Most recent paper

Predicting high-level visual areas in the absence of task fMRI

Sat, 05/18/2024 - 18:00

Sci Rep. 2024 May 18;14(1):11376. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-62098-9.


The ventral visual stream is organized into units, or functional regions of interest (fROIs), specialized for processing high-level visual categories. Task-based fMRI scans ("localizers") are typically used to identify each individual's nuanced set of fROIs. The unique landscape of an individual's functional activation may rely in large part on their specialized connectivity patterns; recent studies corroborate this by showing that connectivity can predict individual differences in neural responses. We focus on the ventral visual stream and ask: how well can an individual's resting state functional connectivity localize their fROIs for face, body, scene, and object perception? And are the neural processors for any particular visual category better predicted by connectivity than others, suggesting a tighter mechanistic relationship between connectivity and function? We found, among 18 fROIs predicted from connectivity for each subject, all but one were selective for their preferred visual category. Defining an individual's fROIs based on their connectivity patterns yielded regions that were more selective than regions identified from previous studies or atlases in nearly all cases. Overall, we found that in the absence of a domain-specific localizer task, a 10-min resting state scan can be reliably used for defining these fROIs.

PMID:38762549 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-024-62098-9

Sports promote brain evolution: a resting-state fMRI study of volleyball athlete

Fri, 05/17/2024 - 18:00

Front Sports Act Living. 2024 May 2;6:1393988. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2024.1393988. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Long-term skill learning can lead to structure and function changes in the brain. Different sports can trigger neuroplasticity in distinct brain regions. Volleyball, as one of the most popular team sports, heavily relies on individual abilities such as perception and prediction for high-level athletes to excel. However, the specific brain mechanisms that contribute to the superior performance of volleyball athletes compared to non-athletes remain unclear.

METHOD: We conducted a study involving the recruitment of ten female volleyball athletes and ten regular female college students, forming the athlete and novice groups, respectively. Comprehensive behavioral assessments, including Functional Movement Screen and audio-visual reaction time tests, were administered to both groups. Additionally, resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were acquired for both groups. Subsequently, we conducted in-depth analyses, focusing on the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF), regional homogeneity (ReHo), and functional connectivity (FC) in the brain for both the athlete and novice groups.

RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in the behavioral data between the two groups. However, the athlete group exhibited noteworthy enhancements in both the ALFF and ReHo within the visual cortex compared to the novice group. Moreover, the functional connectivity between the visual cortex and key brain regions, including the left primary sensory cortex, left supplementary motor cortex, right insula, left superior temporal gyrus, and left inferior parietal lobule, was notably stronger in the athlete group than in the novice group.

CONCLUSION: This study has unveiled the remarkable impact of volleyball athletes on various brain functions related to vision, movement, and cognition. It indicates that volleyball, as a team-based competitive activity, fosters the advancement of visual, cognitive, and motor skills. These findings lend additional support to the early cultivation of sports talents and the comprehensive development of adolescents. Furthermore, they offer fresh perspectives on preventing and treating movement-related disorders.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registration number: ChiCTR2400079602. Date of Registration: January 8, 2024.

PMID:38756186 | PMC:PMC11098564 | DOI:10.3389/fspor.2024.1393988

A predictor-informed multi-subject bayesian approach for dynamic functional connectivity

Thu, 05/16/2024 - 18:00

PLoS One. 2024 May 16;19(5):e0298651. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0298651. eCollection 2024.


