[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxation rates provide important information about tissue microstructure. Multi-parameter mapping (MPM) estimates multiple relaxation parameters from multi-echo FLASH acquisitions with different basic contrasts, i.e., proton density (PD), T1 or magnetization transfer (MT) weighting. Motion can particularly affect maps of the apparent transverse relaxation rate R2(*), which are derived from the signal of PD-weighted images acquired at different echo times. To address the motion artifacts, we introduce ESTATICS, which robustly estimates R2(*) from images even when acquired with different basic contrasts. ESTATICS extends the fitted signal model to account for inherent contrast differences in the PDw, T1w and MTw images. The fit was implemented as a conventional ordinary least squares optimization and as a robust fit with a small or large confidence interval. These three different implementations of ESTATICS were tested on data affected by severe motion artifacts and data with no prominent motion artifacts as determined by visual assessment or fast optical motion tracking. ESTATICS improved the quality of the R2(*) maps and reduced the coefficient of variation for both types of data-with average reductions of 30% when severe motion artifacts were present. ESTATICS can be applied to any protocol comprised of multiple 2D/3D multi-echo FLASH acquisitions as used in the general research and clinical setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurofeedback based on real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a new approach that allows training of voluntary control over regionally specific brain activity. However, the neural basis of successful neurofeedback learning remains poorly understood. Here, we assessed changes in effective brain connectivity associated with neurofeedback training of visual cortex activity. Using dynamic causal modeling (DCM), we found that training participants to increase visual cortex activity was associated with increased effective connectivity between the visual cortex and the superior parietal lobe. Specifically, participants who learned to control activity in their visual cortex showed increased top-down control of the superior parietal lobe over the visual cortex, and at the same time reduced bottom-up processing. These results are consistent with efficient employment of top-down visual attention and imagery, which were the cognitive strategies used by participants to increase their visual cortex activity.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e91090. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Perception depends on the interplay of ongoing spontaneous activity and stimulus-evoked activity in sensory cortices. This raises the possibility that training ongoing spontaneous activity alone might be sufficient for enhancing perceptual sensitivity. To test this, we trained human participants to control ongoing spontaneous activity in circumscribed regions of retinotopic visual cortex using real-time functional MRI-based neurofeedback. After training, we tested participants using a new and previously untrained visual detection task that was presented at the visual field location corresponding to the trained region of visual cortex. Perceptual sensitivity was significantly enhanced only when participants who had previously learned control over ongoing activity were now exercising control and only for that region of visual cortex. Our new approach allows us to non-invasively and non-pharmacologically manipulate regionally specific brain activity and thus provide "brain training" to deliver particular perceptual enhancements.
Journal of Neuroscience 12/2012; 32(49):17830-17841. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contrast to vision, where retinotopic mapping alone can define areal borders, primary auditory areas such as A1 are best delineated by combining in vivo tonotopic mapping with postmortem cyto- or myeloarchitectonics from the same individual. We combined high-resolution (800 μm) quantitative T(1) mapping with phase-encoded tonotopic methods to map primary auditory areas (A1 and R) within the "auditory core" of human volunteers. We first quantitatively characterize the highly myelinated auditory core in terms of shape, area, cortical depth profile, and position, with our data showing considerable correspondence to postmortem myeloarchitectonic studies, both in cross-participant averages and in individuals. The core region contains two "mirror-image" tonotopic maps oriented along the same axis as observed in macaque and owl monkey. We suggest that these two maps within the core are the human analogs of primate auditory areas A1 and R. The core occupies a much smaller portion of tonotopically organized cortex on the superior temporal plane and gyrus than is generally supposed. The multimodal approach to defining the auditory core will facilitate investigations of structure-function relationships, comparative neuroanatomical studies, and promises new biomarkers for diagnosis and clinical studies.
