New resting-state fMRI related studies at PubMed

Optimizing differential identifiability improves connectome predictive modeling of cognitive deficits from functional connectivity in Alzheimer's disease

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 May 5. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25448. Online ahead of print.


Functional connectivity, as estimated using resting state functional MRI, has shown potential in bridging the gap between pathophysiology and cognition. However, clinical use of functional connectivity biomarkers is impeded by unreliable estimates of individual functional connectomes and lack of generalizability of models predicting cognitive outcomes from connectivity. To address these issues, we combine the frameworks of connectome predictive modeling and differential identifiability. Using the combined framework, we show that enhancing the individual fingerprint of resting state functional connectomes leads to robust identification of functional networks associated to cognitive outcomes and also improves prediction of cognitive outcomes from functional connectomes. Using a comprehensive spectrum of cognitive outcomes associated to Alzheimer's disease (AD), we identify and characterize functional networks associated to specific cognitive deficits exhibited in AD. This combined framework is an important step in making individual level predictions of cognition from resting state functional connectomes and in understanding the relationship between cognition and connectivity.

PMID:33949732 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.25448

Temporal variability of regional intrinsic neural activity in drug-naïve patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 May 5. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25465. Online ahead of print.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) displays alterations in regional brain activity represented by the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF), but the time-varying characteristics of this local neural activity remain to be clarified. We aimed to investigate the dynamic changes of intrinsic brain activity in a relatively large sample of drug-naïve OCD patients using univariate and multivariate analyses. We applied a sliding-window approach to calculate the dynamic ALFF (dALFF) and compared the difference between 73 OCD patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs). We also utilized multivariate pattern analysis to determine whether dALFF could differentiate OCD patients from HCs at the individual level. Compared with HCs, OCD patients exhibited increased dALFF mainly within regions of the cortical-striatal-thalamic-cortical (CSTC) circuit, including the bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex and striatum, and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Decreased dALFF was identified in the bilateral inferior parietal lobule (IPL), posterior cingulate cortex, insula, fusiform gyrus, and cerebellum. Moreover, we found negative correlations between illness duration and dALFF values in the right IPL and between dALFF values in the left cerebellum and Hamilton Depression Scale scores. Furthermore, dALFF can distinguish OCD patients from HCs with the most discriminative regions located in the IPL, dlPFC, middle occipital gyrus, and cuneus. Taken together, in the current study, we demonstrated a characteristic pattern of higher variability of regional brain activity within the CSTC circuits and lower variability in regions outside the CSTC circuits in drug-naïve OCD patients.

PMID:33949731 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.25465

The Relationship Between Behavioral Inhibition and Approach Motivation Systems (BIS/BAS) and Intrinsic Brain Network Connectivity in Adult Cannabis Users

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2021 May 5:nsab054. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsab054. Online ahead of print.


Dampened behavioral inhibition and overactive behavioral approach motivation systems (i.e., BIS/BAS) are associated with cannabis use disorder (CUD), although the underlying neural mechanisms of these alterations have not yet been examined. The brain's executive control network (ECN) plays a role in decision-making and is associated with BIS/BAS. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that altered ECN resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) underlies dysfunctional behavioral inhibition and approach motivation in cannabis users. To that end, we collected resting state fMRI scans in 86 cannabis using and 59 non-using adults to examine group differences in the relationship between ECN rsFC and BIS/BAS. Our results showed that BIS was positively correlated with left ECN rsFC in cannabis users, while it was positively correlated with right ECN rsFC in non-users. There was a trend-level moderation effect of group on the association between BIS/BAS and ECN rsFC showing weaker association in BIS/BAS and ECN rsFC in the cannabis users compared to non-users. An exploratory mediation analysis found that severity of CUD mediated the relationship between users' BIS scores and left ECN rsFC. These findings suggest that cannabis use may lead to dysregulation in typical ECN functional organization related to BIS/BAS.

PMID:33949664 | DOI:10.1093/scan/nsab054

Single-index models with functional connectivity network predictors

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Biostatistics. 2021 May 5:kxab015. doi: 10.1093/biostatistics/kxab015. Online ahead of print.


