Conference Paper

Incidental MRI and Genomic Findings in Human Striatum: Implications for Behavioral/Cognitive Research

Authors:
MD
MD
MD
PhD
PhD
PhD
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Abstract

ABSTRACT: Incidental MRI and Genomic Findings in Human Striatum: Possible implications for behavioral/cognitive research Complex frontal cortical basal ganglia networks with the dorsal striatum are involved in behavioral and cognitive functions. These include executive, rapid action/reaction decision-making, and information processing of massively parallel afferent sensorimotor data. These cognitive functions add to those long understood to be related to neuromuscular coordination. In this work structural MRI studies of a unique clinical cohort showed incidental structural MRI findings previously unappreciated in the clinical literature: enhanced bilateral white matter connectivity (visualized as fiber density) between the Caudate and Putamen. The findings were related to a retrospectively identified population subset sharing common cognitive functions. 100 structural patient MRI brain scans were reviewed and the incidental finding was found to be robust within a sub-population of 24 of the scans. To more objectively assess this, OsiriX MD (an FDA approved software package) was employed for volumetric measurements of the newly recognized structures. This analysis confirmed an over-representation of fiber connections in an anatomically coherent location. The data also suggests these MRI findings are non-pathological neural features. A separate age-sex-match control population was found to have statistically significant absence of the fiber-density in the same locations. For further analysis, nuclear DNA samples from the initial clinical cohort, with that from available family members, have been collected to seek evidence for genetic indicators driving formation of these structures. These findings indicate possible common behavioral attributes in the selected population. New research will determine potential genomic-behavioral correlations using whole genome pathway analysis. Given the location of these neural connections, and the attendant role of the caudate-putamen in deep processing of environmental context subject to executive function goals, it is worth speculating said connections might afford affected individuals with novel cognitive or intellectual abilities.

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