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2012; 32(46):16095-16105. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2001, Krueger and Glover introduced a model describing the temporal SNR (tSNR) of an EPI time series as a function of image SNR (SNR(0)). This model has been used to study physiological noise in fMRI, to optimize fMRI acquisition parameters, and to estimate maximum attainable tSNR for a given set of MR image acquisition and processing parameters. In its current form, this noise model requires the accurate estimation of image SNR. For multi-channel receiver coils, this is not straightforward because it requires export and reconstruction of large amounts of k-space raw data and detailed, custom-made image reconstruction methods. Here we present a simple extension to the model that allows characterization of the temporal noise properties of EPI time series acquired with multi-channel receiver coils, and reconstructed with standard root-sum-of-squares combination, without the need for raw data or custom-made image reconstruction. The proposed extended model includes an additional parameter κ which reflects the impact of noise correlations between receiver channels on the data and scales an apparent image SNR (SNR'(0)) measured directly from root-sum-of-squares reconstructed magnitude images so that κ = SNR'(0)/SNR(0) (under the condition of SNR(0)>50 and number of channels ≤32). Using Monte Carlo simulations we show that the extended model parameters can be estimated with high accuracy. The estimation of the parameter κ was validated using an independent measure of the actual SNR(0) for non-accelerated phantom data acquired at 3T with a 32-channel receiver coil. We also demonstrate that compared to the original model the extended model results in an improved fit to human task-free non-accelerated fMRI data acquired at 7T with a 24-channel receiver coil. In particular, the extended model improves the prediction of low to medium tSNR values and so can play an important role in the optimization of high-resolution fMRI experiments at lower SNR levels.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e52075. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In-vivo whole brain mapping of the radio frequency transmit field B(1) (+) is a key aspect of recent method developments in ultra high field MRI. We present an optimized method for fast and robust in-vivo whole-brain B(1) (+) mapping at 7T. The method is based on the acquisition of stimulated and spin echo 3D EPI images and was originally developed at 3T. We further optimized the method for use at 7T. Our optimization significantly improved the robustness of the method against large B(1) (+) deviations and off-resonance effects present at 7T. The mean accuracy and precision of the optimized method across the brain was high with a bias less than 2.6 percent unit (p.u.) and random error less than 0.7 p.u. respectively.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e32379. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging is widely used in research and clinical applications, but still suffers from substantial artifacts. Here, we focus on vibrations induced by strong diffusion gradients in diffusion tensor imaging, causing an echo shift in k-space and consequential signal-loss. We refined the model of vibration-induced echo shifts, showing that asymmetric k-space coverage in widely used Partial Fourier acquisitions results in locally differing signal loss in images acquired with reversed phase encoding direction (blip-up/blip-down). We implemented a correction of vibration artifacts in diffusion tensor imaging using phase-encoding reversal (COVIPER) by combining blip-up and blip-down images, each weighted by a function of its local tensor-fit error. COVIPER was validated against low vibration reference data, resulting in an error reduction of about 72% in fractional anisotropy maps. COVIPER can be combined with other corrections based on phase encoding reversal, providing a comprehensive correction for eddy currents, susceptibility-related distortions and vibration artifact reduction.
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 12/2011; 68(3):882-9. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Indices derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data, including the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA), are often used to better understand the microstructure of the brain. DTI, however, is susceptible to imaging artefacts, which can bias these indices. The most important sources of artefacts in DTI include eddy currents, nonuniformity and mis-calibration of gradients. We modelled these and other artefacts using a local perturbation field (LPF) approach. LPFs during the diffusion-weighting period describe the local mismatches between the effective and the expected diffusion gradients resulting in a spatially varying error in the diffusion weighting B matrix and diffusion tensor estimation. We introduced a model that makes use of phantom measurements to provide a robust estimation of the LPF in DTI without requiring any scanner-hardware-specific information or special MRI sequences. We derived an approximation of the perturbed diffusion tensor in the isotropic-diffusion limit that can be used to identify regions in any DTI index map that are affected by LPFs. Using these models, we simulated and measured LPFs and characterised their effect on human DTI for three different clinical scanners. The small FA values found in grey matter were biased towards greater anisotropy leading to lower grey-to-white matter contrast (up to 10%). Differences in head position due to e.g. repositioning produced errors of up to 10% in the MD, reducing comparability in multi-centre or longitudinal studies. We demonstrate the importance of the proposed correction by showing improved consistency across scanners, different head positions and an increased FA contrast between grey and white matter.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrophysiological studies in humans and animals suggest that noninvasive neurostimulation methods such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can elicit long-lasting , polarity-dependent  changes in neocortical excitability. Application of tDCS can have significant and selective behavioral consequences that are associated with the cortical location of the stimulation electrodes and the task engaged during stimulation [3-8]. However, the mechanism by which tDCS affects human behavior is unclear. Recently, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to determine the spatial topography of tDCS effects [9-13], but no behavioral data were collected during stimulation. The present study is unique in this regard, in that both neural and behavioral responses were recorded using a novel combination of left frontal anodal tDCS during an overt picture-naming fMRI study. We found that tDCS had significant behavioral and regionally specific neural facilitation effects. Furthermore, faster naming responses correlated with decreased blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in Broca's area. Our data support the importance of Broca's area within the normal naming network and as such indicate that Broca's area may be a suitable candidate site for tDCS in neurorehabilitation of anomic patients, whose brain damage spares this region.