Functional connectivity is defined as the undirected association between two or more functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time series. Increasingly, subject-level functional connectivity data have been used to predict and classify clinical outcomes and subject attributes. We propose a single-index model wherein response variables and sparse functional connectivity network valued predictors are linked by an unspecified smooth function in order to accommodate potentially nonlinear relationships. We exploit the network structure of functional connectivity by imposing meaningful sparsity constraints, which lead not only to the identification of association of interactions between regions with the response but also the assessment of whether or not the functional connectivity associated with a brain region is related to the response variable. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model in simulation studies and in an application to a resting-state fMRI data set from the Human Connectome Project to model fluid intelligence and sex and to identify predictive links between brain regions.

PMID:33948617 | DOI:10.1093/biostatistics/kxab015

The role of the orbitofrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens for craving in alcohol use disorder

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 May 4;11(1):267. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01384-w.


This study aimed to investigate structural and functional alterations of the reward system and the neurobiology of craving in alcohol use disorder (AUD). We hypothesized reduced volume of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), reduced structural connectivity of the segment of the supero-lateral medial forebrain bundle connecting the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) with the NAcc (OFC-NAcc), and reduced resting-state OFC-NAcc functional connectivity (FC). Furthermore, we hypothesized that craving is related to an increase of OFC-NAcc FC. Thirty-nine recently abstinent patients with AUD and 18 healthy controls (HC) underwent structural (T1w-MP2RAGE, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)) and functional (resting-state fMRI) MRI-scans. Gray matter volume of the NAcc, white matter microstructure (fractional anisotropy (FA)) and macrostructure (tract length) of the OFC-NAcc connection and OFC-NAcc FC were compared between AUD and HC using a mixed model MANCOVA controlling for age and gender. Craving was assessed using the thoughts subscale of the obsessive-compulsive drinking scale (OCDS) scale and was correlated with OFC-NAcc FC. There was a significant main effect of group. Results were driven by a volume reduction of bilateral NAcc, reduced FA in the left hemisphere, and reduced tract length of bilateral OFC-NAcc connections in AUD patients. OFC-NAcc FC did not differ between groups. Craving was associated with increased bilateral OFC-NAcc FC. In conclusion, reduced volume of the NAcc and reduced FA and tract length of the OFC-NAcc network suggest structural alterations of the reward network in AUD. Increased OFC-NAcc FC is associated with craving in AUD, and may contribute to situational alcohol-seeking behavior in AUD.

PMID:33947835 | DOI:10.1038/s41398-021-01384-w

A digital intervention targeting cognitive control network dysfunction in middle age and older adults with major depression

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 May 4;11(1):269. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01386-8.


Nonpharmacological interventions targeting putative network mechanisms of major depressive disorder (MDD) may represent novel treatments. This mechanistic study investigates how a video game-like intervention, designed to improve cognitive control network (CCN) functioning by targeting multitasking, influences the CCN of middle-aged and older adults with MDD. The sample consisted of 34 adults aged 45-75 with SCID-defined diagnosis of MDD, Hamilton depression rating scale scores ≥20, and a deficit in cognitive control. Participants were instructed to play at home for 20-25 min per day, at least 5 times per week, for 4 weeks. Evidence of target engagement was defined a priori as >2/3 of participants showing CCN improvement. CCN engagement was defined as a change in a Z score of ≥0.5 on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in activation and functional connectivity of the CCN during task-based and resting-state fMRI, respectively. 74% of participants showed a change in activation of the CCN, and 72% showed an increase in resting-state functional connectivity. Sixty-eight percent demonstrated improved cognitive control function, measured as either improvement on sustained attention or working memory performance or reduced self-reported symptoms of apathy on the frontal systems behavioral scale (FrsBe). Participants also reported a significant reduction in mood symptoms measured by PHQ-9. A remotely deployed neuroscience-informed video game-like intervention improves both CCN functions and mood in middle-aged and older adults with MDD. This easily-disseminated intervention may rescue CCN dysfunction present in a substantial subset of middle-aged and older adults with MDD.

