Recruiting volunteers for a performance crosstalk study

Healthy right-handed participants ages 18-40 are needed to participate in a one-day research study at the Center for Motion Studies and Kirby Imaging Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The study will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how various incentives can influence decision making and performance of skilled tasks. The study lasts between two and three hours. Participants will practice a variety of skilled tasks on a computer and then perform the tasks in the fMRI scanner. We will provide a nominal show-up fee of $50.

Task-related modulation of sensorimotor GABA+ levels in association with brain activity and motor performance: a multimodal MRS – fMRI study in young and older adults

Recent studies suggest an important role of the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA for motor performance in the context of aging. Nonetheless, as previous magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies primarily reported resting-state GABA levels, much less is known about transient changes in GABA levels during motor task performance and how these relate to behavior and brain activity patterns. Therefore, we investigated GABA+ levels of left primary sensorimotor cortex (SM1) acquired before, during and after execution of a uni/bimanual action selection task in 30 (human) young (age 24.5 ± 4.1, 15 male) and 30 older adults (age 67.8 ± 4.9, 14 male). In addition to task-related MRS data, task-related fMRI data were acquired.

Brainstem Mechanisms of Pain Modulation: A within-Subjects 7T fMRI Study of Placebo Analgesic and Nocebo Hyperalgesic Responses

Pain perception can be powerfully influenced by an individual's expectations and beliefs. Although the cortical circuitry responsible for pain modulation has been thoroughly investigated, the brainstem pathways involved in the modulatory phenomena of placebo analgesia and nocebo hyperalgesia remain to be directly addressed. This study used ultra-high-field 7 tesla functional MRI (fMRI) to accurately resolve differences in brainstem circuitry present during the generation of placebo analgesia and nocebo hyperalgesia in healthy human participants (N = 25, 12 male). Over 2 successive days, through blinded application of altered thermal stimuli, participants were deceptively conditioned to believe that two inert creams labeled lidocaine (placebo) and capsaicin (nocebo) were acting to modulate their pain relative to a third Vaseline (control) cream. In a subsequent test phase, fMRI image sets were collected while participants were given identical noxious stimuli to all three cream sites. Pain intensity ratings were collected and placebo and nocebo responses determined. Brainstem-specific fMRI analysis revealed altered activity in key pain modulatory nuclei, including a disparate recruitment of the periaqueductal gray (PAG)–rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) pathway when both greater placebo and nocebo effects were observed. Additionally, we found that placebo and nocebo responses differentially activated the parabrachial nucleus but overlapped in engagement of the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus. These data reveal that placebo and nocebo effects are generated through differential engagement of the PAG–RVM pathway, which in concert with other brainstem sites likely influences the experience of pain by modulating activity at the level of the dorsal horn.
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fMRI shows multiple concussions can affect teen brains

November 22, 2021 -- Functional MRI (fMRI) shows that adolescents and young adults who have sustained three to five concussions have disrupted brain connectivity in their default mode network, according to study results to be presented at the upcoming RSNA 2021 meeting in Chicago. The default mode network is activated...

4D iterative reconstruction of brain fMRI in the moving fetus

Resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a powerful imaging technique for studying functional development of the brain in utero. However, unpredictable and excessive movement of fetuses has limited clinical application since it causes substantial signal fluctuations which can systematically alter observed patterns of functional connectivity. Previous studies have focused on the accurate estimation of the motion parameters in case of large fetal head movement and used a 3D single step interpolation approach at each timepoint to recover motion-free fMRI images. This does not guarantee that the reconstructed image corresponds to the minimum error representation of fMRI time series given the acquired data. Here, we propose a novel technique based on four dimensional iterative reconstruction of the scattered slices acquired during fetal fMRI. The accuracy of the proposed method was quantitatively evaluated on a group of real clinical fMRI fetuses. The results indicate improvements of reconstruction quality compared to the conventional 3D interpolation approach.
The Conversation

Lydia Coxon

I am a post-doc researcher in the Pain in Women group at the University of Oxford. I investigate pain in endometriosis and how stratification of patients can aid our understanding and inform our treatment of women with endometriosis-associated pain. During my PhD (completed 2021) I explored neuropathic-like pain in endometriosis...

A novel event-related fMRI supervoxels-based representation and its application to schizophrenia diagnosis.

The schizophrenia diagnosis represents a difficult task because of the confusing descriptions of symptoms given by the patient, their similarity among several disorders, the lower familiarity with genetic predisposition, and the probably inadequate response to the treatment. Neuro-biological markers of schizophrenia, as a quantitative relationship between the psychiatrist’s reports and the biology of the brain, could be used. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) obtain the subject’s performance in cognitive tasks and may find significant differences between the patient’s data and controls. The input data of classifiers may imply alterations in diagnosis; therefore, it is essential to ensure an adequate representation to describe the entire dataset classified.

In search of different categories of abstract concepts: a fMRI adaptation study

Concrete conceptual knowledge is supported by a distributed neural network representing different semantic features according to the neuroanatomy of sensory and motor systems. If and how this framework applies to abstract knowledge is currently debated. Here we investigated the specific brain correlates of different abstract categories. After a systematic a priori selection of brain regions involved in semantic cognition, i.e. responsible of, respectively, semantic representations and cognitive control, we used a fMRI-adaptation paradigm with a passive reading task, in order to modulate the neural response to abstract (emotions, cognitions, attitudes, human actions) and concrete (biological entities, artefacts) categories. Different portions of the left anterior temporal lobe responded selectively to abstract and concrete concepts. Emotions and attitudes adapted the left middle temporal gyrus, whereas concrete items adapted the left fusiform gyrus. Our results suggest that, similarly to concrete concepts, some categories of abstract knowledge have specific brain correlates corresponding to the prevalent semantic dimensions involved in their representation.

Participants needed for paid fMRI research study

Researchers are looking for participants for a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. The study takes place at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (707 N Broadway) and lasts for about 1.5 hours. Compensation is $30/hour. The study involves having your brain scanned while listening to stories and speaking. Please note that the stories are PG-13 and have some themes of death and violence.

How Interpersonal Psychotherapy Changes the Brain: A Study of fMRI in Borderline Personality Disorder

Background: Recent guidelines and systematic reviews suggest that disorder-specific psychotherapeutic interventions are the first choice in the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The aim of this study is to examine brain activity changes in BPD patients (DSM-5) who received a revised BPD-adapted interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-BPD-R) compared with patients on the waiting list.

Detecting Differences Between Correlation-Matrix Populations due to Single-variable Perturbations, with Application to Resting State fMRI

Correlation matrices provide a useful way to characterize variable dependencies in many real-world problems. Often, a perturbation in few variables can lead to small differences in multiple correlation coefficients related to these variables. In this paper we propose a low-dimensional representation of these differences as a product of single-variable perturbations that can efficiently characterize such effects; We develop methods for point estimation, confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for this model. Importantly, our methods are tailored for comparing samples of correlation matrices, in that they account for both the inherent variability in correlation matrices and for the variation between matrices in each sample. In simulations, our model shows a substantial increase in power compared to mass univariate approaches.