high-density EEG. Brain sources were modeled during the first second poststimulus, constraining their initial position to regions where nociceptive-related activity has been ascertained by intracranial EEG. These comprised the two posterior operculo-insular regions, primary sensorimotor, posterior parietal, anterior cingulate/supplementary motor (ACC/SMA), bilateral frontal/anterior insular, and posterior cingulate (PCC) cortices. Results The model yielded an average goodness of fit of 91% for individual and 95.8% for grand-average data. When compared with intracranial recordings from 27 human subjects, no significant difference in peak latencies was observed between modeled and intracranial data for 5 of the 6 assessable regions. Morphological match was excellent for operculo-insular, frontal, ACC/SMA and PCC regions (cross-correlation > 0.7) and fair for sensori-motor and posterior parietal cortex (c-c ∼ 0.5). Conclusions Multiple overlapping activities evoked by nociceptive input can be disentangled from high-density scalp EEG guided by intracranial data. Modeled sources accurately described the timing and morphology of most activities recorded with intracranial electrodes, including those coinciding with the emergence of stimulus awareness. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6083–6095, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Decoding the neural representation of story meanings across languages

2017-09-20T23:31:43.098714-05:00

Drawing from a common lexicon of semantic units, humans fashion narratives whose meaning transcends that of their individual utterances. However, while brain regions that represent lower-level semantic units, such as words and sentences, have been identified, questions remain about the neural representation of narrative comprehension, which involves inferring cumulative meaning. To address these questions, we exposed English, Mandarin, and Farsi native speakers to native language translations of the same stories during fMRI scanning. Using a new technique in natural language processing, we calculated the distributed representations of these stories (capturing the meaning of the stories in high-dimensional semantic space), and demonstrate that using these representations we can identify the specific story a participant was reading from the neural data. Notably, this was possible even when the distributed representations were calculated using stories in a different language than the participant was reading. Our results reveal that identification relied on a collection of brain regions most prominently located in the default mode network. These results demonstrate that neuro-semantic encoding of narratives happens at levels higher than individual semantic units and that this encoding is systematic across both individuals and languages. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6096–6106, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Connectivity-based parcellation of the anterior limb of the internal capsule

2017-09-14T23:26:01.298994-05:00

The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) is an important locus of frontal-subcortical fiber tracts involved in cognitive and limbic feedback loops. However, the structural organization of its component fiber tracts remains unclear. Therefore, although the ALIC is a promising target for various neurosurgical procedures for psychiatric disorders, more precise understanding of its organization is required to optimize target localization. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) collected on healthy subjects by the Human Connectome Project (HCP), we generated parcellations of the ALIC by dividing it according to structural connectivity to various frontal regions. We then compared individuals’ parcellations to evaluate the ALIC's structural consistency. All 40 included subjects demonstrated a posterior–superior to anterior–inferior axis of tract organization in the ALIC. Nonetheless, subdivisions of the ALIC were found to vary substantially, as voxels in the average parcellation were accurately assigned for a mean of only 66.2% of subjects. There were, however, some loci of consistency, most notably in the region maximally connected to orbitofrontal cortex. These findings clarify the highly variable organization of the ALIC and may represent a tool for patient-specific targeting of neuromodulation. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6107–6117, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



“Discrete peaks” of excitability and map overlap reveal task-specific organization of primary motor cortex for control of human forearm muscles

2017-09-17T23:26:18.971043-05:00

The primary motor cortex (M1) presents a somatotopic organization of body parts, but with overlap between muscle/movement representations. This distinct but overlapping M1 organization is believed to be important for individuated control and movement coordination, respectively. Discrete peaks of greater excitability observed within M1 might underpin organization of cortical motor control. This study aimed to examine interactions between M1 representations of synergist and antagonist forearm muscles, compare regions of greater excitability during different functional tasks, and compare characteristics of M1 representation recorded using surface and fine-wire (fw) electrodes. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied over M1 for mapping the representation of 4 forearm muscles (extensor carpi radialis brevis [ECRB], extensor digitorum communis, flexor carpi radialis, and flexor digitorum superficialis) during three tasks: rest, grip, and wrist extension in 14 participants. There are three main findings. First, discrete areas of peak excitability within the M1 representation of ECRBfw were identified during grip and wrist extension suggesting that different M1 areas are involved in different motor functions. Second, M1 representations of synergist muscles presented with greater overlap of M1 representations than muscles with mainly antagonist actions, which suggests a role in muscle coordination. Third, as larger normalized map volume and overlap were observed using surface than fine-wire electrodes, data suggest that cross-talk from adjacent muscles compromised interpretation of recordings made with surface electrodes in response to TMS. These results provide a novel understanding of the spatial organization of M1 with evidence of “functional somatotopy.” This has important implication[...]