PMID:33947831 | DOI:10.1038/s41398-021-01386-8

Neural correlates of treatment effect and prediction of treatment outcome in patients with PTSD and comorbid personality disorder: study design

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Borderline Personal Disord Emot Dysregul. 2021 May 5;8(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s40479-021-00156-8.


BACKGROUND: Neural alterations related to treatment outcome in patients with both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and comorbid personality disorder are unknown. Here we describe the protocol for a neuroimaging study of treatment of patients with PTSD and comorbid borderline (BPD) or cluster C (CPD) personality disorder traits. Our specific aims are to 1) investigate treatment-induced neural alterations, 2) predict treatment outcome using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 3) study neural alterations associated with BPD and CPD in PTSD patients. We hypothesize that 1) all treatment conditions are associated with normalization of limbic and prefrontal brain activity and hyperconnectivity in resting-state brain networks, with additional normalization of task-related activation in emotion regulation brain areas in the patients who receive trauma-focused therapy and personality disorder treatment; 2) Baseline task-related activation, together with structural brain measures and clinical variables predict treatment outcome; 3) dysfunction in task-related activation and resting-state connectivity of emotion regulation areas is comparable in PTSD patients with BPD or CPD, with a hypoconnected central executive network in patients with PTSD+BPD.

METHODS: We aim to include pre- and post-treatment 3 T-MRI scans in 40 patients with PTSD and (sub) clinical comorbid BPD or CPD. With an expected attrition rate of 50%, at least 80 patients will be scanned before treatment. MRI scans for 30 matched healthy controls will additionally be acquired. Patients with PTSD and BPD were randomized to either EMDR-only or EMDR combined with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. Patients with PTSD and CPD were randomized to Imaginary Rescripting (ImRs) or to ImRs combined with Schema Focused Therapy. The scan protocol consists of a T1-weighted structural scan, resting state fMRI, task-based fMRI during an emotional face task and multi-shell diffusion weighted images. For data analysis, multivariate mixed-models, regression analyses and machine learning models will be used.

DISCUSSION: This study is one of the first to use neuroimaging measures to predict and better understand treatment response in patients with PTSD and comorbid personality disorders. A heterogeneous, naturalistic sample will be included, ensuring generalizability to a broad group of treatment seeking PTSD patients.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials, NCT03833453 & NCT03833531 . Retrospectively registered, February 2019.

PMID:33947471 | DOI:10.1186/s40479-021-00156-8

Functional connectivity changes in cerebral small vessel disease - a systematic review of the resting-state MRI literature

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

BMC Med. 2021 May 5;19(1):103. doi: 10.1186/s12916-021-01962-1.


BACKGROUND: Cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) is a common neurological disease present in the ageing population that is associated with an increased risk of dementia and stroke. Damage to white matter tracts compromises the substrate for interneuronal connectivity. Analysing resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can reveal dysfunctional patterns of brain connectivity and contribute to explaining the pathophysiology of clinical phenotypes in CSVD.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This systematic review provides an overview of methods and results of recent resting-state functional MRI studies in patients with CSVD. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) protocol, a systematic search of the literature was performed.

RESULTS: Of 493 studies that were screened, 44 reports were identified that investigated resting-state fMRI connectivity in the context of cerebral small vessel disease. The risk of bias and heterogeneity of results were moderate to high. Patterns associated with CSVD included disturbed connectivity within and between intrinsic brain networks, in particular the default mode, dorsal attention, frontoparietal control, and salience networks; decoupling of neuronal activity along an anterior-posterior axis; and increases in functional connectivity in the early stage of the disease.

CONCLUSION: The recent literature provides further evidence for a functional disconnection model of cognitive impairment in CSVD. We suggest that the salience network might play a hitherto underappreciated role in this model. Low quality of evidence and the lack of preregistered multi-centre studies remain challenges to be overcome in the future.

PMID:33947394 | DOI:10.1186/s12916-021-01962-1

An Investigation of the Impacts of Three Anesthetic Regimes on Task-fMRI and Functional Connectivity Resting-State fMRI in Sprague Dawley and Wistar Rats

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Brain Connect. 2021 May 5. doi: 10.1089/brain.2020.0875. Online ahead of print.


