Ten simple rules for reporting voxel-based morphometry studies

Centre for Medical Image Computing, University College London, UK.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 06/2008; 40(4):1429-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.003
Source: PubMed


Voxel-based morphometry [Ashburner, J. and Friston, K.J., 2000. Voxel-based morphometry-the methods. NeuroImage 11(6 Pt 1), 805-821] is a commonly used tool for studying patterns of brain change in development or disease and neuroanatomical correlates of subject characteristics. In performing a VBM study, many methodological options are available; if the study is to be easily interpretable and repeatable, the processing steps and decisions must be clearly described. Similarly, unusual methods and parameter choices should be justified in order to aid readers in judging the importance of such options or in comparing the work with other studies. This editorial suggests core principles that should be followed and information that should be included when reporting a VBM study in order to make it transparent, replicable and useful.

    • "imperfect spatial normalization (Bookstein, 2001; Davatzikos, 2004) or abundant smoothing (Jones et al., 2005) prior to voxel-based processing . For a more elaborate study on several 'caveats' directly related to in vivo MRI used to study (training-or experience-induced) brain plasticity, we refer to (Poldrack, 2000; Ridgway et al., 2008; Thomas and Baker, 2013). Likewise, both drawbacks also highlight the importance of validation studies using alternative methods to unravel the plausible cellular and molecular substrates of the observed in vivo findings . "
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have illustrated the benefits of physical workout and cognitive exercise on brain function and structure and, more importantly, on decelerating cognitive decline in old age and promoting functional rehabilitation following injury. Despite these behavioral observations, the exact mechanisms underlying these neuroplastic phenomena remain obscure. This gap illustrates the need for carefully designed in depth studies using valid models and translational tools which allow to uncover the observed events up to the molecular level. We promote the use of in vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) because it is a powerful translational imaging technique able to extract functional, structural and biochemical information from the entire brain. Advanced processing techniques allow performing voxel-based analyses which are capable of detecting novel loci implicated in specific neuroplastic events beyond traditional Regions-of-Interest analyses. In addition, its non-invasive character sets it as currently the best global imaging tool for performing dynamic longitudinal studies on the same living subject, allowing thus exploring the effects of experience, training, treatment etc. in parallel to additional measures such as age, cognitive performance scores, hormone levels and many others. The aim of this review is (i) to introduce how different animal models contributed to extend the knowledge on neuroplasticity in both health and disease, over different life stages and upon various experiences and (ii) to illustrate how specific MRI techniques can be applied successfully to inform on the fundamental mechanisms underlying experience-dependent or activity-induced neuroplasticity including cognitive processes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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    • "Voxel-based morphometry study of the insular cortex in female patients with current and remitted depression. Neuroscience (2014), abnormalities in subjects with various psychiatric 175 disorders, including MDD (Ridgway et al., 2008; 176 Salvadore et al., 2011 "
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    ABSTRACT: Women are more prone to major depressive disorders (MDD) and the incidence of MDD in women is almost twice that of men. Insular cortex abnormalities are a common finding in neuroanatomical studies of patients with MDD. However, it remains largely unclear whether female MDD patients at different clinical stages show morphologic changes in a specific subregion of the insular cortex. Additionally, it is not understood if any subregion changes can be used as a state or trait marker of MDD, and whether the diagnostic performance of any marker is sufficient to identify MDD. Nineteen right-handed current MDD (cMDD) female patients and 19 remitted MDD (rMDD) patients, as well as 19 healthy controls matched for age and educational level, were recruited into the study. By means of voxel-based morphometry (VBM), we investigated gray matter volume abnormalities in insular subregions among the three groups and further conducted region-of-interest (ROI) based receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses. The data from these investigations were correlated with clinical data to confirm the effectiveness of the identified changes in the subregions in differentiating the three groups. Both the cMDD and rMDD groups showed significantly decreased gray matter volumes in the left dorsal anterior insula compared to the healthy controls. The cMDD groups also showed decreased gray matter volumes in the right dorsal anterior insula relative to healthy controls. Further ROC comparisons demonstrated that the left dorsal anterior insula can effectively differentiate cMDD and rMDD groups from healthy controls. Our findings suggest that the volume changes in the left dorsal anterior insular cortex may be a trait-related marker of vulnerability to MDD and that the right dorsal anterior insular cortex may involve pathological changes of MDD.
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    • "Hence, careful definition and standardization of the imaging procedure is strongly advocated. If some variation in image acquisition cannot be avoided, for example in multi-centric studies, different groups (e.g., patients and control subjects) should be studied in a balanced fashion to avoid systematical bias in the statistical analysis, consistent with previous recommendation (Krueger et al., 2012; Pell et al., 2006; Ridgway et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: A growing number of magnetic resonance imaging studies employ voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to assess structural brain changes. Recent reports have shown that image acquisition parameters may influence VBM results. For systematic evaluation, gray-matter-density (GMD) changes associated with aging were investigated by VBM employing acquisitions with different radiofrequency head coils (12-channel matrix coil vs. 32-channel array), different pulse sequences (MP-RAGE vs. MP2RAGE), and different voxel dimensions (1mm vs. 0.8mm). Thirty-six healthy subjects, classified as young, middle-aged, or elderly, participated in the study. Two-sample and paired t-tests revealed significant effects of acquisition parameters (coil, pulse sequence, and resolution) on the estimated age-related GMD changes in cortical and subcortical regions. Potential advantages in tissue classification and segmentation were obtained for MP2RAGE. The 32-channel coil generally outperformed the 12-channel coil, with more benefit for MP2RAGE. Further improvement can be expected from higher resolution if the loss in SNR is accounted for. Use of inconsistent acquisition parameters in VBM analyses is likely to introduce systematic bias. Overall, acquisition and protocol changes require careful adaptations of the VBM analysis strategy before generalized conclusion can be drawn.
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