115 research outputs found

    Beyond the “Pain Matrix,” 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

    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 κ 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

    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

    Rehabilitation of Communicative Abilities in Patients with a History of TBI: Behavioral Improvements and Cerebral Changes in Resting-State Activity

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    A targeted training program for the rehabilitation of communicative abilities—Cognitive Pragmatic Treatment (CPT)—has been developed and previously tested on a sample of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), whose performance was found to have improved. Since cortical plasticity has been recognized as the main mechanism of functional recovery, we investigated whether and how behavioral improvements following the training program are accompanied by brain modifications. Eight TBI patients took part in the training program and were behaviorally assessed pre- and post-treatment; six of these patients were also evaluated with pre- and post-treatment resting state (rs) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). At the end of the rehabilitation program patients showed improvement in overall communicative performance, in both comprehension and production tasks. A follow-up retest revealed the stability of these results 3 months after completing the training program. At the brain level, we found significant increases in the amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) index in the bilateral precentral gyrus, in the right middle and superior temporal gyri, in the right cingulate gyrus, and in the left inferior parietal lobule. We discuss these differences of brain activity in terms of their possible contribution to promoting recovery

    Linking neuroanatomical abnormalities in autism spectrum disorder with gene expression of candidate ASD genes: A meta-analytic and network-oriented approach

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    BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a set of developmental conditions with widespread neuroanatomical abnormalities and a strong genetic basis. Although neuroimaging studies have indicated anatomical changes in grey matter (GM) morphometry, their associations with gene expression remain elusive. METHODS: Here, we aim to understand how gene expression correlates with neuroanatomical atypicalities in ASD. To do so, we performed a coordinate-based meta-analysis to determine the common GM variation pattern in the autistic brain. From the Allen Human Brain Atlas, we selected eight genes from the SHANK, NRXN, NLGN family and MECP2, which have been implicated with ASD, particularly in regards to altered synaptic transmission and plasticity. The gene expression maps for each gene were built. We then assessed the correlation between the gene expression maps and the GM alteration maps. Lastly, we projected the obtained clusters of GM alteration-gene correlations on top of the canonical resting state networks, in order to provide a functional characterization of the structural evidence. RESULTS: We found that gene expression of most genes correlated with GM alteration (both increase and decrease) in regions located in the default mode network. Decreased GM was also correlated with gene expression of some ASD genes in areas associated with the dorsal attention and cerebellar network. Lastly, single genes were found to be significantly correlated with increased GM in areas located in the somatomotor, limbic and ganglia/thalamus networks. CONCLUSIONS: This approach allowed us to combine the well beaten path of genetic and brain imaging in a novel way, to specifically investigate the relation between gene expression and brain with structural damage, and individuate genes of potential interest for further investigation in the functional domain
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