Abstract Primary objective: To use breath-hold functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to localize the brain regions with impaired cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) in a female patient diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The extent of impaired CVR was evaluated 2 months after concussion. Follow-up scan was performed 1 year post-mTBI using the same breath-hold fMRI technique. Research design: Case report. Methods and procedures: fMRI blood oxygenation dependent level (BOLD) signals were measured under breath-hold challenge in a female mTBI patient 2 months after concussion followed by a second fMRI with breath-hold challenge 1 year later. CVR was expressed as the percentage change of BOLD signals per unit time of breath-hold. Main outcomes: In comparison with CVR measurement of normal control subjects, statistical maps of CVR revealed substantial neurovascular deficits and hemispheric asymmetry within grey and white matter in the initial breath-hold fMRI scan. Follow-up breath-hold fMRI performed 1 year post-mTBI demonstrated normalization of CVR accompanied with symptomatic recovery. Conclusions: CVR may serve as an imaging biomarker to detect subtle deficits in both grey and white matter for individual diagnosis of mTBI. The findings encourage further investigation of hypercapnic fMRI as a diagnostic tool for mTBI.
Historically, medical images collected in the course of clinical care have been difficult to access for secondary research studies. While there is a tremendous potential value in the large volume of studies contained in clinical image archives, Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) are designed to optimize clinical operations and workflow. Search capabilities in PACS are basic, limiting their use for population studies, and duplication of archives for research is costly. To address this need, we augment the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) open source software, providing investigators with the tools necessary to query and integrate medical record and clinical research data. Over 100 healthcare institutions have installed this suite of software tools that allows investigators to search medical record metadata including images for specific types of patients. In this report, we describe a new Medical Imaging Informatics Bench to Bedside (mi2b2) module ( www.mi2b2.org ), available now as an open source addition to the i2b2 software platform that allows medical imaging examinations collected during routine clinical care to be made available to translational investigators directly from their institution's clinical PACS for research and educational use in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Omnibus Rule. Access governance within the mi2b2 module is customizable per institution and PACS minimizing impact on clinical systems. Currently in active use at our institutions, this new technology has already been used to facilitate access to thousands of clinical MRI brain studies representing specific patient phenotypes for use in research.
One of the major goals of the NIH Blueprint Human Connectome Project (HCP) was to map and quantify the white matter connections in the brain using diffusion tractography. Given the prevalence of complex white matter structures, the capability of resolving local white matter geometries with multiple crossings in the diffusion MRI (dMRI) data is critical. Increasing b-value has been suggested for delineation of the finer details of the orientation distribution function (ODF). Although increased gradient strength and duration increase sensitivity to highly restricted intra-axonal water, gradient strength limitations require longer echo times (TE) to accommodate the increased diffusion encoding times needed to achieve a higher b-value, exponentially lowering the signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) of the acquisition. To mitigate this effect, the MGH-USC Connectom scanner was built with 300 mT/m gradients, which can significantly reduce the TE of high b-value diffusion imaging. Here we report comparisons performed across b-values based on q-ball ODF metrics to investigate whether high b-value diffusion imaging on the Connectom scanner can improve resolving complex white matter structures. The q-ball ODF features became sharper as the b-value increased, with increased power fraction in higher order spherical harmonic series of the ODF's and increased peak heights relative to the overall size of the ODF. Crossing structures were detected in an increasingly larger fraction of white matter voxels and the spatial distribution of two-way and three-way crossing structures were largely consistent with known anatomy. Results indicate that dMRI with high diffusion encoding on the Connectom system is a promising tool to better characterize, and ultimately understand, the underlying structural organization and motifs in the human brain.
