[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study investigated the level of self-regulation of the somato-motor cortices (SMC) attained by an extended functional MRI (fMRI) neurofeedback training. Sixteen healthy subjects performed 12 real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) neurofeedback training sessions within 4 weeks, involving motor imagery of the dominant right as well as the non-dominant left hand. Target regions of interests in the SMC were individually localized prior to the training by overt finger movements. The feedback signal was defined as the difference between fMRI activation in the contra- and ipsilateral SMC and visually presented to the subjects. Training efficiency was determined by an off-line GLM analysis determining the fMRI percent signal changes in the somato-motor cortex (SMC) target areas accomplished during the neurofeedback training. Transfer success was assessed by comparing the pre- and post-training transfer task, i.e. the neurofeedback paradigm without the presentation of the feedback signal. Group results show a distinct increase in feedback performance in the transfer task for the trained group compared to a matched untrained control group, as well as an increase in the time course of the training, indicating an efficient training and a successful transfer. Individual analysis revealed that the training efficiency was not only highly correlated to the transfer success but also predictive. Trainings with at least 12 efficient training runs were associated with a successful transfer outcome. A group analysis of the hemispheric contributions to the feedback performance showed that it is mainly driven by increased fMRI activation in the contralateral SMC, although some individuals relied on ipsilateral deactivation. Training and transfer results showed no difference between left and right hand imagery, with a slight indication of more ipsilateral deactivation in the early right hand trainings.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individual intra-digit somatotopy of all phalanges of the middle and little finger of the right and left hand was studied by functional MRI in 12 healthy subjects. Phalanges were tactilely stimulated and activation in BA 3b of the human primary somatosensory cortex could be observed for each individual phalanx. Activation peaks were further analyzed using the Direction/Order (DiOr) method, which identifies somatotopy, if a significantly high number of subjects exhibit ordered distal-to-proximal phalanx representions along a similar direction. Based on DiOr, ordered and similar-direction-aligned intra-digit maps across subjects were found at the left hand for the little and middle finger and at the right hand for the little finger. In these digits the proximal phalanges were represented more medially along the course of the central sulcus than the distal phalanges. This is contrasted by the intra-digit maps for the middle finger of the right hand, which showed larger inter-subject variations of phalanx alignments without a similar within-digit representation across subjects. Since all subjects were right-handed and since the middle finger of the dominant hand most likely plays a more individual role in everyday tactile performance than the little finger of the right hand and all left-hand digits, the observed variation might reflect a functional somatotopy based on individual use of that particular digit at the dominant hand. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · European Journal of Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To elucidate basic mechanisms underlying neurofeedback we investigated neural mechanisms of training of slow cortical potentials by considering EEG- and fMRI. Additionally, we analyzed the feasibility of a double-blind, placebo-controlled design in NF research based on regulation performance during treatment sessions and self-assessment of the participants. Twenty healthy adults participated in 16 sessions of SCP training: 9 participants received regular SCP training, 11 participants received sham feedback. At three time points (pre, intermediate, post) fMRI and EEG/ERP-measurements were conducted during a continuous performance test (CPT). Performance-data during the sessions (regulation performance) in the treatment group and the placebo group were analyzed. Analysis of EEG-activity revealed in the SCP group a strong enhancement of the CNV (electrode Cz) at the intermediate assessment, followed by a decrease back to baseline at the post-treatment assessment. In contrast, in the placebo group a continuous but smaller increase of the CNV could be obtained from pre to post assessment. The increase of the CNV in the SCP group at intermediate testing was superior to the enhancement in the placebo group. The changes of the CNV were accompanied by a continuous improvement in the test performance of the CPT from pre to intermediate to post assessment comparable in both groups. The change of the CNV in the SCP group is interpreted as an indicator of neural plasticity and efficiency while an increase of the CNV in the placebo group might reflect learning and improved timing due to the frequent task repetition. In the fMRI analysis evidence was obtained for neuronal plasticity. After regular SCP neurofeedback activation in the posterior parietal cortex decreased from the pre- to the intermediate measurement and increased again in the post measurement, inversely following the U-shaped increase and decrease of the tCNV EEG amplitude in the SCP-trained group. Furthermore, we