Dynamic functional connectivity investigates how the interactions among brain regions vary over the course of an fMRI experiment. Such transitions between different individual connectivity states can be modulated by changes in underlying physiological mechanisms that drive functional network dynamics, e.g., changes in attention or cognitive effort. In this paper, we develop a multi-subject Bayesian framework where the estimation of dynamic functional networks is informed by time-varying exogenous physiological covariates that are simultaneously recorded in each subject during the fMRI experiment. More specifically, we consider a dynamic Gaussian graphical model approach where a non-homogeneous hidden Markov model is employed to classify the fMRI time series into latent neurological states. We assume the state-transition probabilities to vary over time and across subjects as a function of the underlying covariates, allowing for the estimation of recurrent connectivity patterns and the sharing of networks among the subjects. We further assume sparsity in the network structures via shrinkage priors, and achieve edge selection in the estimated graph structures by introducing a multi-comparison procedure for shrinkage-based inferences with Bayesian false discovery rate control. We evaluate the performances of our method vs alternative approaches on synthetic data. We apply our modeling framework on a resting-state experiment where fMRI data have been collected concurrently with pupillometry measurements, as a proxy of cognitive processing, and assess the heterogeneity of the effects of changes in pupil dilation on the subjects' propensity to change connectivity states. The heterogeneity of state occupancy across subjects provides an understanding of the relationship between increased pupil dilation and transitions toward different cognitive states.

PMID:38753655 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0298651

A longitudinal evaluation of personalized intrinsic network topography and cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease

Thu, 05/16/2024 - 18:00

Eur J Neurosci. 2024 May 16. doi: 10.1111/ejn.16380. Online ahead of print.


Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI) offers insight into how synchrony within and between brain networks is altered in disease states. Individual and disease-related variability in intrinsic connectivity networks may influence our interpretation of R-fMRI data. We used a personalized approach designed to account for individual variation in the spatial location of correlation maxima to evaluate R-fMRI differences between Parkinson's disease (PD) patients who showed cognitive decline, those who remained cognitively stable and cognitively stable controls. We compared fMRI data from these participant groups, studied at baseline and 18 months later, using both network-based statistics (NBS) and calculations of mean inter- and intra-network connectivity within pre-defined functional networks. The NBS analysis showed that PD participants who remained cognitively stable showed exclusively (at baseline) or predominantly (at follow-up) increased intra-network connectivity, whereas decliners showed exclusively reduced intra-network and inter- (ventral attention and default mode) connectivity, in comparison with the control group. Evaluation of mean connectivity between all regions of interest (ROIs) within a priori networks showed that decliners had consistently reduced inter-network connectivity for ventral attention, somatomotor, visual and striatal networks and reduced intra-network connectivity for ventral attention network to striatum and cerebellum. These findings suggest that specific functional connectivity covariance patterns differentiate PD cognitive subtypes and may predict cognitive decline. Further, increased intra and inter-network synchrony may support cognitive function in the face of PD-related network disruptions.

PMID:38752411 | DOI:10.1111/ejn.16380

Electroacupuncture stimulation modulates functional brain connectivity in the treatment of pediatric cerebral palsy: a case report

Thu, 05/16/2024 - 18:00

Front Psychiatry. 2024 Apr 22;15:1392958. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2024.1392958. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Pediatric cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive brain injury syndrome characterized by central motor dysfunction and insufficient brain coordination ability. The etiology of CP is complex and often accompanied by diverse complications such as intellectual disability and language disorders, making clinical treatment difficult. Despite the availability of pharmacological interventions, rehabilitation programs, and spasticity relief surgery as treatment options for CP, their effectiveness is still constrained. Electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation has demonstrated great improvements in motor function, but its comprehensive, objective therapeutic effects on pediatric CP remain to be clarified.

METHODS: We present a case of a 5-year-old Chinese female child who was diagnosed with CP at the age of 4. The patient exhibited severe impairments in motor, language, social, and cognitive functions. We performed a 3-month period of EA rehabilitation, obtaining resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) of the patient at 0 month, 3 months and 5 months since treatment started, then characterized brain functional connectivity patterns in each phase for comparison.

RESULTS: After a 12-month follow-up, notable advancements were observed in the patient's language and social symptoms. Changes of functional connectivity patterns confirmed this therapeutic effect and showed specific benefits for different recovery phase: starting from language functions then modulating social participation and other developmental behaviors.

CONCLUSION: This is a pioneering report demonstrating the longitudinal effect of EA stimulation on functional brain connectivity in CP patients, suggesting EA an effective intervention for developmental disabilities (especially language and social dysfunctions) associated with pediatric CP.

