234 research outputs found

    A Bayesian Reanalysis of the Phase III Aducanumab (ADU) Trial

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    In this article we have conducted a reanalysis of the phase III aducanumab (ADU) summary statistics announced by Biogen, in particular the result of the Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB). The results showed that the evidence on the efficacy of the drug is very low and a more clearer view of the results of clinical trials are presented in the Bayesian framework that can be useful for future development and research in the field

    Evolutionary appearance of von Economo's neurons in the mammalian cerebral cortex.

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    von Economo’s neurons (VENs) are large, spindle-shaped projection neurons in layer V of the frontoinsular (FI) cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex. During human ontogenesis, the VENs can first be differentiated at late stages of gestation, and increase in number during the first eight postnatal months. VENs have been identified in humans, chimpanzee, bonobos, gorillas, orangutan and, more recently, in the macaque. Their distribution in great apes seems to correlate with human-like social cognitive abilities and self-awareness. VENs are also found in whales, in a number of different cetaceans, and in the elephant. This phylogenetic distribution may suggest a correlation among the VENs, brain size and the “social brain.” VENs may be involved in the pathogenesis of specific neurological and psychiatric diseases, such as autism, callosal agenesis and schizophrenia. VENs are selectively affected in a behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia in which empathy, social awareness and self-control are seriously compromised, thus associating VENs with the social brain. However, the presence of VENs has also been related to special functions such as mirror self-recognition. Areas containing VENs have been related to motor awareness or sense-of-knowing, discrimination between self and other, and between self and the external environment. Along this line, VENs have been related to the “global Workspace” architecture: in accordance the VENs have been correlated to emotional and interoceptive signals by providing fast connections (large axons = fast communication) between salience-related insular and cingulate and other widely separated brain areas. Nevertheless, the lack of a characterization of their physiology and anatomical connectivity allowed only to infer their functional role based on their location and on the functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The recent finding of VENs in the anterior insula of the macaque opens the way to new insights and experimental investigations

    Functional anatomy of cortical areas characterized by Von Economo neurons

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    Von Economo’s neurons (VENs) are large, bipolar or corkscrew-shaped neurons located in layers III and V of the frontoinsular and the anterior cingulate cortices. VENs are reported to be altered in pathologies such as frontotemporal dementia and autism, in which the individual’s self control is seriously compromised. We have recently reviewed the evolutionary appearance of VENs and we are currently studying their distribution in different neurodegenerative diseases. To investigate the role of VENs in the active human brain, we have explored the functional connectivity of brain areas containing VENs by analyzing resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) in 20 healthy volunteers. Our results show that cortical areas containing VENs form a network of frontoparietal functional connectivity. With the use of fuzzy clustering techniques, we find that this network comprises four sub-networks: the first network cluster resembles a “saliency detection” attentional network, which includes superior frontal cortex (Brodmann’s Area, BA 10), inferior parietal lobe, anterior insula, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex; the second cluster, part of a “sensory-motor network”, comprises the superior temporal, precentral and postcentral areas; the third cluster consists of frontal ventromedial and ventrodorsal areas constituted by parts of the “anterior default mode network”; and the fourth cluster encompasses dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, dorsomedial prefrontal, and superior frontal (BA 10) areas, resembling the anterior part of the “dorsal attentional network”. Thus, the network that emerges from analyzing functional connectivity among areas that are known to contain VENs is primarily involved in functions of saliency detection and self-regulation. In addition, parts of this network constitute sub-networks that partially overlap with the default mode, the sensory-motor and the dorsal attentional networks.This work was supported by grants from PROGETTO TRASLAZIONALE, Department of Neuroscience, University of Torino