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study determined the individual maps of all fingers in Brodmann area 3b of the human primary somatosensory cortex in a single fMRI session by tactile stimulation at 19 sites across all phalanges and digit bases of the 5 right-hand digits. To quantify basic features of the digit maps within and across subjects, we applied standard descriptive measures, but also implemented a novel quantitative analysis. This so-called Direction/Order (DiOr) method tested whether subjects exhibited an ordering of peak fMRI representations along their individual direction of alignment through the set of analyzed phalanges and whether these individual directions were similar across subjects. Across-digit analysis demonstrated that for each set of homologous phalanges, the D5-to-D1 representations were successively represented along a common direction of alignment. Hence, the well-known mediolateral D5-to-D1 somatotopy was not only confirmed for the distal phalanges (p1), but could also be shown for the medial (p2) and proximal phalanges (p3). In contrast, the peak activation for the digit bases (p4) only partly elicited that digit succession. Complementary, intra-digit analysis revealed a divergent picture of map topography for the different digits. Within D5 (and in a trend: D4), an ordered p1-to-p3 succession was found across subjects, pointing to a consistent intra-digit somatotopy for D5, with p3 generally found medial-posterior to p1. In contrast, for D1, D2, and D3, most subjects did not present with ordered p1-to-p3 maps nor were directions of alignment similarly oriented between subjects. These digits therefore exhibited highly diverse representation patterns across subjects.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a reaction time study of human tactile orientation detection the effects of spatial attention and feature-based attention were investigated. Subjects had to give speeded responses to target orientations (parallel and orthogonal to the finger axis) in a random stream of oblique tactile distractor orientations presented to their index and ring fingers. Before each block of trials, subjects received a tactile cue at one finger. By manipulating the validity of this cue with respect to its location and orientation (feature), we provided an incentive to subjects to attend spatially to the cued location and only there to the cued orientation. Subjects showed quicker responses to parallel compared to orthogonal targets, pointing to an orientation anisotropy in sensory processing. Also, faster reaction times (RTs) were observed in location-matched trials, i.e., when targets appeared on the cued finger, representing a perceptual benefit of spatial attention. Most importantly, RTs were shorter to orientations matching the cue, both at the cued and at the uncued location, documenting a global enhancement of tactile sensation by feature-based attention. This is the first report of a perceptual benefit of feature-based attention outside the spatial focus of attention in somatosensory perception. The similarity to effects of feature-based attention in visual perception supports the notion of matching attentional mechanisms across sensory domains.
Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1860 and 1862, the German physiologist Wagner published two studies, in which he compared the cortical surfaces of brain specimens. This provided the first account of a rare anatomical variation - bridges across the central sulci in both hemispheres connecting the forward and backward facing central convolutions in one of the brains. The serendipitous rediscovery of the preserved historic brain specimen in the collections at Göttingen University, being mistaken as the brain of the mathematician C.F. Gauss, allowed us to further investigate the morphology of the bridges Wagner had described with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the historic lithograph, current photographs and MRI surface reconstructions of the brain, a connection across the central sulcus can only be seen in the left hemisphere. In the right hemisphere, contrary to the description of Wagner, a connecting structure is only present across the post-central sulcus. MRI reveals that the left-hemispheric bridge extends into the depth of the sulcus, forming a transverse connection between the two opposing gyri. This rare anatomical variation, generally not associated with neurological symptoms, would nowadays be categorized as a divided central sulcus. The left-hemispheric connection seen across the post-central sulcus, represents the very common case of a segmented post-central sulcus. MRI further disclosed a connection across the right-hemispheric central sulcus, which terminates just below the surface of the brain and is therefore not depicted on the historical lithography. This explains the apparent inconsistency between the bilateral description of bridges across the central sulci and the unilateral appearance on the brain surface. The results are discussed based on the detailed knowledge of anatomists of the late 19th century, who already recognized the divided central sulcus as an extreme variation of a deep convolution within the central sulcus.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the physiology of normal swallowing using recent advances in real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Therefore ten young healthy subjects underwent real-time MRI and flexible endoscopic evaluations of swallowing (FEES) with thickened pineapple juice as oral contrast bolus. MRI movies were recorded in sagittal, coronal, and axial orientations during successive swallows at about 25 frames per second. Intermeasurement variation was analyzed and comparisons between real-time MRI and FEES were performed. Twelve distinct swallowing events could be quantified by real-time MRI (start time, end time, and duration).
These included five valve functions: oro-velar opening, velo-pharyngeal closure, glottal closure, epiglottic retroflexion, and esophageal opening; three bolus transports: oro-velar transit, pharyngeal delay, pharyngeal transit; and four additional events: laryngeal ascent, laryngeal descent, vallecular, and piriform sinus filling and pharyngeal constriction. Repetitive measurements confirmed the general reliability of the MRI method with only two significant differences for the start times of the velo-pharyngeal closure (t(8) = −2.4, P ≤ 0.046) and laryngeal ascent (t(8) = −2.6, P ≤ 0.031). The duration of the velo-pharyngeal closure was significantly longer in real-time MRI compared to FEES (t(8) = −3.3, P ≤ 0.011). Real-time MRI emerges as a simple, robust, and reliable tool for obtaining comprehensive functional and anatomical information about the swallowing process.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Gastroenterology Research and Practice
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose:
The purpose of this experiment is to find a suitable functional localizer for the anterior mid-cingulate cortex (aMCC) in individuals to be used in future neurofeedback experiments.