Aim The aim of this study was to investigate basic task-fMRI or resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) results on Sprague Dawley (SD) rats and Wistar rats under three anesthetic regimes. Introduction SD rats and Wistar rats are the two most commonly used rat strains in medical research and neuroimaging studies. It still lacks a direct comparison of basic task-fMRI and rs-fMRI results between the Wistar rats and SD rats under different anesthetic regimes. Methods Two rat strains and different time points were adopted to investigate task-fMRI activation and rs-fMRI functional connectivity results under three kinds of anesthetic regimes (2~2.5% Isoflurane only, Dexmedetomidine bolus combined with a continuous infusion, and Dexmedetomidine bolus combined with 0.3%-0.5% isoflurane). The electrical forepaw stimulation method and seed-based functional connectivity results were used to compare the task-fMRI brain activation and rs-fMRI functional connectivity patterns between the two rat strains. Results The results showed that Wistar rats had more robust brain activation in task fMRI experiments while exhibiting a less specific inter-hemispheric functional connectivity than that of SD rats under the two dexmedetomidine anesthetic regimes. Moreover, even low-level isoflurane could significantly affect task-fMRI and rs-fMRI results in both rat strains. Conclusions SD and Wistar rats showed different brain activation and inter-hemispheric functional connectivity pattern under the two dexmedetomidine anesthetic regimes. These results may serve as reference information for small animal fMRI studies.

PMID:33947271 | DOI:10.1089/brain.2020.0875

Attention and Default Mode Network Assessments of Meditation Experience during Active Cognition and Rest

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:00

Brain Sci. 2021 Apr 29;11(5):566. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11050566.


Meditation experience has previously been shown to improve performance on behavioral assessments of attention, but the neural bases of this improvement are unknown. Two prominent, strongly competing networks exist in the human cortex: a dorsal attention network, that is activated during focused attention, and a default mode network, that is suppressed during attentionally demanding tasks. Prior studies suggest that strong anti-correlations between these networks indicate good brain health. In addition, a third network, a ventral attention network, serves as a "circuit-breaker" that transiently disrupts and redirects focused attention to permit salient stimuli to capture attention. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to contrast cortical network activation between experienced focused attention Vipassana meditators and matched controls. Participants performed two attention tasks during scanning: a sustained attention task and an attention-capture task. Meditators demonstrated increased magnitude of differential activation in the dorsal attention vs. default mode network in a sustained attention task, relative to controls. In contrast, there were no evident attention network differences between meditators and controls in an attentional reorienting paradigm. A resting state functional connectivity analysis revealed a greater magnitude of anticorrelation between dorsal attention and default mode networks in the meditators as compared to both our local control group and a n = 168 Human Connectome Project dataset. These results demonstrate, with both task- and rest-based fMRI data, increased stability in sustained attention processes without an associated attentional capture cost in meditators. Task and resting-state results, which revealed stronger anticorrelations between dorsal attention and default mode networks in experienced mediators than in controls, are consistent with a brain health benefit of long-term meditation practice.

PMID:33946661 | DOI:10.3390/brainsci11050566

Brain-wide functional diffuse optical tomography of resting state networks

Tue, 05/04/2021 - 10:00

J Neural Eng. 2021 May 4. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/abfdf9. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Diffuse optical tomography (DOT) has the potential in reconstructing resting-state networks (RSNs) in human brains with high spatio-temporal resolutions and multiple contrasts. While several RSNs have been reported and successfully reconstructed using DOT, its full potential in recovering a collective set of distributed brain-wide networks with the number of RSNs close to those reported using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has not been demonstrated.

APPROACH: The present study developed a novel brain-wide DOT (BW-DOT) framework that integrates a cap-based whole-head optode placement system with multiple computational approaches, i.e., finite-element modeling, inverse source reconstruction, data-driven pattern recognition, and statistical correlation tomography, to reconstruct RSNs in dual contrasts of oxygenated (HbO) and deoxygenated hemoglobins (HbR).

