[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
Atypical lateralization of language-related functions has been repeatedly found in individuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Few studies have, however, investigated deviations from typically occurring asymmetry of other lateralized cognitive and behavioural domains. Motor deficits are among the earliest and most prominent symptoms in individuals with ASC and precede core social and communicative symptoms.
Here, we investigate whether motor circuit connectivity is (1) atypically lateralized in children with ASC and (2) whether this relates to core autistic symptoms and motor performance. Participants comprised 44 right-handed high-functioning children with autism (36 males, 8 females) and 80 typically developing control children (58 males, 22 females) matched on age, sex and performance IQ. We examined lateralization of functional motor circuit connectivity based on homotopic seeds derived from peak activations during a finger tapping paradigm. Motor performance was assessed using the Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle Signs (PANESS).
Children with ASC showed rightward lateralization in mean motor circuit connectivity compared to typically developing children, and this was associated with poorer performance on all three PANESS measures.
Our findings reveal that atypical lateralization in ASC is not restricted to language functions but is also present in circuits subserving motor functions and may underlie motor deficits in children with ASC. Future studies should investigate whether this is an age-invariant finding extending to adolescents and adults and whether these asymmetries relate to atypical lateralization in the language domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Metabolic dysfunction and microvascular abnormality may contribute to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Most previous studies of cerebral perfusion in schizophrenia measured total cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the brain, which reflect the ensemble signal from the arteriolar, capillary, and venular compartments of the microvasculature. As the arterioles are the most actively regulated blood vessels among these compartments, they may be the most sensitive component of the microvasculature to metabolic disturbances. In this study, we adopted the inflow-based vascular-space-occupancy (iVASO) MRI approach to investigate alterations in the volume of small arterial (pial) and arteriolar vessels (arteriolar cerebral blood volume [CBVa]) in the brain of schizophrenia patients. The iVASO approach was extended to 3-dimensional (3D) whole brain coverage, and CBVa was measured in the brains of 12 schizophrenia patients and 12 matched controls at ultra-high magnetic field (7T). Significant reduction in grey matter (GM) CBVa was found in multiple areas across the whole brain in patients (relative changes of 14%–51% and effect sizes of 0.7–2.3). GM CBVa values in several regions in the temporal cortex showed significant negative correlations with disease duration in patients. GM CBVa increase was also found in a few brain regions. Our results imply that microvascular abnormality may play a role in schizophrenia, and suggest GM CBVa as a potential marker for the disease. Further investigation is needed to elucidate whether such effects are due to primary vascular impairment or secondary to other causes, such as metabolic dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Reaction Time (RT) is associated with increased amplitude of the Blood Oxygen-Level Dependent (BOLD) response in task positive regions. Few studies have focused on whether opposing RT-related suppression of task activity also occurs. The current study used two Go/No-go tasks with different cognitive demands to examine regions that showed greater BOLD suppression for longer RT trials. These RT-related suppression effects occurred within the DMN and were task-specific, localizing to separate regions for the two tasks. In the task requiring working memory, RT-related de-coupling of the DMN occurred. This was reflected by opposing RT-BOLD effects for different DMN regions, as well as by reduced positive RT-related Psycho-Physiological Interaction (PPI) connectivity within the DMN and a lack of negative RT-related PPI connectivity between DMN and task positive regions. The results suggest that RT-related DMN suppression is task-specific. RT-related de-coupling of the DMN with more complex task demands may contribute to lapses of attention and performance decrements that occur during cognitively-demanding tasks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To demonstrate in a small case series for the first time the phenomenon of brain tumor-related neurovascular uncoupling (NVU) in resting-state blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at ultrahigh field (7T). Two de novo (i.e., untreated) brain tumor patients underwent both BOLD resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) on a 7T MRI system and motor task-based BOLD fMRI at 3T. Ipsilesional (i.e., ipsilateral to tumor or IL) and contralesional (i.e., contralateral to tumor or CL) region of interest (ROI) analysis was performed on both 3T motor task-related general linear model-derived activation maps and on 7T rsfMRI independent component analysis (ICA)-derived sensorimotor network maps for each case. Asymmetry scores (ASs) were computed based on numbers of suprathreshold voxels in the IL and CL ROIs. In each patient, ASs derived from ROI analysis of suprathreshold voxels in IL and CL ROIs in task-related activation maps and rsfMRI ICA-derived sensorimotor component maps indicate greater number of suprathreshold voxels in contralesional than ipsilesional sensorimotor cortex in both maps. In