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  1. Abstract

    The functional and computational properties of brain areas are determined, in large part, by their connectivity profiles. Advances in neuroimaging and network neuroscience allow us to characterize the human brain noninvasively, but a comprehensive understanding of the human brain demands an account of the anatomy of brain connections. Long-range anatomical connections are instantiated by white matter, which itself is organized into tracts. These tracts are often disrupted by central nervous system disorders, and they can be targeted by neuromodulatory interventions, such as deep brain stimulation. Here, we characterized the connections, morphology, traversal, and functions of the major white matter tracts in the brain. There are major discrepancies across different accounts of white matter tract anatomy, hindering our attempts to accurately map the connectivity of the human brain. However, we are often able to clarify the source(s) of these discrepancies through careful consideration of both histological tract-tracing and diffusion-weighted tractography studies. In combination, the advantages and disadvantages of each method permit novel insights into brain connectivity. Ultimately, our synthesis provides an essential reference for neuroscientists and clinicians interested in brain connectivity and anatomy, allowing for the study of the association of white matter’s properties with behavior, development, and disorders.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Multiple human behaviors improve early in life, peaking in young adulthood, and declining thereafter. Several properties of brain structure and function progress similarly across the lifespan. Cognitive and neuroscience research has approached aging primarily using associations between a few behaviors, brain functions, and structures. Because of this, the multivariate, global factors relating brain and behavior across the lifespan are not well understood. We investigated the global patterns of associations between 334 behavioral and clinical measures and 376 brain structural connections in 594 individuals across the lifespan. A single-axis associated changes in multiple behavioral domains and brain structural connections (r = 0.5808). Individual variability within the single association axis well predicted the age of the subject (r = 0.6275). Representational similarity analysis evidenced global patterns of interactions across multiple brain network systems and behavioral domains. Results show that global processes of human aging can be well captured by a multivariate data fusion approach.

     
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  3. Yap, Pew-Thian (Ed.)
    Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with multiple, high b-values is critical for extracting tissue microstructure measurements; however, high b-value DWI images contain high noise levels that can overwhelm the signal of interest and bias microstructural measurements. Here, we propose a simple denoising method that can be applied to any dataset, provided a low-noise, single-subject dataset is acquired using the same DWI sequence. The denoising method uses a one-dimensional convolutional neural network (1D-CNN) and deep learning to learn from a low-noise dataset, voxel-by-voxel. The trained model can then be applied to high-noise datasets from other subjects. We validated the 1D-CNN denoising method by first demonstrating that 1D-CNN denoising resulted in DWI images that were more similar to the noise-free ground truth than comparable denoising methods, e.g., MP-PCA, using simulated DWI data. Using the same DWI acquisition but reconstructed with two common reconstruction methods, i.e. SENSE1 and sum-of-square, to generate a pair of low-noise and high-noise datasets, we then demonstrated that 1D-CNN denoising of high-noise DWI data collected from human subjects showed promising results in three domains: DWI images, diffusion metrics, and tractography. In particular, the denoised images were very similar to a low-noise reference image of that subject, more than the similarity between repeated low-noise images (i.e. computational reproducibility). Finally, we demonstrated the use of the 1D-CNN method in two practical examples to reduce noise from parallel imaging and simultaneous multi-slice acquisition. We conclude that the 1D-CNN denoising method is a simple, effective denoising method for DWI images that overcomes some of the limitations of current state-of-the-art denoising methods, such as the need for a large number of training subjects and the need to account for the rectified noise floor. 
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  4. The human sense of smell plays an important role in appetite and food intake, detecting environmental threats, social interactions, and memory processing. However, little is known about the neural circuity supporting its function. The olfactory tracts project from the olfactory bulb along the base of the frontal cortex, branching into several striae to meet diverse cortical regions. Historically, using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) to reconstruct the human olfactory tracts has been prevented by susceptibility and motion artifacts. Here, we used a dMRI method with readout segmentation of long variable echo-trains (RESOLVE) to minimize image distortions and characterize the human olfactory tracts in vivo . We collected high-resolution dMRI data from 25 healthy human participants (12 male and 13 female) and performed probabilistic tractography using constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD). At the individual subject level, we identified the lateral, medial, and intermediate striae with their respective cortical connections to the piriform cortex and amygdala (AMY), olfactory tubercle (OT), and anterior olfactory nucleus (AON). We combined individual results across subjects to create a normalized, probabilistic atlas of the olfactory tracts. We then investigated the relationship between olfactory perceptual scores and measures of white matter integrity, including mean diffusivity (MD). Importantly, we found that olfactory tract MD negatively correlated with odor discrimination performance. In summary, our results provide a detailed characterization of the connectivity of the human olfactory tracts and demonstrate an association between their structural integrity and olfactory perceptual function. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study provides the first detailed in vivo description of the cortical connectivity of the three olfactory tract striae in the human brain, using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). Additionally, we show that tract microstructure correlates with performance on an odor discrimination task, suggesting a link between the structural integrity of the olfactory tracts and odor perception. Lastly, we generated a normalized probabilistic atlas of the olfactory tracts that may be used in future research to study its integrity in health and disease. 
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  5. Abstract We describe a collection of T1-, diffusion- and functional T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging data from human individuals with albinism and achiasma. This repository can be used as a test-bed to develop and validate tractography methods like diffusion-signal modeling and fiber tracking as well as to investigate the properties of the human visual system in individuals with congenital abnormalities. The MRI data is provided together with tools and files allowing for its preprocessing and analysis, along with the data derivatives such as manually curated masks and regions of interest for performing tractography. 
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  6. Decentralized research data management (dRDM) systems handle digital research objects across participating nodes without critically relying on central services. We present four perspectives in defense of dRDM, illustrating that, in contrast to centralized or federated RDM solutions, a dRDM system based on heterogeneous but interoperable components can offer a sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and adaptive infrastructure for scientific stakeholders: An individual scientist or lab, a research institute, a domain data archive or cloud computing platform, and a collaborative multi-site consortium. All perspectives share the use of a common, self-contained, portable data structure as an abstraction from current technology and service choices. In conjunction, the four perspectives review how varying requirements of independent scientific stakeholders can be addressed by a scalable, uniform dRDM solution, and present a working system as an exemplary implementation. 
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