PMID:38751414 | PMC:PMC11094465 | DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2024.1392958

Divergent association between pain intensity and resting-state fMRI-based brain entropy in different age groups

Thu, 05/16/2024 - 18:00

J Neurosci Res. 2024 May;102(5):e25341. doi: 10.1002/jnr.25341.


Pain is a multidimensional subjective experience sustained by multiple brain regions involved in different aspects of pain experience. We used brain entropy (BEN) estimated from resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) data to investigate the neural correlates of pain experience. BEN was estimated from rs-fMRI data provided by two datasets with different age range: the Human Connectome Project-Young Adult (HCP-YA) and the Human Connectome project-Aging (HCP-A) datasets. Retrospective assessment of experienced pain intensity was retrieved from both datasets. No main effect of pain intensity was observed. The interaction between pain and age, however, was related to increased BEN in several pain-related brain regions, reflecting greater variability of spontaneous brain activity. Dividing the sample into a young adult group (YG) and a middle age-aging group (MAG) resulted in two divergent patterns of pain-BEN association: In the YG, pain intensity was related to reduced BEN in brain regions involved in the sensory processing of pain; in the MAG, pain was associated with increased BEN in areas related to both sensory and cognitive aspects of pain experience.

PMID:38751218 | DOI:10.1002/jnr.25341

Altered effective connectivity on rapid automatized naming deficits in Chinese children with developmental dyslexia: An rs-fMRI study with Ganger causality analysis

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

J Psychiatr Res. 2024 May 11;175:235-242. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2024.05.027. Online ahead of print.


Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is the core defect of developmental dyslexia (DD), requiring collaboration among brain areas to complete. However, it's still unclear which effective connectivity (EC) among brain areas are crucial for RAN deficits in Chinses children with DD. The current study aims to explore the EC among brain areas related to RAN deficits in Chinese children with DD. We recruited 36 Chinese children with DD and 64 typically developing (TD) children aged 8-12 to complete resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scan. Granger causality analysis (GCA) was employed to analysis the EC among brain areas related to RAN, and to calculate the relationship between EC and RAN scores. Compared to TD group, the DD group exhibited significantly decreased EC from left precentral gyrus (PG) to right precuneus, left anterior cingulate and paracingulate gyrus (ACG), left calcarine and right angular, from left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) to left calcarine. Additionally, the DD group showed increased EC from right cuneus to left inferior frontal gyrus triangular part (IFGtri). The EC from left PG to left ACG was positively correlated with letters-RAN score. The results showed Chinese children with DD had both defect and compensatory mechanisms for their RAN deficits. The decreased EC output from left PG may be the core problem of the RAN deficits, which may influence the integration of visual-spatial information, attention, memory retrieval, and speech motor in speech production. The current study has important clinic implications for establishing intervention measures targeted brain.

PMID:38749297 | DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2024.05.027

Uncovering hemispheric asymmetry and directed oscillatory brain-heart interplay in anxiety processing: an fMRI study

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2024 May 15;PP. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2024.3401577. Online ahead of print.


Brain-heart interactions (BHI) are critical for generating and processing emotions, including anxiety. Understanding specific neural correlates would be instrumental for greater comprehension and potential therapeutic interventions of anxiety disorders. While prior work has implicated the pontine structure as a central processor in cardiac regulation in anxiety, the distributed nature of anxiety processing across the cortex remains elusive. To address this, we performed a whole-brain-heart analysis using the full frequency directed transfer function to study resting-state spectral differences in BHI between high and low anxiety groups undergoing fMRI scans. Our findings revealed a hemispheric asymmetry in low-frequency interplay (0.05 Hz - 0.15 Hz) characterized by ascending BHI to the left insula and descending BHI from the right insula. Furthermore, we provide evidence supporting the "pacemaker hypothesis", highlighting the pons' function in regulating cardiac activity. Higher frequency interplay (0.2 Hz - 0.4Hz) demonstrate a preference for ascending interactions, particularly towards ventral prefrontal cortical activity in high anxiety groups, suggesting the heart's role in triggering a cognitive response to regulate anxiety. These findings highlight the impact of anxiety on BHI, contributing to a better understanding of its effect on the resting-state fMRI signal, with further implications for potential therapeutic interventions in treating anxiety disorders.