patient 1, an AS of 0.2 was obtained from the suprathreshold Z-score spectrum (voxels with Z-scores >5.0) of the task-based activation map and AS of 1.0 was obtained from the suprathreshold Z-score spectrum (Z-scores >5.0) of the ICA-derived sensorimotor component map. Similarly, in patient 2, an AS of 1.0 was obtained from the suprathreshold Z-score spectrum (Z-scores >5.0) of the task-based activation map and an AS of 1.0 was obtained from the suprathreshold Z-score spectrum (Z-scores >5.0) of the ICA-derived sensorimotor component map. Overall, decreased BOLD signal was noted in IL compared with CL ROIs on both task-based activation maps and ultrahigh field resting-state maps, indicating the presence of NVU. We have demonstrated evidence of NVU on ultrahigh field 7T rsfMRI comparable with the findings on standard 3T motor task-based fMRI in both cases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) permits study of the brain's functional networks without requiring participants to perform tasks. Robust changes in such resting state networks (RSNs) have been observed in neurologic disorders, and rs-fMRI outcome measures are candidate biomarkers for monitoring clinical trials, including trials of extended therapeutic interventions for rehabilitation of patients with chronic conditions. In this study, we aim to present a unique longitudinal dataset reporting on a healthy adult subject scanned weekly over 3.5 years and identify rs-fMRI outcome measures appropriate for clinical trials. Accordingly, we assessed the reproducibility, and characterized the temporal structure of, rs-fMRI outcome measures derived using independent component analysis (ICA). Data was compared to a 21-person dataset acquired on the same scanner in order to confirm that the values of the single-subject RSN measures were within the expected range as assessed from the multi-participant dataset. Fourteen RSNs were identified, and the inter-session reproducibility of outcome measures-network spatial map, temporal signal fluctuation magnitude, and between-network connectivity (BNC)-was high, with executive RSNs showing the highest reproducibility. Analysis of the weekly outcome measures also showed that many rs-fMRI outcome measures had a significant linear trend, annual periodicity, and persistence. Such temporal structure was most prominent in spatial map similarity, and least prominent in BNC. High reproducibility supports the candidacy of rs-fMRI outcome measures as biomarkers, but the presence of significant temporal structure needs to be taken into account when such outcome measures are considered as biomarkers for rehabilitation-style therapeutic interventions in chronic conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
Imitation, which is impaired in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and critically depends on the integration of visual input with motor output, likely impacts both motor and social skill acquisition in children with ASD; however, it is unclear what brain mechanisms contribute to this impairment. Children with ASD also exhibit what appears to be an ASD-specific bias against using visual feedback during motor learning. Does the temporal congruity of intrinsic activity, or functional connectivity, between motor and visual brain regions contribute to ASD-associated deficits in imitation, motor, and social skills?
We acquired resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans from 100 8- to 12-year-old children (50 ASD). Group independent component analysis was used to estimate functional connectivity between visual and motor systems. Brain-behavior relationships were assessed by regressing functional connectivity measures with social deficit severity, imitation, and gesture performance scores.
We observed increased intrinsic asynchrony between visual and motor systems in children with ASD and replicated this finding in an independent sample from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange. Moreover, children with more out-of-sync intrinsic visual-motor activity displayed more severe autistic traits, while children with greater intrinsic visual-motor synchrony were better imitators.
Our twice replicated findings confirm that visual-motor functional connectivity is disrupted in ASD. Furthermore, the observed temporal incongruity between visual and motor systems, which may reflect diminished integration of visual consequences with motor output, was predictive of the severity of social deficits and may contribute to impaired social-communicative skill development in children with ASD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Objectives: Much recent attention has been paid to quantifying anatomic and
functional neuroimaging on the individual subject level. For optimal individual
subject characterization, specific acquisition and analysis features need to be
identified that maximize inter-individual variability while concomitantly
minimizing intra-subject variability.
Experimental Design: Here we develop a non-parametric statistical metric that
quantifies the degree to which a parameter set allows this individual subject
differentiation. We apply this metric to analysis of publicly available
test-retest resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) data sets.
Principal Observations: We find that for the question of maximizing
individual differentiation, (i) for increasing sampling, there is a relative
tradeoff between increased sampling frequency and increased acquisition time;
(ii) for the sizes of the interrogated data sets, only 3-4 min of acquisition
time was sufficient to maximally differentiate each subject; and (iii) brain
regions that most contribute to this individual subject characterization lie in
the default mode, attention, language, and executive control networks.