Dorsal striatum mediates deliberate decision making, not late-stage, stimulus–response learning

2017-09-25T07:35:38.836911-05:00

We investigated a controversy regarding the role of the dorsal striatum (DS) in deliberate decision-making versus late-stage, stimulus–response learning to the point of automatization. Participants learned to associate abstract images with right or left button presses explicitly before strengthening these associations through stimulus–response trials with (i.e., Session 1) and without (i.e., Session 2) feedback. In Session 1, trials were divided into response-selection and feedback events to separately assess decision versus learning processes. Session 3 evaluated stimulus–response automaticity using a location Stroop task. DS activity correlated with response-selection and not feedback events in Phase 1 (i.e., Blocks 1–3), Session 1. Longer response times (RTs), lower accuracy, and greater intertrial variability characterized Phase 1, suggesting deliberation. DS activity extinguished in Phase 2 (i.e., Blocks 4–12), Session 1, once RTs, response variability, and accuracy stabilized, though stimulus–response automatization continued. This was signaled by persisting improvements in RT and accuracy into Session 2. Distraction between Sessions 1 and 2 briefly reintroduced response uncertainty, and correspondingly, significant DS activity reappeared in Block 1 of Session 2 only. Once stimulus–response associations were again refamiliarized and deliberation unnecessary, DS activation disappeared for Blocks 2–8, Session 2. Interference from previously learned right or left button responses with incongruent location judgments in a location Stroop task provided evidence that automaticity of stimulus–specific button-press responses had developed by the end of Session 2. These results suggest that DS mediates decision making and not late-stage learning, reconcili[...]



5-HTTLPR moderates the association between interdependence and brain responses to mortality threats

2017-09-17T23:26:23.688909-05:00

While behavioral research suggests an association between cultural worldview and decreased anxiety of death, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain unclear. Using functional MRI, we investigated whether and how the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), which has been associated with mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, moderates the associations between a cultural trait (i.e., interdependence) and self-report of death anxiety/depression and between interdependence and brain responses to mortality threats. Long/long and short/short allele carriers of the 5-HTTLPR were scanned using fMRI while they performed a one-back task on death-related, death-unrelated negative, and neutral words. Participants’ interdependence and death anxiety/depression were assessed using questionnaires after scanning. We found that participants who assessed themselves with greater interdependence reported lower death anxiety/depression and showed decreased neural response to death-related words in emotion-related brain regions including the anterior cingulate, putamen, and thalamus. However, these results were evident in long/long allele carriers of the 5-HTTLPR but not in short/short allele carriers who even showed positive associations between interdependence and neural activities in the anterior cingulate, putamen and thalamus in response to death-related words. Our findings suggest candidate mechanisms for explaining the complex relationship between genotype, cultural traits, and mental/neural responses to mortality threats. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6157–6171, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Atypical neuronal activation during a spatial working memory task in 13-year-old very preterm children

2017-09-20T23:31:50.520096-05:00

Children born very preterm (VP; <32 weeks' gestational age) are at risk for unfavorable outcomes in several cognitive domains, including spatial working memory (WM). The underlying neural basis of these cognitive impairments is poorly understood. We investigated differences in neuronal activation during spatial WM using a backward span (BS) task relative to a control (C) task in 45 VP children and 19 term-born controls aged 13 years. VP children showed significantly more activation in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus and significantly less activation in the left parahippocampal gyrus compared with controls. We further explored the distinct contributions of maintenance and manipulation processes of WM using forward span (FS)>C and BS > FS, respectively. There were no significant group differences in neuronal activation for FS > C. However, BS > FS revealed that VP children had significantly greater activation in the left middle frontal gyrus, in the left superior parietal gyrus and right cerebellar tonsil, and significantly less activation in the right precentral and postcentral gyrus and left insula compared with controls. Taken together these results suggest that VP children at 13 years of age show an atypical neuronal activation during spatial WM, specifically related to manipulation of spatial information in WM. It is unclear whether these findings reflect delayed maturation and/or recruitment of alternative neuronal networks as a result of neuroplasticity. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6172–6184, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Dynamic functional connectivity and individual differences in emotions during social stress

2017-09-20T23:32:08.128663-05:00

Exposure to acute stress induces multiple emotional responses, each with their own unique temporal dynamics. Dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) measures the temporal variability of network synchrony and captures individual differences in network neurodynamics. This study investigated the relationship between dFC and individual differences in emotions induced by an acute psychosocial stressor. Sixteen healthy adult women underwent fMRI scanning during a social evaluative threat (SET) task, and retrospectively completed questionnaires that assessed individual differences in subjectively experienced positive and negative emotions about stress and stress relief during the task. Group dFC was decomposed with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) into 10 components, each with a temporal signature, spatial network of functionally connected regions, and vector of participant loadings that captures individual differences in dFC. Participant loadings of two networks were positively correlated with stress-related emotions, indicating the existence of networks for positive and negative emotions. The emotion-related networks involved the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, anterior insula, and amygdala, among other distributed brain regions, and time signatures for these emotion-related networks were uncorrelated. These findings demonstrate that individual differences in stress-induced positive and negative emotions are each uniquely associated with large-scale brain networks, and suggest that dFC is a mechanism that generates individual differences in the emotional components of the stress response. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6185–6205, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Gray matter volumes of early sensory regions are associated with individual differences in sensory processing