MAIN RESULTS: Our results from the proposed framework revealed a comprehensive set of RSNs and their subnetworks, which collectively cover almost the entire neocortical surface of the human brain, both at the group level and individual participants. The spatial patterns of these DOT RSNs suggest statistically significant similarities to fMRI RSN templates. Our results also reported the networks involving the medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus that had been missed in previous DOT studies. Furthermore, RSNs obtained from HbO and HbR suggest similarity in terms of both the number of RSN types reconstructed and their corresponding spatial patterns, while HbR RSNs show statistically more similarity to fMRI RSN templates and HbO RSNs indicate more bilateral patterns over two hemispheres. In addition, the BW-DOT framework allowed consistent reconstructions of RSNs across individuals and across recording sessions, indicating its high robustness and reproducibility, respectively.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our present results suggest the feasibility of using the brain-wide DOT, as a neuroimaging tool, in simultaneously mapping multiple RSNs and its potential values in studying RSNs, particularly in patient populations under diverse conditions and needs, due to its advantages in accessibility over fMRI.

PMID:33946052 | DOI:10.1088/1741-2552/abfdf9

Diagnostic power of resting-state fMRI for detection of network connectivity in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment: A systematic review

Tue, 05/04/2021 - 10:00

Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 May 4. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25369. Online ahead of print.


Resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) detects functional connectivity (FC) abnormalities that occur in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). FC of the default mode network (DMN) is commonly impaired in AD and MCI. We conducted a systematic review aimed at determining the diagnostic power of rs-fMRI to identify FC abnormalities in the DMN of patients with AD or MCI compared with healthy controls (HCs) using machine learning (ML) methods. Multimodal support vector machine (SVM) algorithm was the commonest form of ML method utilized. Multiple kernel approach can be utilized to aid in the classification by incorporating various discriminating features, such as FC graphs based on "nodes" and "edges" together with structural MRI-based regional cortical thickness and gray matter volume. Other multimodal features include neuropsychiatric testing scores, DTI features, and regional cerebral blood flow. Among AD patients, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/Precuneus was noted to be a highly affected hub of the DMN that demonstrated overall reduced FC. Whereas reduced DMN FC between the PCC and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was observed in MCI patients. Evidence indicates that the nodes of the DMN can offer moderate to high diagnostic power to distinguish AD and MCI patients. Nevertheless, various concerns over the homogeneity of data based on patient selection, scanner effects, and the variable usage of classifiers and algorithms pose a challenge for ML-based image interpretation of rs-fMRI datasets to become a mainstream option for diagnosing AD and predicting the conversion of HC/MCI to AD.

PMID:33942449 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.25369

Individual-Specific Areal-Level Parcellations Improve Functional Connectivity Prediction of Behavior

Tue, 05/04/2021 - 10:00

Cereb Cortex. 2021 May 4:bhab101. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhab101. Online ahead of print.


Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) allows estimation of individual-specific cortical parcellations. We have previously developed a multi-session hierarchical Bayesian model (MS-HBM) for estimating high-quality individual-specific network-level parcellations. Here, we extend the model to estimate individual-specific areal-level parcellations. While network-level parcellations comprise spatially distributed networks spanning the cortex, the consensus is that areal-level parcels should be spatially localized, that is, should not span multiple lobes. There is disagreement about whether areal-level parcels should be strictly contiguous or comprise multiple noncontiguous components; therefore, we considered three areal-level MS-HBM variants spanning these range of possibilities. Individual-specific MS-HBM parcellations estimated using 10 min of data generalized better than other approaches using 150 min of data to out-of-sample rs-fMRI and task-fMRI from the same individuals. Resting-state functional connectivity derived from MS-HBM parcellations also achieved the best behavioral prediction performance. Among the three MS-HBM variants, the strictly contiguous MS-HBM exhibited the best resting-state homogeneity and most uniform within-parcel task activation. In terms of behavioral prediction, the gradient-infused MS-HBM was numerically the best, but differences among MS-HBM variants were not statistically significant. Overall, these results suggest that areal-level MS-HBMs can capture behaviorally meaningful individual-specific parcellation features beyond group-level parcellations. Multi-resolution trained models and parcellations are publicly available (

PMID:33942058 | DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhab101

Data-driven parcellation and graph theory analyses to study adolescent mood and anxiety symptoms

Tue, 05/04/2021 - 10:00

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 May 3;11(1):266. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01321-x.