The most common malignant primary brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a devastating disease with a grim prognosis. Patient survival is typically less than two years and fewer than 10% of patients survive more than five years. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can have great utility in the diagnosis, grading, and management of patients with GBM as many of the physical manifestations of the pathologic processes in GBM can be visualized and quantified using MRI. Newer MRI techniques such as dynamic contrast enhanced and dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI provide functional information about the tumor hemodynamic status. Diffusion MRI can shed light on tumor cellularity and the disruption of white matter tracts in the proximity of tumors. MR spectroscopy can be used to study new tumor tissue markers such as IDH mutations. MRI is helping to noninvasively explore the link between the molecular basis of gliomas and the imaging characteristics of their physical processes. We, here, review several approaches to MR-based imaging and discuss the potential for these techniques to quantify the physical processes in glioblastoma, including tumor cellularity and vascularity, metabolite expression, and patterns of tumor growth and recurrence. We conclude with challenges and opportunities for further research in applying physical principles to better understand the biologic process in this deadly disease. See all articles in this Cancer Research section, "Physics in Cancer Research."
Our understanding of the importance of blood vessels and angiogenesis in cancer has increased considerably over the past decades, and the assessment of tumour vessel calibre and structure has become increasingly important for in vivo monitoring of therapeutic response. The preferred method for in vivo imaging of most solid cancers is MRI, and the concept of vessel-calibre MRI has evolved since its initial inception in the early 1990s. Almost a quarter of a century later, unlike traditional contrast-enhanced MRI techniques, vessel-calibre MRI remains widely inaccessible to the general clinical community. The narrow availability of the technique is, in part, attributable to limited awareness and a lack of imaging standardization. Thus, the role of vessel-calibre MRI in early phase clinical trials remains to be determined. By contrast, regulatory approvals of antiangiogenic agents that are not directly cytotoxic have created an urgent need for clinical trials incorporating advanced imaging analyses, going beyond traditional assessments of tumour volume. To this end, we review the field of vessel-calibre MRI and summarize the emerging evidence supporting the use of this technique to monitor response to anticancer therapy. We also discuss the potential use of this biomarker assessment in clinical imaging trials and highlight relevant avenues for future research.
MRI and PET provide complementary information for studying brain function. While the potential use of simultaneous MRI/PET for clinical diagnostic and disease staging has been demonstrated recently; the biological relevance of concurrent functional MRI-PET brain imaging to dissect neurochemically distinct components of the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI signal has not yet been shown. We obtained sixteen fMRI-PET data sets from eight healthy volunteers. Each subject participated in randomized order in a pain scan and a control (nonpainful pressure) scan on the same day. Dynamic PET data were acquired with an opioid radioligand, [(11)C]diprenorphine, to detect endogenous opioid releases in response to pain. BOLD fMRI data were collected at the same time to capture hemodynamic responses. In this simultaneous human fMRI-PET imaging study, we show co-localized responses in thalamus and striatum related to pain processing, while modality specific brain networks were also found. Co-localized fMRI and PET signal changes in the thalamus were positively correlated suggesting that pain-induced changes in opioid neurotransmission contribute a significant component of the fMRI signal change in this region. Simultaneous fMRI-PET provides unique opportunities allowing us to relate specific neurochemical events to functional hemodynamic activation and to investigate the impacts of neurotransmission on neurovascular coupling of the human brain in vivo.
Adaptive, original actions, which can succeed in multiple contextual situations, require understanding of what is relevant to a goal. Recognizing what is relevant may also help in predicting kinematics of observed, original actions. During action observation, comparisons between sensory input and expected action kinematics have been argued critical to accurate goal inference. Experimental studies with laboratory tasks, both in humans and nonhuman primates, demonstrated that the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) can learn, hierarchically organize, and use goal-relevant information. To determine whether this LPFC capacity is generalizable to real-world cognition, we recorded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data in the human brain during comprehension of original and usual object-directed actions embedded in video-depictions of real-life behaviors. We hypothesized that LPFC will contribute to forming goal-relevant representations necessary for kinematic predictions of original actions. Additionally, resting-state fMRI was employed to examine functional connectivity between the brain regions delineated in the video fMRI experiment. According to behavioral data, original videos could be understood by identifying elements relevant to real-life goals at different levels of abstraction. Patterns of enhanced activity in four regions in the left LPFC, evoked by original, relative to usual, video scenes, were consistent with previous neuroimaging findings on representing abstract and concrete stimuli dimensions relevant to laboratory goals. In the anterior left LPFC, the activity increased selectively when representations of broad classes of objects and actions, which could achieve the perceived overall behavioral goal, were likely to bias kinematic predictions of original actions. In contrast, in the more posterior regions, the activity increased even when concrete properties of the target object were more likely to bias the kinematic prediction. Functional connectivity was observed between contiguous regions along the rostro-caudal LPFC axis, but not between the regions that were not immediately adjacent. These findings generalize the representational hierarchy account of LPFC function to diverse core principles that can govern both production and comprehension of flexible real-life behavior.