2017-09-20T23:31:29.005541-05:00

Sensory processing (i.e., the manner in which the nervous system receives, modulates, integrates, and organizes sensory stimuli) is critical when humans are deciding how to react to environmental demands. Although behavioral studies have shown that there are stable individual differences in sensory processing, the neural substrates that implement such differences remain unknown. To investigate this issue, structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired from 51 healthy adults and individual differences in sensory processing were assessed using the Sensory Profile questionnaire (Brown et al.: Am J Occup Ther 55 (2001) 75–82). There were positive relationships between the Sensory Profile modality-specific subscales and gray matter volumes in the primary or secondary sensory areas for the visual, auditory, touch, and taste/smell modalities. Thus, the present results suggest that individual differences in sensory processing are implemented by the early sensory regions. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6206–6217, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Visuomotor effects of body part movements presented in the first-person perspective on imitative behavior

2017-09-20T00:30:29.308198-05:00

Imitative stimuli presented from a first-person perspective (FPP) produce stronger visuomotor effects than those presented from a third-person perspective (TPP) due to the relatively greater response of the mirror neuron system (MNS) to FPP stimuli. Some previous studies utilizing TPP stimuli have reported no differences in MNS activity between moving and static bodies’ stimuli. However, few studies have compared visuomotor effects of such stimuli when presented in the FPP. To clarify this issue, we measured cortical activation in 17 participants during a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imitation task involving three conditions: moving (a lifting finger was presented), static (an “X” appeared on a static finger), and control (an “X” appeared on a button). All stimuli were presented from the FPP or TPP. Participants were asked to lift the finger corresponding to the imitative stimulus. In the FPP condition, moving stimuli elicited greater MNS activation than static stimuli. Furthermore, such movement effects were stronger in the MNS and insula (a region associated with body-ownership) for FPP stimuli than for TPP stimuli. Psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed increased connectivity between the MNS and insula for moving stimuli in the FPP condition. These findings suggest that bodily movements presented in the FPP elicit a greater visuomotor response than static body presented in the FPP, and that the visuomotor effects of bodily movements were greater in the FPP condition than in the TPP condition. Our analyses further indicated that such responses are processed via the neural system underlying body-own[...]



Brain structural correlates of irritability: Findings in a large healthy cohort

2017-09-25T07:35:22.343175-05:00

Irritability and nonviolent aggression are common behavioral features across the population, yet there is limited neurobiological research into subclinical phenotypes representing the lower edge of a symptom continuum ranging from slight irritability to criminal violence. We studied brain structural correlates of irritability in a large healthy cohort to test the hypothesis of associations with fronto-limbic brain structures implicated in mood regulation. In a large multicenter effort, we recruited 409 mentally healthy adults from the community, who received T1-weighted high-resolution 3 T MRI scans. These structural scans were automatically preprocessed for voxel- and surface-based morphometry measurements with the CAT 12 toolbox implemented in SPM 12. Subclinical aggressive symptoms were assessed using the SCL-90-R aggression/hostility subscale and then correlated with cortical volume (VBM), and cortical thickness and gyrification. VBM analysis showed significant (P [...]



White matter integrity of central executive network correlates with enhanced brain reactivity to smoking cues

2017-09-28T07:45:24.155286-05:00

The attentional bias to smoking cues contributes to smoking cue reactivity and cognitive declines underlines smoking behaviors, which were probably associated with the central executive network (CEN). However, little is known about the implication of the structural connectivity of the CEN in smoking cue reactivity and cognitive control impairments in smokers. In the present study, the white matter structural connectivity of the CEN was quantified in 35 smokers and 26 non-smokers using the diffusion tensor imaging and deterministic fiber tractography methods. Smoking cue reactivity was evaluated using cue exposure tasks, and cognitive control performance was assessed by the Stroop task. Relative to non-smokers, smokers showed increased fractional anisotropy (FA) values of the bilateral CEN fiber tracts. The FA values of left CEN positively correlated with the smoking cue-induced activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right middle occipital cortex in smokers. Meanwhile, the FA values of left CEN positively correlated with the incongruent errors during Stroop task in smokers. Collectively, the present study highlighted the role of the structural connectivity of the CEN in smoking cue reactivity and cognitive control performance, which may underpin the attentional bias to smoking cues and cognitive deficits in smokers. The multimodal imaging method by forging links from brain structure to brain function extended the notion that structural connections can modulate the brain activity in specific projection target regions. Hum Brain Mapp 38:6239–6249, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Pe[...]