Adolescence is a period of rapid brain development when psychiatric symptoms often first emerge. Studying adolescents may therefore facilitate the identification of neural alterations early in the course of psychiatric conditions. Here, we sought to utilize new, high-quality brain parcellations and data-driven graph theory approaches to characterize associations between resting-state networks and the severity of depression, anxiety, and anhedonia symptoms-salient features across psychiatric conditions. As reward circuitry matures considerably during adolescence, we examined both Whole Brain and three task-derived reward networks. Subjects were 87 psychotropic-medication-free adolescents (age = 12-20) with diverse psychiatric conditions (n = 68) and healthy controls (n = 19). All completed diagnostic interviews, dimensional clinical assessments, and 3T resting-state fMRI (10 min/2.3 mm/TR = 1 s). Following high-quality Human Connectome Project-style preprocessing, multimodal surface matching (MSMAll) alignment, and parcellation via the Cole-Anticevic Brain-wide Network Partition, weighted graph theoretical metrics (Strength Centrality = CStr; Eigenvector Centrality = CEig; Local Efficiency = ELoc) were estimated within each network. Associations with symptom severity and clinical status were assessed non-parametrically (two-tailed pFWE < 0.05). Across subjects, depression scores correlated with ventral striatum CStr within the Reward Attainment network, while anticipatory anhedonia correlated with CStr and ELoc in the subgenual anterior cingulate, dorsal anterior cingulate, orbitofrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum across multiple networks. Group differences and associations with anxiety were not detected. Using detailed functional and clinical measures, we found that adolescent depression and anhedonia involve increased influence and communication efficiency in prefrontal and limbic reward areas. Resting-state network properties thus reflect positive valence system anomalies related to discrete reward sub-systems and processing phases early in the course of illness.

PMID:33941762 | DOI:10.1038/s41398-021-01321-x

Detecting structural and functional neuroplasticity in elite ice-skating athletes

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Hum Mov Sci. 2021 Apr 30;78:102795. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2021.102795. Online ahead of print.


Using resting-state fMRI, this study investigated long-term ice-skating training related changes in elite ice-skating athletes and compared them to healthy age-matched non-athletes under resting-state conditions. Significant differences were found in both structural and functional plasticity. Specifically, elite ice-skating athletes showed higher gray matter volume in the posterior cerebellum, frontal lobe, temporal lobe, posterior cingulate, caudate, and thalamus. The functional plasticity changes were primarily concentrated in the posterior cerebellar lobe. Additionally, stronger connectivity between the posterior cerebellar lobe and fusiform gyrus was also found in elite ice-skating athletes. Overall, the results are consistent with other studies that concluded long-term professional motor skill training can cause structural and functional plasticity in the regions of the brain related to motor planning, execution, and supervision. Both structural plasticity and functional plasticity are primarily enhanced in the posterior cerebellum. These changes may be related to the outstanding capability of speed and coordination caused by long-term ice-skating training. Present results add new evidence and may help us to understand the neural mechanisms of long-term motor skill training.

PMID:33940321 | DOI:10.1016/j.humov.2021.102795

Local and Distant responses to single pulse electrical stimulation reflect different forms of connectivity

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Neuroimage. 2021 Apr 30:118094. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118094. Online ahead of print.


Measuring connectivity in the human brain involves innumerable approaches using both noninvasive (fMRI, EEG) and invasive (intracranial EEG or iEEG) recording modalities, including the use of external probing stimuli, such as direct electrical stimulation. To examine how different measures of connectivity correlate with one another, we compared 'passive' measures of connectivity during resting state conditions to the more 'active' probing measures of connectivity with single pulse electrical stimulation (SPES). We measured the network engagement and spread of the cortico-cortico evoked potential (CCEP) induced by SPES at 53 out of 104 total sites across the brain, including cortical and subcortical regions, in patients with intractable epilepsy (N=11) who were undergoing intracranial recordings as a part of their clinical care for identifying seizure onset zones. We compared the CCEP network to functional, effective, and structural measures of connectivity during a resting state in each patient. Functional and effective connectivity measures included correlation or Granger causality measures applied to stereoEEG (sEEGs) recordings. Structural connectivity was derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) acquired before intracranial electrode implant and monitoring (N=8). The CCEP network was most similar to the resting state voltage correlation network in channels near to the stimulation location. In contrast, the distant CCEP network was most similar to the DTI network. Other connectivity measures were not as similar to the CCEP network. These results demonstrate that different connectivity measures, including those derived from active stimulation-based probing, measure different, complementary aspects of regional interrelationships in the brain.