PMID:38748531 | DOI:10.1109/TNSRE.2024.3401577

Hypo-connectivity of the primary somatosensory cortex in Parkinson's disease: a resting-state functional MRI study

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

Front Neurol. 2024 Apr 30;15:1361063. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2024.1361063. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by a range of motor symptoms as well as documented sensory dysfunction. This sensory dysfunction can present itself either as a "pure" sensory disturbance or as a consequence of sensory-motor integration within the central nervous system. This study aims to investigate changes in the functional connectivity of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and its clinical significance in Parkinson's disease (PD), an area that has received limited attention in previous neuroimaging studies.

METHODS: This study included thirty-three patients with PD and thirty-four healthy controls (HCs). Clinical evaluations were conducted to assess the clinical manifestations, severity, and functional capacity of all the patients. Resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) was employed to evaluate the functional connectivity of six paired S1 subregions in the participants. Seed-based correlation (SBC) analysis was utilized to construct the correlation matrix among the subregions and to generate connectivity maps between the subregions and the remaining brain voxels. Finally, the study employed partial least-squares (PLS) correlation analysis to investigate the association between modified functional connectivity and clinical characteristics in PD patients.

RESULTS: In the correlation matrix, patients with PD demonstrated a notable decrease in functional connectivity across various S1 subregions in comparison to HCs (p < 0.001, corrected using network-based methods). In connectivity maps, hypo-connectivity was primarily observed in the sensorimotor network as common patterns (p < 0.001, corrected for false discovery rate) and in the default mode network (DMN) as distinct patterns. Moreover, this study identified a negative association between the correlation matrix within S1 subregions and the scores for axial symptoms and postural instability/gait difficulty (PIGD) in PD patients. Nevertheless, a direct relationship between the connectivity maps of S1 subregions and clinical assessment scales was not established.

CONCLUSION: This study offers novel insights into the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to S1 dysfunction in PD, highlighting the significant involvement of S1 hypo-connectivity in the motor disturbances observed in PD patients.

PMID:38746656 | PMC:PMC11091379 | DOI:10.3389/fneur.2024.1361063

Association of bidirectional network cores in the brain with conscious perception and cognition

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 May 1:2024.04.30.591001. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.30.591001.


The brain comprises a complex network of interacting regions. To understand the roles and mechanisms of this complex network, its structural features related to specific cognitive functions need to be elucidated. Among such relationships, recent developments in neuroscience highlight the link between network bidirectionality and conscious perception. Given the essential roles of both feedforward and feedback signals in conscious perception, it is surmised that subnetworks with bidirectional interactions are critical. However, the link between such subnetworks and conscious perception remains unclear due to the network's complexity. In this study, we propose a framework for extracting subnetworks with strong bidirectional interactions - termed the "cores" of a network - from brain activity. We applied this framework to resting-state and task-based fMRI data to identify regions forming strongly bidirectional cores. We then explored the association of these cores with conscious perception and cognitive functions. The central cores predominantly included cerebral cortical regions, which are crucial for conscious perception, rather than subcortical regions. Furthermore, the cores were composed of previously reported regions in which electrical stimulation altered conscious perception. These results suggest a link between the bidirectional cores and conscious perception. A meta-analysis and comparison of the core structure with a cortical functional connectivity gradient suggested that the central cores were related to lower-order sensorimotor functions. An ablation study emphasized the importance of incorporating bidirectionality, not merely interaction strength for these outcomes. The proposed framework provides novel insight into the roles of network cores with strong bidirectional interactions in conscious perception and lower-order sensorimotor functions.