The anticipation phase of the continuous performance task (CPT) is a suitable functional localizer for aMCC. This data supports earlier work of our group (1). We found out that a model-free analysis with an independent component analysis (ICA) approach to analyzing cognitive neuroimaging data offered a good alternative to the model-based analysis with FSL’s fMRI expert analysis tool (FEAT), as it improves the sensitivity of signal detection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current thresholding strategies for the analysis of functional MRI (fMRI) datasets may suffer from specific limitations (e.g. with respect to the required smoothness) or lead to reduced performance for a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Although a previously proposed two-threshold (TT) method offers a promising solution to these problems, the use of preset settings limits its performance. This work presents an optimised TT approach that estimates the required parameters in an iterative manner.
The iterative TT (iTT) method is compared with the original TT method, as well as other established voxel-based and cluster-based thresholding approaches and spatial mixture modelling (SMM) for both simulated data and fMRI of a hometown walking task at different experimental settings (spatial resolution, filtering and SNR).
In general, the iTT method presents with remarkable sensitivity and good specificity that outperforms all conventional approaches tested except for SMM in a few cases. This also holds true for challenging conditions such as high spatial resolution, the absence of filtering, high noise level, or a low number of task repetitions.
Thus, iTT emerges as a good candidate for both scientific fMRI studies at high spatial resolution and more routine applications for clinical purposes.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · European Radiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study explored the question of intra-digit somatotopy of sensory representations in the little and index finger of 10 subjects using tactile stimulation of the fingertip (p1) and base (p4) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 1.5mm isotropic spatial resolution. The Euclidian distances between p1 and p4 peak representations in Brodmann area 3b resulted in 5.0±0.7mm for the little finger and 6.7±0.5mm for the index finger. These non-collocated representations were found to be consistently ordered across subjects for the little but not the index finger. When using separate distances for medial-lateral, anterior-posterior, and inferior-superior orientations, p4 was 1.9±0.7mm medial to p1 for the little finger in agreement with findings in macaque monkeys, whereas no consistent intra-digit somatotopy across subjects was found for the index finger. This discrepancy could point to differences in the map-forming processes based on sensory input. On the behavioral level it may be attributed to our everyday use of the hand, for which p4 of the index finger plays a much less important role than p4 of the little finger, which is located at the outer border of the hand.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: EMG-triggered electrostimulation (EMG-ES) may improve the motor performance of affected limbs of hemiparetic stroke patients even in the chronic stage. This study was designed to characterize cortical activation changes following intensified EMG-ES in chronic stroke patients and to identify predictors for successful rehabilitation depending on disease severity.
We studied 9 patients with severe residual hemiparesis, who underwent 8 weeks of daily task-orientated multi-channel EMG-ES of the paretic arm. Before and after treatment, arm function was evaluated clinically and cortical activation patterns were assessed with functional MRI (fMRI) and/or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
As response to therapy, arm function improved in a subset of patients with more capacity in less affected subjects, but there was no significant gain for those with Box & Block test values below 4 at inception. The clinical improvement, if any, was accompanied by an ipsilesional increase in the sensorimotor cortex (SMC) activation area in fMRI and enhanced intracortical facilitation (ICF) as revealed by paired TMS. The SMC activation change in fMRI was predicted by the presence or absence of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) on the affected side.
The present findings support the notion that intensified EMG-ES may improve the arm function in individual chronic hemiparetic stroke patients but not in more severely impaired individuals. Functional improvements are paralleled by increased ipsilesional SMC activation and enhanced ICF supporting neuroplasticity as contributor to rehabilitation. The clinical score at inception and the presence of MEPs have the best predictive potential.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2009 · Restorative neurology and neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fine-scale functional organization of the finger areas in the human primary somatosensory cortex was investigated by high-resolution BOLD MRI at 3 T using a multi-echo FLASH sequence with a voxel size of 2 mm(3). In six subjects independent tactile stimulation of the distal phalanx of the fingers of the right hand resulted in small circumscribed and barely overlapping activations precisely located along the posterior wall of the central sulcus. Three out of six subjects showed a complete succession of activation sites for all five fingers. The maps also allowed for the identification of individual variations in finger somatotopy. When registered onto the individual high-resolution MRI anatomy and compared with cytoarchitectonical maps, the finger representations were confirmed to lie within Brodmann area 3b as the main input region of the primary somatosensory cortex.