Quantitative oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) in cortical veins was studied in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy subjects via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) phase images at 7 Tesla (7 T). Flow-compensated, three-dimensional gradient-echo scans were acquired for absolute OEF quantification in 23 patients with MS and 14 age-matched controls. In patients, we collected T2*-weighted images for characterization of white matter, deep gray matter, and cortical lesions, and also assessed cognitive function. Variability of OEF across readers and scan sessions was evaluated in a subset of volunteers. OEF was averaged from 2 to 3 pial veins in the sensorimotor, parietal, and prefrontal cortical regions for each subject (total of ~10 vessels). We observed good reproducibility of mean OEF, with intraobserver coefficient of variation (COV)=2.1%, interobserver COV=5.2%, and scan-rescan COV=5.9%. Patients exhibited a 3.4% reduction in cortical OEF relative to controls (P=0.0025), which was not different across brain regions. Although oxygenation did not relate with measures of structural tissue damage, mean OEF correlated with a global measure of information processing speed. These findings suggest that cortical OEF from 7-T MRI phase is a reproducible metabolic biomarker that may be sensitive to different pathologic processes than structural MRI in patients with MS.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 29 October 2014; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.187.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate (Glu) are the major neurotransmitters in the brain. They are crucial for the functioning of healthy brain and their alteration is a major mechanism in the pathophysiology of many neuro-psychiatric disorders. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is the only way to measure GABA and Glu non-invasively in vivo. GABA detection is particularly challenging and requires special MRS techniques. The most popular is MEscher-GArwood (MEGA) difference editing with single-voxel Point RESolved Spectroscopy (PRESS) localization. This technique has three major limitations: a) MEGA editing is a subtraction technique, hence is very sensitive to scanner instabilities and motion artifacts. b) PRESS is prone to localization errors at high fields (?3T) that compromise accurate quantification. c) Single-voxel spectroscopy can (similar to a biopsy) only probe steady GABA and Glu levels in a single location at a time. To mitigate these problems, we implemented a 3D MEGA-editing MRS imaging sequence with the following three features: a) Real-time motion correction, dynamic shim updates, and selective reacquisition to eliminate subtraction artifacts due to scanner instabilities and subject motion. b) Localization by Adiabatic SElective Refocusing (LASER) to improve the localization accuracy and signal-to-noise ratio. c) K-space encoding via a weighted stack of spirals provides 3D metabolic mapping with flexible scan times. Simulations, phantom and in vivo experiments prove that our MEGA-LASER sequence enables 3D mapping of GABA+ and Glx (Glutamate+Gluatmine), by providing 1.66 times larger signal for the 3.02ppm multiplet of GABA+ compared to MEGA-PRESS, leading to clinically feasible scan times for 3D brain imaging. Hence, our sequence allows accurate and robust 3D-mapping of brain GABA+ and Glx levels to be performed at clinical 3T MR scanners for use in neuroscience and clinical applications.