PMID:38746271 | PMC:PMC11092575 | DOI:10.1101/2024.04.30.591001

Variation in the Distribution of Large-scale Spatiotemporal Patterns of Activity Across Brain States

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Apr 29:2024.04.26.591295. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.26.591295.


A few large-scale spatiotemporal patterns of brain activity (quasiperiodic patterns or QPPs) account for most of the spatial structure observed in resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). The QPPs capture well-known features such as the evolution of the global signal and the alternating dominance of the default mode and task positive networks. These widespread patterns of activity have plausible ties to neuromodulatory input that mediates changes in nonlocalized processes, including arousal and attention. To determine whether QPPs exhibit variations across brain conditions, the relative magnitude and distribution of the three strongest QPPs were examined in two scenarios. First, in data from the Human Connectome Project, the relative incidence and magnitude of the QPPs was examined over the course of the scan, under the hypothesis that increasing drowsiness would shift the expression of the QPPs over time. Second, using rs-fMRI in rats obtained with a novel approach that minimizes noise, the relative incidence and magnitude of the QPPs was examined under three different anesthetic conditions expected to create distinct types of brain activity. The results indicate that both the distribution of QPPs and their magnitude changes with brain state, evidence of the sensitivity of these large-scale patterns to widespread changes linked to alterations in brain conditions.

PMID:38746246 | PMC:PMC11092498 | DOI:10.1101/2024.04.26.591295

Functional Localization of the Human Auditory and Visual Thalamus Using a Thalamic Localizer Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Task

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Apr 30:2024.04.28.591516. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.28.591516.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the auditory and visual sensory systems of the human brain is an active area of investigation in the study of human health and disease. The medial geniculate nucleus (MGN) and lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) are key thalamic nuclei involved in the processing and relay of auditory and visual information, respectively, and are the subject of blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI studies of neural activation and functional connectivity in human participants. However, localization of BOLD fMRI signal originating from neural activity in MGN and LGN remains a technical challenge, due in part to the poor definition of boundaries of these thalamic nuclei in standard T1-weighted and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging sequences. Here, we report the development and evaluation of an auditory and visual sensory thalamic localizer (TL) fMRI task that produces participant-specific functionally-defined regions of interest (fROIs) of both MGN and LGN, using 3 Tesla multiband fMRI and a clustered-sparse temporal acquisition sequence, in less than 16 minutes of scan time. We demonstrate the use of MGN and LGN fROIs obtained from the TL fMRI task in standard resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) fMRI analyses in the same participants. In RSFC analyses, we validated the specificity of MGN and LGN fROIs for signals obtained from primary auditory and visual cortex, respectively, and benchmark their performance against alternative atlas- and segmentation-based localization methods. The TL fMRI task and analysis code (written in Presentation and MATLAB, respectively) have been made freely available to the wider research community.

PMID:38746171 | PMC:PMC11092475 | DOI:10.1101/2024.04.28.591516

Altered asymmetry of functional connectome gradients in major depressive disorder

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:00

Front Neurosci. 2024 Apr 30;18:1385920. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2024.1385920. eCollection 2024.


INTRODUCTION: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating disease involving sensory and higher-order cognitive dysfunction. Previous work has shown altered asymmetry in MDD, including abnormal lateralized activation and disrupted hemispheric connectivity. However, it remains unclear whether and how MDD affects functional asymmetries in the context of intrinsic hierarchical organization.

METHODS: Here, we evaluate intra- and inter-hemispheric asymmetries of the first three functional gradients, characterizing unimodal-transmodal, visual-somatosensory, and somatomotor/default mode-multiple demand hierarchies, to study MDD-related alterations in overarching system-level architecture.

RESULTS: We find that, relative to the healthy controls, MDD patients exhibit alterations in both primary sensory regions (e.g., visual areas) and transmodal association regions (e.g., default mode areas). We further find these abnormalities are woven in heterogeneous alterations along multiple functional gradients, associated with cognitive terms involving mind, memory, and visual processing. Moreover, through an elastic net model, we observe that both intra- and inter-asymmetric features are predictive of depressive traits measured by BDI-II scores.

