Spatial normalization, bulk motion correction and coregistration for functional magnetic resonance imaging of the human cervical spinal cord and brainstem
ABSTRACT Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the cortex is a powerful tool for neuroscience research, and its use has been extended into the brainstem and spinal cord as well. However, there are significant technical challenges with extrapolating the developments that have been achieved in the cortex to their use in the brainstem and spinal cord. Here, we develop a normalized coordinate system for the cervical spinal cord and brainstem, demonstrating a semiautomated method for spatially normalizing and coregistering fMRI data from these regions. fMRI data from 24 experiments in eight volunteers are normalized and combined to create the first anatomical reference volume, and based on this volume, we define a standardized region-of-interest (ROI) mask, as well as a map of 52 anatomical regions, which can be applied automatically to fMRI results. The normalization is demonstrated to have an accuracy of less than 2 mm in 93% of anatomical test points. The reverse of the normalization procedure is also demonstrated for automatic alignment of the standardized ROI mask and region-label map with fMRI data in its original (unnormalized) format. A reliable method for spatially normalizing fMRI data is essential for analyses of group data and for assessing the effects of spinal cord injury or disease on an individual basis by comparing with results from healthy subjects.
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ABSTRACT: The oldest known method for relieving pain is music, and yet, to date, the underlying neural mechanisms have not been studied. Here, we investigate these neural mechanisms by applying a well-defined painful stimulus while participants listened to their favorite music, or no music. Neural responses in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord, were mapped with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) spanning the cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Subjective pain ratings were observed to be significantly lower when pain was administered with music than without music. The pain stimulus without music elicited neural activity in brain regions that are consistent with previous studies. Brain regions associated with pleasurable music listening included limbic, frontal, and auditory regions, when comparing music to non-music pain conditions. In addition, regions demonstrated activity indicative of descending pain modulation when contrasting the two conditions. These regions include the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), periaqueductal grey (PAG), rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), and the dorsal gray matter of the spinal cord. This is the first imaging study to characterize the neural response of pain and how it is mitigated by music listening, and provides new insights into the neural mechanism of music-induced analgesia within the central nervous system.Journal of Pain 07/2014; 15(10). DOI:10.1016/j.jpain.2014.07.006 · 4.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mechanical hyperalgesia is one distressing symptom of neuropathic pain which is explained by central sensitization of the nociceptive system. This sensitization can be induced experimentally with the heat/capsaicin sensitization model. The aim was to investigate and compare spinal and supraspinal activation patterns of identical mechanical stimulation before and after sensitization using functional spinal magnetic resonance imaging (spinal fMRI). Sixteen healthy subjects (6 female, 10 male, mean age 27.2±4.0 years) were investigated with mechanical stimulation of the C6 dermatome of the right forearm during spinal fMRI. Testing was always performed in the area outside of capsaicin application (i.e. area of secondary mechanical hyperalgesia). During slightly noxious mechanical stimulation before sensitization, activity was observed in ipsilateral dorsolateral pontine tegmentum (DLPT) which correlated with activity in ipsilateral spinal cord dorsal gray matter (dGM) suggesting activation of descending nociceptive inhibition. During secondary mechanical hyperalgesia, decreased activity was observed in bilateral DLPT, ipsilateral/midline rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), and contralateral subnucleus reticularis dorsalis, which correlated with activity in ipsilateral dGM. Comparison of voxel-based activation patterns during mechanical stimulation before/after sensitization showed deactivations in RVM and activations in superficial ipsilateral dGM. This study revealed increased spinal activity and decreased activity in supraspinal centers involved in pain modulation (SRD, RVM, DLPT) during secondary mechanical hyperalgesia suggesting facilitation of nociception via decreased endogenous inhibition. Results should help prioritize approaches for further in vivo studies on pain processing and modulation in humans.PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e112325. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0112325 · 3.53 Impact Factor