PMID:33940142 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118094

Functional connectivity abnormalities underlying mood disturbances in male abstinent methamphetamine abusers

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 May 3. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25439. Online ahead of print.


Anxiety and depression are the most common withdrawal symptoms of methamphetamine (METH) abuse, which further exacerbate relapse of METH abuse. To date, no effective pharmacotherapy exists for METH abuse and its withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, understanding the neuromechanism underlying METH abuse and its withdrawal symptoms is essential for developing clinical strategies and improving patient care. The aims of this study were to investigate brain network abnormalities in METH abusers (MAs) and their associations with affective symptoms. Forty-eight male abstinent MAs and 48 age-gender matched healthy controls were recruited and underwent resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The severity of patient anxiety and depressive symptoms were measured by Hamilton anxiety and depression rating scales, which decreased across the duration of abstinence. Independent component analysis was used to investigate the brain network functional connectivity (FC) properties. Compared with healthy controls, MAs demonstrated hypo-intra-network FC in the cerebellar network and hyper-intra-network FC in the posterior salience network. A whole-brain regression analysis revealed that FC strength of clusters located in the right rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) within the ventromedial network (VMN) was associated with affective symptoms in the patients. Importantly, the intra-network FC strength of the rACC in VMN mediated the association between abstinence duration and the severity level of affective symptoms. Our results demonstrate alterations in brain functional networks underlying METH abuse, and that the FC of rACC within VMN serve as a neural substrate in the association between abstinence length and affective symptom severity in the MAs.

PMID:33939234 | DOI:10.1002/hbm.25439

Brain connectivity alterations after additional sensorimotor or motor therapy for the upper limb in the early-phase post stroke: a randomized controlled trial

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Brain Commun. 2021 Apr 12;3(2):fcab074. doi: 10.1093/braincomms/fcab074. eCollection 2021.


Somatosensory function plays an important role for upper limb motor learning. However, knowledge about underlying mechanisms of sensorimotor therapy is lacking. We aim to investigate differences in therapy-induced resting-state functional connectivity changes between additional sensorimotor compared with motor therapy in the early-phase post stroke. Thirty first-stroke patients with a sensorimotor impairment were included for an assessor-blinded multi-centre randomized controlled trial within 8 weeks post stroke [13 (43%) females; mean age: 67 ± 13 years; mean time post stroke: 43 ± 13 days]. Patients were randomly assigned to additional sensorimotor (n = 18) or motor (n = 12) therapy, receiving 16 h of additional therapy within 4 weeks. Sensorimotor evaluations and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging were performed at baseline (T1), post-intervention (T2) and after 4 weeks follow-up (T3). Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was also performed in an age-matched healthy control group (n = 19) to identify patterns of aberrant connectivity in stroke patients between hemispheres, or within ipsilesional and contralesional hemispheres. Mixed model analysis investigated session and treatment effects between stroke therapy groups. Non-parametric partial correlations were used to investigate brain-behaviour associations with age and frame-wise displacement as nuisance regressors. Connections within the contralesional hemisphere that showed hypo-connectivity in subacute stroke patients (compared with healthy controls) showed a trend towards a more pronounced pre-to-post normalization (less hypo-connectivity) in the motor therapy group, compared with the sensorimotor therapy group (mean estimated difference = -0.155 ± 0.061; P = 0.02). Further, the motor therapy group also tended to show a further pre-to-post increase in functional connectivity strength among connections that already showed hyper-connectivity in the stroke patients at baseline versus healthy controls (mean estimated difference = -0.144 ± 0.072; P = 0.06). Notably, these observed increases in hyper-connectivity of the contralesional hemisphere were positively associated with improvements in functional activity (r = 0.48), providing indications that these patterns of hyper-connectivity are compensatory in nature. The sensorimotor and motor therapy group showed no significant differences in terms of pre-to-post changes in inter-hemispheric connectivity or ipsilesional intrahemispheric connectivity. While effects are only tentative within this preliminary sample, results suggest a possible stronger normalization of hypo-connectivity and a stronger pre-to-post increase in compensatory hyper-connectivity of the contralesional hemisphere after motor therapy compared with sensorimotor therapy. Future studies with larger patient samples are however recommended to confirm these trend-based preliminary findings.