DISCUSSION: Altogether, these findings highlight a broad and mixed effect of MDD on functional gradient asymmetry, contributing to a richer understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings in MDD.

PMID:38745933 | PMC:PMC11092381 | DOI:10.3389/fnins.2024.1385920

Aberrant functional connectivity of the salience network in adult patients with tic disorders: a resting-state fMRI study

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 18:00

eNeuro. 2024 May 14:ENEURO.0223-23.2024. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0223-23.2024. Online ahead of print.


Tic disorders (TD) are characterized by the presence of motor and/or vocal tics. Common neurophysiological frameworks suggest dysregulations of the cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) brain circuit that controls movement execution. Besides the common tics, there are other "non-tic" symptoms that are primarily related to sensory perception, sensorimotor integration, attention, and social cognition. The existence of these symptoms, the sensory tic triggers and the modifying effect of attention and cognitive control mechanisms on tics may indicate the salience network's involvement in the neurophysiology of TD. Resting-state functional MRI measurements were performed in 26 participants with TD and 25 healthy controls. The group differences in resting-state functional connectivity patterns were measured based on seed-to-voxel connectivity analyses. Compared to healthy controls, patients with TD exhibited altered connectivity between the core regions of the salience network (insula, ACC and TPJ) and sensory, associative, and motor-related cortices. Furthermore, connectivity changes were observed in relation to the severity of tics in the TD group. The salience network, particularly the insula, is likely to be an important site of dysregulation in TD. Our results provide evidence for large-scale neural deviations in TD beyond the CSTC pathologies. These findings may be relevant for developing treatment targets.Significance statement Tic disorders (TD) are associated with a variety of symptoms beyond typical motor and vocal tics that affect sensory perception, attention, and social cognition. The presence of such non-tic symptoms suggests the potential involvement of the salience network in the pathophysiology of TD. While previous studies have predominantly focused on the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) circuitry, which is known to underlie tic generation and expression, we conducted resting-state fMRI to investigate the functional connectivity of the salience network in TD. Notably, we observed impaired connectivity of the salience network with relations to the tic symptom severity. Our research provided important evidence that the pathophysiology of TD involves the salience network, which is highly relevant for developing treatment strategies.

PMID:38744491 | DOI:10.1523/ENEURO.0223-23.2024

A hybrid CNN-SVM model for enhanced autism diagnosis

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 18:00

PLoS One. 2024 May 14;19(5):e0302236. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0302236. eCollection 2024.


Autism is a representative disorder of pervasive developmental disorder. It exerts influence upon an individual's behavior and performance, potentially co-occurring with other mental illnesses. Consequently, an effective diagnostic approach proves to be invaluable in both therapeutic interventions and the timely provision of medical support. Currently, most scholars' research primarily relies on neuroimaging techniques for auxiliary diagnosis and does not take into account the distinctive features of autism's social impediments. In order to address this deficiency, this paper introduces a novel convolutional neural network-support vector machine model that integrates resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data with the social responsiveness scale metrics for the diagnostic assessment of autism. We selected 821 subjects containing the social responsiveness scale measure from the publicly available Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange dataset, including 379 subjects with autism spectrum disorder and 442 typical controls. After preprocessing of fMRI data, we compute the static and dynamic functional connectivity for each subject. Subsequently, convolutional neural networks and attention mechanisms are utilized to extracts their respective features. The extracted features, combined with the social responsiveness scale features, are then employed as novel inputs for the support vector machine to categorize autistic patients and typical controls. The proposed model identifies salient features within the static and dynamic functional connectivity, offering a possible biological foundation for clinical diagnosis. By incorporating the behavioral assessments, the model achieves a remarkable classification accuracy of 94.30%, providing a more reliable support for auxiliary diagnosis.

