A Linear Structural Equation Model for Covert Verb Generation Based on Independent Component Analysis of fMRI Data from Children and Adolescents

Center for NMR Research, Department of Radiology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine Hershey, PA, USA.
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 06/2011; 5:29. DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2011.00029
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Human language is a complex and protean cognitive ability. Young children, following well defined developmental patterns learn language rapidly and effortlessly producing full sentences by the age of 3 years. However, the language circuitry continues to undergo significant neuroplastic changes extending well into teenage years. Evidence suggests that the developing brain adheres to two rudimentary principles of functional organization: functional integration and functional specialization. At a neurobiological level, this distinction can be identified with progressive specialization or focalization reflecting consolidation and synaptic reinforcement of a network (Lenneberg, 1967; Muller et al., 1998; Berl et al., 2006). In this paper, we used group independent component analysis and linear structural equation modeling (McIntosh and Gonzalez-Lima, 1994; Karunanayaka et al., 2007) to tease out the developmental trajectories of the language circuitry based on fMRI data from 336 children ages 5-18 years performing a blocked, covert verb generation task. The results are analyzed and presented in the framework of theoretical models for neurocognitive brain development. This study highlights the advantages of combining both modular and connectionist approaches to cognitive functions; from a methodological perspective, it demonstrates the feasibility of combining data-driven and hypothesis driven techniques to investigate the developmental shifts in the semantic network.

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    • "Although these regions were found to be active in the verb generation task from 5 to 18 years old, independent component analysis, and structural equation modeling revealed that the connections between STG and the IFG and within the frontal lobe itself (IFG and MFG) increase and become more left-lateralized from 5 to 18 years. This is in line with the timecourse of continued PFC maturation (Holland et al., 2001; Karunanayaka et al., 2011), and consistent with studies showing increased left-lateralization for verb generation from the age of 5 to 18 years (Holland et al., 2001). Utilizing this same large imaging and behavioral dataset, we can build on the previously published results from this task to explore the relationship between this developing circuitry underlying verb generation and reading skills. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Reading is an acquired-developmental ability that relies on intact language and executive function skills. Verbal fluency tasks (such as verb generation) also engage language and executive function skills. Performance of such tasks matures with normal language development, and is independent of reading proficiency. In this longitudinal fMRI study, we aim to examine the association between maturation of neural-circuits supporting both executive functions and language (assessed using verb generation) with reading proficiency achieved in adolescence with a focus on left-lateralization typical for language proficiency. Methods: Normalized fMRI data from the verb generation task was collected from 16 healthy children at ages 7, 11, and 17 years and was correlated with reading scores at 17 years of age. Lateralization indices were calculated in key language, reading, and executive function-related regions in all age groups. Results: Typical development was associated with (i) increasingly left-lateralized patterns in language regions (ii) more profound left-lateralized activation for reading and executive function-related regions when correlating with reading scores, (iii) greater involvement of frontal and parietal regions (in older children), and of the anterior frontal cortex (in younger children). Conclusion: We suggest that reading and verb generation share mutual neural-circuits during development with major reliance on regions related to executive functions and reading. The results are discussed in the context of the dual-networks architecture model.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 06/2014; 8:447. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00447 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    • "estimation (GIMME) technique using freely available software programs [Kim et al., 2007; Gates et al., 2010, 2011; Karunanayaka et al., 2011; Gates and Molenaar, under review]. GIMME arrives at individual-level estimates in a two-stage approach. "
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    ABSTRACT: The study of human olfaction is complicated by the myriad of processing demands in conscious perceptual and emotional experiences of odors. Combining functional magnetic resonance imaging with convergent multivariate network analyses, we examined the spatiotemporal behavior of olfactory-generated blood-oxygenated-level-dependent signal in healthy adults. The experimental functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm was found to offset the limitations of olfactory habituation effects and permitted the identification of five functional networks. Analysis delineated separable neuronal circuits that were spatially centered in the primary olfactory cortex, striatum, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, rostral prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate, and parietal-occipital junction. We hypothesize that these functional networks subserve primary perceptual, affective/motivational, and higher order olfactory-related cognitive processes. Results provided direct evidence for the existence of parallel networks with top-down modulation for olfactory processing and clearly distinguished brain activations that were sniffing-related versus odor-related. A comprehensive neurocognitive model for olfaction is presented that may be applied to broader translational studies of olfactory function, aging, and neurological disease. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 05/2014; 35(5). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22312 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Several articles focus on normal brain function, but these papers are included because the subject groups that are investigated experience changing patterns of brain connectivity, and as such, share some of the conceptual difficulties that occur when studying brain disorders. Karunanayaka et al. (2011) "
    Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 02/2012; 6:4. DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2012.00004
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