Conclusions: These findings may guide optimal rs-fMRI experiment design and
may elucidate the neural bases for subject-to-subject differences.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Several recent studies have reported an inter-individual correlation between regional GABA concentration, as measured by MRS, and the amplitude of the functional blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response in the same region. In this study, we set out to investigate whether this coupling generalizes across cortex. In 18 healthy participants, we performed edited MRS measurements of GABA and BOLD-fMRI experiments using regionally related activation paradigms. Regions and tasks were the: occipital cortex with a visual grating stimulus; auditory cortex with a white noise stimulus; sensorimotor cortex with a finger-tapping task; frontal eye field with a saccade task; and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with a working memory task. In contrast to the prior literature, no correlation between GABA concentration and BOLD activation was detected in any region. The origin of this discrepancy is not clear. Subtle differences in study design or insufficient power may cause differing results; these and other potential reasons for the discrepant results are discussed. This negative result, although it should be interpreted with caution, has a larger sample size than prior positive results, and suggests that the relationship between GABA and the BOLD response may be more complex than previously thought.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Intra-subject variability (ISV) is the most consistent behavioral deficit in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ISV may be associated with networks involved in sustaining task control (cingulo-opercular network: CON) and self-reflective lapses of attention (default mode network: DMN). The current study examined whether connectivity supporting attentional control is atypical in children with ADHD. Group differences in full-brain connection strength and brain–behavior associations with attentional control measures were examined for the late-developing CON and DMN in 50 children with ADHD and 50 typically-developing (TD) controls (ages 8–12 years).
Children with ADHD had hyper-connectivity both within the CON and within the DMN. Full-brain behavioral associations were found for a number of between-network connections. Across both groups, more anti-correlation between DMN and occipital cortex supported better attentional control. However, in the TD group, this brain–behavior association was stronger and occurred for a more extensive set of DMN–occipital connections. Differential support for attentional control between the two groups occurred with a number of CON–DMN connections. For all CON–DMN connections identified, increased between-network anti-correlation was associated with better attentional control for the ADHD group, but worse attentional control in the TD group. A number of between-network connections with the medial frontal cortex, in particular, showed this relationship. Follow-up analyses revealed that these associations were specific to attentional control and were not due to individual differences in working memory, IQ, motor control, age, or scan motion.
While CON–DMN anti-correlation is associated with improved attention in ADHD, other circuitry supports improved attention in TD children. Greater CON–DMN anti-correlation supported better attentional control in children with ADHD, but worse attentional control in TD children. On the other hand, greater DMN–occipital anti-correlation supported better attentional control in TD children.
Full-text Article · Nov 2014 · NeuroImage: Clinical
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: A recent interest in resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging
(rsfMRI) lies in subdividing the human brain into anatomically and functionally
distinct regions of interest. For example, brain parcellation is often used for
defining the network nodes in connectivity studies. While inference has
traditionally been performed on group-level data, there is a growing interest
in parcellating single subject data. However, this is difficult due to the low
signal-to-noise ratio of rsfMRI data, combined with typically short scan
lengths. A large number of brain parcellation approaches employ clustering,
which begins with a measure of similarity or distance between voxels. The goal
of this work is to improve the reproducibility of single-subject parcellation
using shrinkage estimators of such measures, allowing the noisy
subject-specific estimator to "borrow strength" in a principled manner from a
larger population of subjects. We present several empirical Bayes shrinkage
estimators and outline methods for shrinkage when multiple scans are not
available for each subject. We perform shrinkage on raw intervoxel correlation
estimates and use both raw and shrinkage estimates to produce parcellations by
performing clustering on the voxels. Our proposed method is agnostic to the
choice of clustering method and can be used as a pre-processing step for any
clustering algorithm. Using two datasets---a simulated dataset where the true
parcellation is known and is subject-specific and a test-retest dataset
consisting of two 7-minute rsfMRI scans from 20 subjects---we show that
parcellations produced from shrinkage correlation estimates have higher
reliability and validity than those produced from raw estimates. Application to
test-retest data shows that using shrinkage estimators increases the
reproducibility of subject-specific parcellations of the motor cortex by up to
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In addition to the BOLD scan, quantitative functional MRI studies require measurement of both cerebral blood volume (CBV) and flow (CBF) dynamics. The ability to detect CBV and CBF responses in a single additional scan would shorten the total scan time and reduce temporal variations. Several approaches for simultaneous CBV and CBF measurement during functional MRI experiments have been proposed in two-dimensional (2D) mode covering one to three slices in one repetition time (TR). Here, we extended the principles from previous work and present a three-dimensional (3D) whole-brain MRI approach that combines the vascular-space-occupancy (VASO) and flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) arterial spin labeling (ASL) techniques, allowing the measurement of CBV and CBF dynamics, respectively, in a single scan. 3D acquisitions are complicated for such a scan combination as the time to null blood signal during a steady state needs to be known. We estimated this using Bloch simulations and demonstrate that the resulting 3D acquisition can detect activation patterns and relative signal changes of quality comparable to that of the original separate scans. The same was found for temporal signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). This approach provides improved acquisition efficiency when both CBV and CBF responses need to be monitored during a functional task.