    A co-alteration parceling of the cingulate cortex

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    The cingulate cortex is known to be a complex structure, involved in several cognitive and emotional functions, as well as being altered by a variety of brain disorders. This heterogeneity is reflected in the multiple parceling models proposed in the literature. At the present, sub-regions of the cingulate cortex had been identified taking into account functional and structural connectivity, as well as cytological and electrochemical properties. In the present work, we propose an innovative node-wise parceling approach based on meta-analytic Bayesian co-alteration. To this aim, 193 case–control voxel-based morphometry experiments were analyzed, and the Patel’s Îș index was used to assess probability of morphometric co-alteration between nodes placed in the cingulate cortex and in the rest of the brain. Hierarchical clustering was then applied to identify nodes in the cingulate cortex exhibiting a similar pattern of whole-brain co-alteration. The obtained dendrogram highlighted a robust fronto-parietal cluster compatible with the default mode network, and being supported by the interplay between the retrosplenial cortex and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, rarely described in the literature. This ensemble was further confirmed by the analysis of functional patterns. Leveraging on co-alteration to investigate cortical organization could, therefore, allow to combine multimodal information, resolving conflicting results sometimes coming from the separate use of singular modalities. Crucially, this provides a valuable way to understand the pathological brain using data driven, whole-brain informed and context-specific evidence in a way not yet explored in the field. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s00429-022-02473-2

    Beyond the ñ€ƓPain Matrix,ñ€ inter-run synchronization during mechanical nociceptive stimulation

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    Pain is a complex experience that is thought to emerge from the activity of multiple brain areas, some of which are inconsistently detected using traditional fMRI analysis. One hypothesis is that the traditional analysis of pain-related cerebral responses, by relying on the correlation of a predictor and the canonical hemodynamic response function (HRF)- the general linear model (GLM)- may under-detect the activity of those areas involved in stimulus processing that do not present a canonical HRF. In this study, we employed an innovative data-driven processing approach- an inter-run synchronization (IRS) analysis- that has the advantage of not establishing any pre-determined predictor definition. With this method we were able to evidence the involvement of several brain regions that are not usually found when using predictor-based analysis. These areas are synchronized during the administration of mechanical punctate stimuli and are characterized by a BOLD response different from the canonical HRF. This finding opens to new approaches in the study of pain imaging

    Sex differences in brain homotopic co-activations: a meta-analytic study

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    An element of great interest in functional connectivity is ‘homotopic connectivity’ (HC), namely the connectivity between two mirrored areas of the two hemispheres, mainly mediated by the fibers of the corpus callosum. Despite a long tradition of studying sexual dimorphism in the human brain, to our knowledge only one study has addressed the influence of sex on HC. We investigated the issue of homotopic co-activations in women and men using a coordinate-based meta-analytic method and data from the BrainMap database. A first unexpected observation was that the database was affected by a sex bias: women-only groups are investigated less often than men-only ones, and they are more often studied in certain domains such as emotion compared to men, and less in cognition. Implementing a series of sampling procedures to equalize the size and proportion of the datasets, our results indicated that females exhibit stronger interhemispheric co-activation than males, suggesting that the female brain is less lateralized and more integrated than that of males. In addition, males appear to show less intense but more extensive co-activation than females. Some local differences also appeared. In particular, it appears that primary motor and perceptual areas are more co-activated in males, in contrast to the opposite trend in the rest of the brain. This argues for a multidimensional view of sex brain differences and suggests that the issue should be approached with more complex models than previously thought. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s00429-022-02572-0

    Seeking Overlapping Neuroanatomical Alterations between Dyslexia and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analytic Replication Study

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    The present work is a replication article based on the paper “Are there shared neural correlates between dyslexia and ADHD? A meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometry studies” by McGrath and Stoodley (2019). In the original research, the authors used activation likelihood estimation (ALE), a technique to perform coordinate-based meta-analysis (CBMA), to investigate the existence of brain regions undergoing gray matter alteration in association with both attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia. Here, the same voxel-based morphometry dataset was analyzed, while using the permutation-subject images version of signed differential mapping (PSI-SDM) in place of ALE. Overall, the replication converged with the original paper in showing a limited overlap between the two conditions. In particular, no significant effect was found for dyslexia, therefore precluding any form of comparison between the two disorders. The possible influences of biological sex, age, and medication status were also ruled out. Our findings are in line with literature about gray matter alteration associated with ADHD and dyslexia, often showing conflicting results. Therefore, although neuropsychological and clinical evidence suggest some convergence between ADHD and dyslexia, more future research is sorely needed to reach a consensus on the neuroimaging domain in terms of patterns of gray matter alteration