There is an unmet medical need for noninvasive imaging of regional brain oxygenation to manage stroke, tumor, and neurodegenerative diseases. Oxygenation imaging from magnetic susceptibility in MRI is a promising new technique to measure local venous oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) along the cerebral venous vasculature. However, this approach has not been tested in vivo at different levels of oxygenation. The primary goal of this study was to test whether susceptibility imaging of oxygenation can detect OEF changes induced by hypercapnia, via CO2 inhalation, within selected a priori brain regions. Ten healthy subjects were scanned at 3T with a 32-channel head coil. The end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) was monitored continuously and inspired gases were adjusted to achieve steady-state conditions of eucapnia (41±3mmHg) and hypercapnia (50±4mmHg). Gradient echo phase images and pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pcASL) images were acquired to measure regional OEF and CBF respectively during eucapnia and hypercapnia. By assuming constant cerebral oxygen consumption throughout both gas states, regional CBF values were computed to predict the local change in OEF in each brain region. Hypercapnia induced a relative decrease in OEF of -42.3% in the straight sinus, -39.9% in the internal cerebral veins, and approximately -50% in pial vessels draining each of the occipital, parietal, and frontal cortical areas. Across volunteers, regional changes in OEF correlated with changes in ETCO2. The reductions in regional OEF (via phase images) were significantly correlated (P<0.05) with predicted reductions in OEF derived from CBF data (via pcASL images). These findings suggest that susceptibility imaging is a promising technique for OEF measurements, and may serve as a clinical biomarker for brain conditions with aberrant regional oxygenation.
Glucose is the principal source of energy for the brain and yet the dynamic response of glucose utilization to changes in brain activity is still not fully understood. Positron emission tomography (PET) allows quantitative measurement of glucose metabolism using 2-[(18)F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). However, FDG PET in its current form provides an integral (or average) of glucose consumption over tens of minutes and lacks the temporal information to capture physiological alterations associated with changes in brain activity induced by tasks or drug challenges. Traditionally, changes in glucose utilization are inferred by comparing two separate scans, which significantly limits the utility of the method. We report a novel method to track changes in FDG metabolism dynamically, with higher temporal resolution than exists to date and within a single session. Using a constant infusion of FDG, we demonstrate that our technique (termed fPET-FDG) can be used in an analysis pipeline similar to fMRI to define within-session differential metabolic responses. We use visual stimulation to demonstrate the feasibility of this method. This new method has a great potential to be used in research protocols and clinical settings since fPET-FDG imaging can be performed with most PET scanners and data acquisition and analysis are straightforward. fPET-FDG is a highly complementary technique to MRI and provides a rich new way to observe functional changes in brain metabolism.
Simultaneous acquisition of MR and positron emission tomography (PET) images requires the placement of the MR detection coil inside the PET detector ring where it absorbs and scatters photons. This constraint is the principal barrier to achieving optimum sensitivity on each modality. Here, we present a 31-channel PET-compatible brain array coil with reduced attenuation but improved MR sensitivity.
Diagnosis of progressive disease or (partial) response during tumor treatment is based on manual size estimates of enhancing tumor area: an expert measures two perpendicular diameters of the enhancing tumor region in a single MRI slice with the largest enhancing area. This paper analyzes the reliability of the area measure with respect to head placement in the MRI scanner and compares it with 3D volume measures in a dataset of eight subjects (5-7 follow-up scans each) with high-grade glioma. We show that the manual area measure is highly sensitive to head position changes, with a root mean squared error of 22%, compared to volume estimates with less than 5% error. In our simulated study using the 2D manual measurements, the majority of subjects would have been incorrectly diagnosed with progressive disease without any true anatomical changes. These results highlight the urgent need for revised and more reliable response assessment criteria, for example, based on increased slice resolution, 3D volume analysis and percent change computation with respect to an average of patient specific longitudinal measurements instead of a single measurement to define progression or response.
The Editors of Israel Journal of Health Policy Research would like to thank all reviewers, both external and Editorial Board Members, who have contributed to the journal in 2013, and whose valuable support continues to be essential to the success of the journal.
The integrity of white matter tracts connecting different parts of the brain is important for rapid compensation for the lost function from ischemic stroke. Impaired white matter reserve capacity secondary to leukoaraiosis may facilitate detection of new symptomatic ischemic events that would otherwise remain inconspicuous after an initial ischemic stroke. We sought to identify whether the extent of leukoaraiosis was a predictor of risk of early stroke recurrence.
The Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) was launched in January 2012 and it is now publishing its 100th article. It was accepted into PubMed after only six months of publication and it has now also been accepted by Thomson Reuters for inclusion in the Web of Science as well as the Social Science Citation Index. It is rare for a new journal to reach these milestones at such an early stage in its development.One of the key factors in the journals acceptance into these prestigious databases has been its unique national/international approach - exploring both what Israel can learn from health systems in other countries and what other countries can learn from Israeli health care. Another key factor has been its ability to attract high quality contributions from virtually all of the Israeli universities and research centers involved in health policy. A third important factor has been the journals ability to engage leading international scholars as contributors and/or editorial board members.
Chemoradiation (CRT) can significantly modify the radiographic appearance of malignant gliomas, especially within the immediate post-CRT period. Pseudoprogression (PsP) is an increasingly recognized phenomenon in this setting, and is thought to be secondary to increased permeability as a byproduct of the complex process of radiation-induced tissue injury, possibly enhanced by temozolomide. We sought to determine whether the addition of a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling inhibitor (cediranib) to conventional CRT had an impact on the frequency of PsP, by comparing two groups of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma before, during, and after CRT.Methods.All patients underwent serial magnetic resonance imaging as part of institutional review board-approved clinical studies. Eleven patients in the control group received only chemoradiation, whereas 29 patients in the study group received chemoradiation and cediranib until disease progression or toxicity. Response assessment was defined according to Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology criteria, and patients with enlarging lesions were classified into true tumor progressions (TTP) or PsP, based on serial radiographic follow-up.Results.Two patients in the study group (7%) showed signs of apparent early tumor progression, and both were subsequently classified as TTP. Six patients in the control group (54%) showed signs of apparent early tumor progression, and three were subsequently classified as TTP and three as PsP. The frequency of PsP was significantly higher in the control group.Conclusion.Administration of a VEGF inhibitor during and after CRT modifies the expression of PsP by imaging.
Antiangiogenic therapy has shown clear activity and improved survival benefit for certain tumor types. However, an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms of action of antiangiogenic agents has hindered optimization and broader application of this new therapeutic modality. In particular, the impact of antiangiogenic therapy on tumor blood flow and oxygenation status (i.e., the role of vessel pruning versus normalization) remains controversial. This controversy has become critical as multiple phase III trials of anti-VEGF agents combined with cytotoxics failed to show overall survival benefit in newly diagnosed glioblastoma (nGBM) patients and several other cancers. Here, we shed light on mechanisms of nGBM response to cediranib, a pan-VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, using MRI techniques and blood biomarkers in prospective phase II clinical trials of cediranib with chemoradiation vs. chemoradiation alone in nGBM patients. We demonstrate that improved perfusion occurs only in a subset of patients in cediranib-containing regimens, and is associated with improved overall survival in these nGBM patients. Moreover, an increase in perfusion is associated with improved tumor oxygenation status as well as with pharmacodynamic biomarkers, such as changes in plasma placenta growth factor and sVEGFR2. Finally, treatment resistance was associated with elevated plasma IL-8 and sVEGFR1 posttherapy. In conclusion, tumor perfusion changes after antiangiogenic therapy may distinguish responders vs. nonresponders early in the course of this expensive and potentially toxic form of therapy, and these results may provide new insight into the selection of glioblastoma patients most likely to benefit from anti-VEGF treatments.
The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative has focused scientific attention on the necessary tools to understand the human brain and mind. Here, we outline our collective vision for what we can achieve within a decade with properly targeted efforts and discuss likely technological deliverables and neuroscience progress.
The investigation of metabolic pathways disturbed in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutant tumors revealed that the hallmark metabolic alteration is the production of D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2HG). The biological impact of D-2HG strongly suggests that high levels of this metabolite may play a central role in propagating downstream the effects of mutant IDH, leading to malignant transformation of cells. Hence, D-2HG may be an ideal biomarker for both diagnosing and monitoring treatment response targeting IDH mutations. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is well suited to the task of noninvasive D-2HG detection, and there has been much interest in developing such methods. Here, we review recent efforts to translate methodology using MRS to reliably measure in vivo D-2HG into clinical research.