PMID:38743688 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0302236

Resting-state functional connectivity in children cooled for neonatal encephalopathy

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 18:00

Brain Commun. 2024 Apr 29;6(3):fcae154. doi: 10.1093/braincomms/fcae154. eCollection 2024.


Therapeutic hypothermia improves outcomes following neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, reducing cases of death and severe disability such as cerebral palsy compared with normothermia management. However, when cooled children reach early school-age, they have cognitive and motor impairments which are associated with underlying alterations to brain structure and white matter connectivity. It is unknown whether these differences in structural connectivity are associated with differences in functional connectivity between cooled children and healthy controls. Resting-state functional MRI has been used to characterize static and dynamic functional connectivity in children, both with typical development and those with neurodevelopmental disorders. Previous studies of resting-state brain networks in children with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy have focussed on the neonatal period. In this study, we used resting-state fMRI to investigate static and dynamic functional connectivity in children aged 6-8 years who were cooled for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic without cerebral palsy [n = 22, median age (interquartile range) 7.08 (6.85-7.52) years] and healthy controls matched for age, sex and socioeconomic status [n = 20, median age (interquartile range) 6.75 (6.48-7.25) years]. Using group independent component analysis, we identified 31 intrinsic functional connectivity networks consistent with those previously reported in children and adults. We found no case-control differences in the spatial maps of these intrinsic connectivity networks. We constructed subject-specific static functional connectivity networks by measuring pairwise Pearson correlations between component time courses and found no case-control differences in functional connectivity after false discovery rate correction. To study the time-varying organization of resting-state networks, we used sliding window correlations and deep clustering to investigate dynamic functional connectivity characteristics. We found k = 4 repetitively occurring functional connectivity states, which exhibited no case-control differences in dwell time, fractional occupancy or state functional connectivity matrices. In this small cohort, the spatiotemporal characteristics of resting-state brain networks in cooled children without severe disability were too subtle to be differentiated from healthy controls at early school-age, despite underlying differences in brain structure and white matter connectivity, possibly reflecting a level of recovery of healthy resting-state brain function. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate resting-state functional connectivity in children with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy beyond the neonatal period and the first to investigate dynamic functional connectivity in any children with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.

PMID:38741661 | PMC:PMC11089421 | DOI:10.1093/braincomms/fcae154

Non-Cartesian 3D-SPARKLING vs Cartesian 3D-EPI encoding schemes for functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging at 7 Tesla

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 18:00

PLoS One. 2024 May 13;19(5):e0299925. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299925. eCollection 2024.


The quest for higher spatial and/or temporal resolution in functional MRI (fMRI) while preserving a sufficient temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR) has generated a tremendous amount of methodological contributions in the last decade ranging from Cartesian vs. non-Cartesian readouts, 2D vs. 3D acquisition strategies, parallel imaging and/or compressed sensing (CS) accelerations and simultaneous multi-slice acquisitions to cite a few. In this paper, we investigate the use of a finely tuned version of 3D-SPARKLING. This is a non-Cartesian CS-based acquisition technique for high spatial resolution whole-brain fMRI. We compare it to state-of-the-art Cartesian 3D-EPI during both a retinotopic mapping paradigm and resting-state acquisitions at 1mm3 (isotropic spatial resolution). This study involves six healthy volunteers and both acquisition sequences were run on each individual in a randomly-balanced order across subjects. The performances of both acquisition techniques are compared to each other in regards to tSNR, sensitivity to the BOLD effect and spatial specificity. Our findings reveal that 3D-SPARKLING has a higher tSNR than 3D-EPI, an improved sensitivity to detect the BOLD contrast in the gray matter, and an improved spatial specificity. Compared to 3D-EPI, 3D-SPARKLING yields, on average, 7% more activated voxels in the gray matter relative to the total number of activated voxels.

PMID:38739571 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0299925

The Development of Socially Directed Attention: An Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study in Infant Monkeys

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 18:00

J Cogn Neurosci. 2024 May 10:1-19. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_02187. Online ahead of print.