PMID:33937771 | PMC:PMC8072522 | DOI:10.1093/braincomms/fcab074

Fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation in patients with neovascular glaucoma: a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Quant Imaging Med Surg. 2021 May;11(5):2138-2150. doi: 10.21037/qims-20-855.


BACKGROUND: Neovascular glaucoma (NVG) is a secondary refractory disease with a poor prognosis, and there are few advanced studies on its pathogenesis and treatment. In this research, the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF) technology was used in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) to investigate intrinsic neuron activity in the patient's brain with NVG.

METHODS: Sixteen patients with NVG (eight males and eight females) and 16 healthy controls (HCs) of similar age and sex were included. All patients and controls received rsfMRI scans, and the differences between the two groups in fALFF values were compared by independent sample t-test. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to compare fALFF values in the brain regions of NVG patients and HCs and assess accuracy. Finally, Pearson linear correlation analysis assessed the correlation between fALFF signals in brain regions and the clinical evaluation indicators of patients with NVG.

RESULTS: In patients with NVG, fALFF signal values in the right Rolandic operculum, left anterior cingulate and paracingulate gyri, and right caudate were significantly decreased. In contrast, fALFF signal values in the left precuneus were significantly higher than those recorded in the HCs. Analysis of the ROC curve for each brain region showed that the area under the ROC curve of NVG patients was large (close to 1), and the accuracy was good. In the NVG group, the hospital anxiety and depression scale (r=-0.952, P<0.001) and left best-corrected visual acuity (r=-0.802, P<0.001) had a negative linear correlation with the fALFF signal value of the right Rolandic operculum. The hospital anxiety and depression scale had a negative linear correlation with the fALFF signal value of the right caudate (r=-0.948, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: NVG patients showed dysfunction in several brain regions. These findings may assist in revealing the underlying neural mechanism of brain activity associated with NVG.

PMID:33936994 | PMC:PMC8047371 | DOI:10.21037/qims-20-855

Regional brain changes in patients with diabetic optic neuropathy: a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00

Quant Imaging Med Surg. 2021 May;11(5):2125-2137. doi: 10.21037/qims-20-453.


BACKGROUND: To evaluate functional connection density (FCD) in patients with diabetic optic neuropathy (DON) using the resting functional connectivity (FC) method, and to determine the abnormal areas of brain activity.

METHODS: Patients with DON (n=22; 10 male, 12 female) and healthy controls (HCs; n=22; 10 male, 12 female) were included in the study. The basic characteristics of the groups were matched. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was conducted with participants at rest, and long- and short-range FCD (long FCD and IFCD, respectively) were measured. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was also conducted to determine whether DON and HC participants could be distinguished using fMRI indicators.

RESULTS: Compared with HCs, the long FCD values of the left lingual gyrus, right lingual gyrus, right fusiform gyrus, and medial and lateral cingulate gyri were decreased in patients with DON. Further, the IFCD values of the left superior temporal gyrus, left inferior temporal gyrus, right inferior temporal gyrus, left cerebellar area 8, and right cerebellar Crus2 area were higher in patients with DON than in the HCs.

CONCLUSIONS: DON is associated with abnormal spontaneous brain activity. Our findings contribute to elucidating the mechanisms underlying the neuropathology of DON, and provide direction for further clinical research.

PMID:33936993 | PMC:PMC8047353 | DOI:10.21037/qims-20-453