Exploratory (i.e., voxelwise) spatial methods are commonly used in neuroimaging to identify areas that show an effect when a region-of-interest (ROI) analysis cannot be performed because no strong a priori anatomical hypothesis exists. However, noise at a single voxel is much higher than noise in a ROI making noise management critical to successful exploratory analysis. This work explores how preprocessing choices affect the bias and variability of voxelwise kinetic modeling analysis of brain positron emission tomography (PET) data. These choices include the use of volume- or cortical surface-based smoothing, level of smoothing, use of voxelwise partial volume correction (PVC), and PVC masking threshold. PVC was implemented using the Muller-Gartner method with the masking out of voxels with low gray matter (GM) partial volume fraction. Dynamic PET scans of an antagonist serotonin-4 receptor radioligand ([(11)C]SB2307145) were collected on sixteen healthy subjects using a Siemens HRRT PET scanner. Kinetic modeling was used to compute maps of non-displaceable binding potential (BPND) after preprocessing. The results showed a complicated interaction between smoothing, PVC, and masking on BPND estimates. Volume-based smoothing resulted in large bias and intersubject variance because it smears signal across tissue types. In some cases, PVC with volume smoothing paradoxically caused the estimated BPND to be less than when no PVC was used at all. When applied in the absence of PVC, cortical surface-based smoothing resulted in dramatically less bias and the least variance of the methods tested for smoothing levels 5mm and higher. When used in combination with PVC, surface-based smoothing minimized the bias without significantly increasing the variance. Surface-based smoothing resulted in 2-4 times less intersubject variance than when volume smoothing was used. This translates into more than 4 times fewer subjects needed in a group analysis to achieve similarly powered statistical tests. Surface-based smoothing has less bias and variance because it respects cortical geometry by smoothing the PET data only along the cortical ribbon and so does not contaminate the GM signal with that of white matter and cerebrospinal fluid. The use of surface-based analysis in PET should result in substantial improvements in the reliability and detectability of effects in exploratory PET analysis, with or without PVC.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation in the rotating frame is sensitive to molecular dynamics on the time scale of water molecules interacting with macromolecules or supramolecular complexes, such as proteins, myelin and cell membranes. Hence, longitudinal (T1?) and transverse (T2?) relaxation in the rotating frame may have a great potential to probe the macromolecular fraction of tissues. This stimulated a large interest in using this MR contrast to image brain under healthy and disease conditions. However, experimental challenges related to the use of intense radiofrequency irradiation have limited the widespread use of T1? and T2? imaging. Here, we present methodological development to acquire 3D high-resolution or 2D (multi-)slice selective T1? and T2? maps of the entire human brain within short acquisition times. These improvements are based on a class of gradient modulated adiabatic pulses that reduce the power deposition, provide slice selection, and mitigate artifacts resulting from inhomogeneities of B1 and B0 magnetic fields. Based on an analytical model of the T1? and T2? relaxation we compute the maps of macromolecular bound water fraction, correlation and exchange time constants as quantitative biomarkers informative of tissue macromolecular content. Results obtained from simulations, phantoms and five healthy subjects are included.