Current biology: CB 08/2011; 21(16):1403-7. · 10.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive neuroimaging studies typically require fast whole brain image acquisition with maximal sensitivity to small BOLD signal changes. To increase the sensitivity, higher field strengths are often employed, since they provide an increased image signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, as image SNR increases, the relative contribution of physiological noise to the total time series noise will be greater compared to that from thermal noise. At 7 T, we studied how the physiological noise contribution can be best reduced for EPI time series acquired at three different spatial resolutions (1.1 mm × 1.1 mm × 1.8 mm, 2 mm × 2 mm × 2 mm and 3 mm × 3 mm × 3 mm). Applying optimal physiological noise correction methods improved temporal SNR (tSNR) and increased the numbers of significantly activated voxels in fMRI visual activation studies for all sets of acquisition parameters. The most dramatic results were achieved for the lowest spatial resolution, an acquisition parameter combination commonly used in cognitive neuroimaging which requires high functional sensitivity and temporal resolution (i.e. 3mm isotropic resolution and whole brain image repetition time of 2s). For this data, physiological noise models based on cardio-respiratory information improved tSNR by approximately 25% in the visual cortex and 35% sub-cortically. When the time series were additionally corrected for the residual effects of head motion after retrospective realignment, the tSNR was increased by around 58% in the visual cortex and 71% sub-cortically, exceeding tSNR ~140. In conclusion, optimal physiological noise correction at 7 T increases tSNR significantly, resulting in the highest tSNR per unit time published so far. This tSNR improvement translates into a significant increase in BOLD sensitivity, facilitating the study of even subtle BOLD responses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows study of how local brain stimulation may causally affect activity in remote brain regions. Here, we applied bursts of high- or low-intensity TMS over right posterior parietal cortex, during a task requiring sustained covert visuospatial attention to either the left or right hemifield, or in a neutral control condition, while recording blood oxygenation-level-dependent signal with a posterior MR surface coil. As expected, the active attention conditions activated components of the well-described "attention network," as compared with the neutral baseline. Also as expected, when comparing left minus right attention, or vice versa, contralateral occipital visual cortex was activated. The critical new finding was that the impact of high- minus low-intensity parietal TMS upon these visual regions depended on the currently attended side. High- minus low-intensity parietal TMS increased the difference between contralateral versus ipsilateral attention in right extrastriate visual cortex. A related albeit less pronounced pattern was found for left extrastriate visual cortex. Our results confirm that right human parietal cortex can exert attention-dependent influences on occipital visual cortex and provide a proof of concept for the use of concurrent TMS-fMRI in studying how remote influences can vary in a purely top-down manner with attentional demands.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies using combined electrical and hemodynamic measurements of brain activity, such as EEG and (BOLD) fMRI, have yielded discrepant results regarding the relationship between neuronal activity and the associated BOLD response. In particular, some studies suggest that this link, or transfer function, depends on the frequency content of neuronal activity, while others suggest that total neuronal power accounts for the changes in BOLD. Here we explored this dependency by comparing different frequency-dependent and -independent transfer functions, using simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Our results suggest that changes in BOLD are indeed associated with changes in the spectral profile of neuronal activity and that these changes do not arise from one specific spectral band. Instead they result from the dynamics of the various frequency components together, in particular, from the relative power between high and low frequencies. Understanding the nature of the link between neuronal activity and BOLD plays a crucial role in improving the interpretability of BOLD images as well as on the design of more robust and realistic models for the integration of EEG and fMRI.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To characterize and eliminate a new type of image artifact in concurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional MRI (TMS-fMRI) caused by small leakage currents originating from the high-voltage capacitors in the TMS stimulator system.
The artifacts in echo-planar images (EPI) caused by leakage currents were characterized and quantified in numerical simulations and phantom studies with different phantom-coil geometries. A relay-diode combination was devised and inserted in the TMS circuit that shorts the leakage current. Its effectiveness for artifact reduction was assessed in a phantom scan resembling a realistic TMS-fMRI experiment.
