- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- The Journal of Neuroscience
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 58 to 68
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) allows for non-invasive, detailed examination of the white matter structures of the brain. White matter tract-specific measures based on either the diffusion tensor model (e.g. FA, ADC, and MD) or tractography (e.g. volume, streamline count or density) are often compared between groups of subjects to localize differences within the white matter. Less commonly examined is the shape of the individual white matter tracts. In this paper, we propose to use the Laplace-Beltrami (LB) spectrum as a descriptor of the shape of white matter tracts. We provide an open, automated pipeline for the computation of the LB spectrum on segmented white matter tracts and demonstrate its efficacy through machine learning classification experiments. We show that the LB spectrum allows for distinguishing subjects diagnosed with bipolar disorder from age and sex-matched healthy controls, with classification accuracy reaching 95%. We further demonstrate that the results cannot be explained by traditional measures, such as tract volume, streamline count or mean and total length. The results indicate that there is valuable information in the anatomical shape of the human white matter tracts.
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Reduced White Matter Integrity and Deficits in Neuropsychological Functioning in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently viewed as a disorder of cortical systems connectivity, with a heavy emphasis being on the structural integrity of white matter tracts. However, the majority of the literature to date has focused on children with ASD. Understanding the integrity of white matter tracts in adults may help reveal the nature of ASD pathology in adulthood and the potential contributors to cognitive impairment. This study examined white matter water diffusion using diffusion tensor imaging in relation to neuropsychological measures of cognition in a sample of 45 adults with ASD compared to 20 age, gender, and full‐scale‐IQ‐matched healthy volunteers. Tract‐based spatial statistics were used to assess differences in diffusion along white matter tracts between groups using permutation testing. The following neuropsychological measures of cognition were assessed: processing speed, attention vigilance, working memory, verbal learning, visual learning, reasoning and problem solving, and social cognition. Results indicated that fractional anisotropy (FA) was significantly reduced in adults with ASD in the anterior thalamic radiation (
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White matter tracts are the data cables in the brain that efficiently transfer information, and damage to these tracts could be the cause for the abnormal behaviors that are associated with autism. We found that two long‐range tracts (the anterior thalamic radiation and the cingulum) were both impaired in autism but were not directly related to the impairments in behavior. This suggests that the abnormal tracts and behavior are the effects of another underlying mechanism.
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The study of human brain connectivity, including structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC), provides insights into the neurophysiological mechanism of brain function and its relationship to human behavior and cognition. Both types of connectivity measurements provide crucial yet complementary information. However, integrating these two modalities into a single framework remains a challenge, because of the differences in their quantitative interdependencies as well as their anatomical representations due to distinctive imaging mechanisms. In this study, we introduced a new method, joint connectivity matrix independent component analysis (cmICA), which provides a data‐driven parcellation and automated‐linking of SC and FC information simultaneously using a joint analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion‐weighted MRI data. We showed that these two connectivity modalities produce common cortical segregation, though with various degrees of (dis)similarity. Moreover, we show conjoint FC networks and structural white matter tracts that directly link these cortical parcellations/sources, within one analysis. Overall, data‐driven joint cmICA provides a new approach for integrating or fusing structural connectivity and FC systematically and conveniently, and provides an effective tool for connectivity‐based multimodal data fusion in brain.
We describe a dataset of processed data with associated reproducible preprocessing pipeline collected from two collegiate athlete groups and one non-athlete group. The dataset shares minimally processed diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) data, three models of the diffusion signal in the voxel, full-brain tractograms, segmentation of the major white matter tracts as well as structural connectivity matrices. There is currently a paucity of similar datasets openly shared. Furthermore, major challenges are associated with collecting this type of data. The data and derivatives shared here can be used as a reference to study the effects of long-term exposure to collegiate athletics, such as the effects of repetitive head impacts. We use advanced anatomical and dMRI data processing methods publicly available as reproducible web services at brainlife.io.