Socially guided visual attention, such as gaze following and joint attention, represents the building block of higher-level social cognition in primates, although their neurodevelopmental processes are still poorly understood. Atypical development of these social skills has served as early marker of autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. In this study, we trace the developmental trajectories of four neural networks underlying visual and attentional social engagement in the translational rhesus monkey model. Resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) data and gaze following skills were collected in infant rhesus macaques from birth through 6 months of age. Developmental trajectories from subjects with both resting-state fMRI and eye-tracking data were used to explore brain-behavior relationships. Our findings indicate robust increases in functional connectivity (FC) between primary visual areas (primary visual cortex [V1] - extrastriate area 3 [V3] and V3 - middle temporal area, ventral motion areas middle temporal area - AST, as well as between TE and amygdala (AMY) as infants mature. Significant FC decreases were found in more rostral areas of the pathways, such as areas temporal area occipital part - TE in the ventral object pathway, V3 - lateral intraparietal (LIP) of the dorsal visual attention pathway and V3 - temporo-parietal area of the ventral attention pathway. No changes in FC were found between cortical areas LIP-FEF and temporo-parietal area - Area 12 of the dorsal and ventral attention pathways or between AST-AMY and AMY-insula. Developmental trajectory of gaze following revealed a period of dynamic changes with gradual increases from 1 to 2 months, followed by slight decreases from 3 to 6 months. Exploratory association findings across the 6-month period showed that infants with higher gaze following had lower FC between primary visual areas V1-V3, but higher FC in the dorsal attention areas V3-LIP, both in the right hemisphere. Together, the first 6 months of life in rhesus macaques represent a critical period for the emergence of gaze following skills associated with maturational changes in FC of socially guided attention pathways.

PMID:38739568 | DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_02187

Functional alterations in overweight/obesity: focusing on the reward and executive control network

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 18:00

Rev Neurosci. 2024 May 14. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2024-0034. Online ahead of print.


Overweight (OW) and obesity (OB) have become prevalent issues in the global public health arena. Serving as a prominent risk factor for various chronic diseases, overweight/obesity not only poses serious threats to people's physical and mental health but also imposes significant medical and economic burdens on society as a whole. In recent years, there has been a growing focus on basic scientific research dedicated to seeking the neural evidence underlying overweight/obesity, aiming to elucidate its causes and effects by revealing functional alterations in brain networks. Among them, dysfunction in the reward network (RN) and executive control network (ECN) during both resting state and task conditions is considered pivotal in neuroscience research on overweight/obesity. Their aberrations contribute to explaining why persons with overweight/obesity exhibit heightened sensitivity to food rewards and eating disinhibition. This review centers on the reward and executive control network by analyzing and organizing the resting-state and task-based fMRI studies of functional brain network alterations in overweight/obesity. Building upon this foundation, the authors further summarize a reward-inhibition dual-system model, with a view to establishing a theoretical framework for future exploration in this field.

PMID:38738975 | DOI:10.1515/revneuro-2024-0034

Neural correlates of individual differences in moral identity and its positive moral function

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 18:00

J Neuropsychol. 2024 May 13. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12371. Online ahead of print.


Moral identity is an important moral variable which has positive moral functions, such as contributing to prosocial behaviours, reducing antisocial behaviours, and resisting the risk factors of antisocial behaviours. However, little is known about the neural correlates of moral identity and the neural basis of the effect of moral identity on the risk factors of antisocial behaviours, including moral disengagement. In this study, we explored these issues in 142 college students by estimating the regional homogeneity (ReHo) through resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The whole-brain correlation analyses found that higher internalized moral identity was correlated with higher ReHo in the precuneus. Furthermore, the ReHo in the precuneus was negatively correlated with moral disengagement, suggesting positive moral functions of the neural mechanisms of moral identity. These findings deepen our understanding of individual differences in moral identity and provide inspiration for the education of moral identity and the intervention for moral disengagement from the perspective of the brain.

PMID:38738605 | DOI:10.1111/jnp.12371