The leakage-current-induced signal changes exhibited a multipolar spatial pattern and the maxima exceeded 1% at realistic coil-cortex distances. The relay-diode combination effectively reduced the artifact to a negligible level.
The leakage-current artifacts potentially obscure effects of interest or lead to false-positives. Since the artifact depends on the experimental setup and design (eg, amplitude of the leakage current, coil orientation, paradigm, EPI parameters), we recommend its assessment for each experiment. The relay-diode combination can eliminate the artifacts if necessary.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 05/2009; 29(5):1211-7. · 2.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used to document some apparent interhemispheric influences behaviorally, with TMS over the right parietal cortex reported to enhance processing of touch for the ipsilateral right hand (Seyal et al., 1995). However, the neural bases of such apparent interhemispheric influences from TMS remain unknown. Here, we studied this directly by combining TMS with concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We applied bursts of 10 Hz TMS over right parietal cortex, at a high or low intensity, during two sensory contexts: either without any other stimulation, or while participants received median nerve stimulation to the right wrist, which projects to left primary somatosensory cortex (SI). TMS to right parietal cortex affected the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal in left SI, with high- versus low-intensity TMS increasing the left SI signal during right-wrist somatosensory input, but decreasing this in the absence of somatosensory input. This state-dependent modulation of SI by parietal TMS over the other hemisphere was accompanied by a related pattern of TMS-induced influences in the thalamus, as revealed by region-of-interest analyses. A behavioral experiment confirmed that the same right parietal TMS protocol of 10 Hz bursts led to enhanced detection of perithreshold electrical stimulation of the right median nerve, which is initially processed in left SI. Our results confirm directly that TMS over right parietal cortex can affect processing in left SI of the other hemisphere, with rivalrous effects (possibly transcallosal) arising in the absence of somatosensory input, but facilitatory effects (possibly involving thalamic circuitry) in the presence of driving somatosensory input.
Journal of Neuroscience 01/2009; 28(49):13202-8. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To characterize the spatial relationship between activations related to language-induced seizure activity, language processing, and motor control in patients with reading epilepsy.
We recorded and simultaneously monitored several physiological parameters [voice-recording, electromyography (EMG), electrocardiography (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG)] during blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in nine patients with reading epilepsy. Individually tailored language paradigms were used to induce and record habitual seizures inside the MRI scanner. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used for structural brain analysis. Reading-induced seizures occurred in six out of nine patients.
One patient experienced abundant orofacial reflex myocloni during silent reading in association with bilateral frontal or generalized epileptiform discharges. In a further five patients, symptoms were only elicited while reading aloud with self-indicated events. Consistent activation patterns in response to reading-induced myoclonic seizures were observed within left motor and premotor areas in five of these six patients, in the left striatum (n = 4), in mesiotemporal/limbic areas (n = 4), in Brodmann area 47 (n = 3), and thalamus (n = 2). These BOLD activations were overlapping or adjacent to areas physiologically activated during language and facial motor tasks. No subtle structural abnormalities common to all patients were identified using VBM, but one patient had a left temporal ischemic lesion.
Based on the findings, we hypothesize that reflex seizures occur in reading epilepsy when a critical mass of neurons are activated through a provoking stimulus within corticoreticular and corticocortical circuitry subserving normal functions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During voluntary action, dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) may exert influences on motor regions in both hemispheres, but such interregional interactions are not well understood. We used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) concurrently with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to study such interactions directly. We tested whether causal influences from left PMd upon contralateral (right) motor areas depend on the current state of the motor system, involving regions engaged in a current task. We applied short bursts (360 ms) of high- or low-intensity TMS to left PMd during single isometric left-hand grips or during rest. TMS to left PMd affected activity in contralateral right PMd and primary motor cortex (M1) in a state-dependent manner. During active left-hand grip, high (vs. low)-intensity TMS led to activity increases in contralateral right PMd and M1, whereas activity decreases there due to TMS were observed during no-grip rest. Analyses of condition-dependent functional coupling confirmed topographically specific stronger coupling between left PMd and right PMd (and right M1), when high-intensity TMS was applied to left PMd during left-hand grip. We conclude that left PMd can exert state-dependent interhemispheric influences on contralateral cortical motor areas relevant for a current motor task.