Expertly collected, well-curated data sets consisting of comprehensive clinical characterization and raw structural, functional and diffusion-weighted DICOM images in schizophrenia patients and sex and age-matched controls are now accessible to the scientific community through an on-line data repository (coins.mrn.org). The Mental Illness and Neuroscience Discovery Institute, now the Mind Research Network (MRN, http://www.mrn.org/ ), comprised of investigators at the University of New Mexico, the University of Minnesota, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Iowa, conducted a cross-sectional study to identify quantitative neuroimaging biomarkers of schizophrenia. Data acquisition across multiple sites permitted the integration and cross-validation of clinical, cognitive, morphometric, and functional neuroimaging results gathered from unique samples of schizophrenia patients and controls using a common protocol across sites. Particular effort was made to recruit patients early in the course of their illness, at the onset of their symptoms. There is a relatively even sampling of illness duration in chronic patients. This data repository will be useful to 1) scientists who can study schizophrenia by further analysis of this cohort and/or by pooling with other data; 2) computer scientists and software algorithm developers for testing and validating novel registration, segmentation, and other analysis software; and 3) educators in the fields of neuroimaging, medical image analysis and medical imaging informatics who need exemplar data sets for courses and workshops. Sharing provides the opportunity for independent replication of already published results from this data set and novel exploration. This manuscript describes the inclusion/exclusion criteria, imaging parameters and other information that will assist those wishing to use this data repository.
This study employed simultaneous neuroimaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate the relationship between changes in receptor occupancy measured by PET and changes in brain activity inferred by fMRI. By administering the D2/D3 dopamine receptor antagonist [(11)C]raclopride at varying specific activities to anesthetized nonhuman primates, we mapped associations between changes in receptor occupancy and hemodynamics [cerebral blood volume (CBV)] in the domains of space, time, and dose. Mass doses of raclopride above tracer levels caused increases in CBV and reductions in binding potential that were localized to the dopamine-rich striatum. Moreover, similar temporal profiles were observed for specific binding estimates and changes in CBV. Injection of graded raclopride mass doses revealed a monotonic coupling between neurovascular responses and receptor occupancies. The distinct CBV magnitudes between putamen and caudate at matched occupancies approximately matched literature differences in basal dopamine levels, suggesting that the relative fMRI measurements reflect basal D2/D3 dopamine receptor occupancy. These results can provide a basis for models that relate dopaminergic occupancies to hemodynamic changes in the basal ganglia. Overall, these data demonstrate the utility of simultaneous PET/fMRI for investigations of neurovascular coupling that correlate neurochemistry with hemodynamic changes in vivo for any receptor system with an available PET tracer.
The full potential of magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) is often limited by localization artifacts, motion-related artifacts, scanner instabilities, and long measurement times. Localized adiabatic selective refocusing (LASER) provides accurate B1-insensitive spatial excitation even at high magnetic fields. Spiral encoding accelerates MRSI acquisition, and thus, enables 3D-coverage without compromising spatial resolution. Real-time position- and shim/frequency-tracking using MR navigators correct motion- and scanner instability-related artifacts. Each of these three advanced MRI techniques provides superior MRSI data compared to commonly used methods. In this work, we integrated in a single pulse sequence these three promising approaches. Real-time correction of motion, shim, and frequency-drifts using volumetric dual-contrast echo planar imaging-based navigators were implemented in an MRSI sequence that uses low-power gradient modulated short-echo time LASER localization and time efficient spiral readouts, in order to provide fast and robust 3D-MRSI in the human brain at 3T. The proposed sequence was demonstrated to be insensitive to motion- and scanner drift-related degradations of MRSI data in both phantoms and volunteers. Motion and scanner drift artifacts were eliminated and excellent spectral quality was recovered in the presence of strong movement. Our results confirm the expected benefits of combining a spiral 3D-LASER-MRSI sequence with real-time correction. The new sequence provides accurate, fast, and robust 3D metabolic imaging of the human brain at 3T. This will further facilitate the use of 3D-MRSI for neuroscience and clinical applications.
Stroke is the third leading cause of mortality and a frequent cause of long-term adult impairment. Improved strategies to enhance motor function in individuals with chronic disability from stroke are thus required. Post?stroke therapy may improve rehabilitation and reduce long-term disability; however, objective methods for evaluating the specific impact of rehabilitation are rare. Brain imaging studies on patients with chronic stroke have shown evidence for reorganization of areas showing functional plasticity after a stroke. In this study, we hypothesized that brain mapping using a novel magnetic resonance (MR)-compatible hand device in conjunction with state?of?the?art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can serve as a novel biomarker for brain plasticity induced by rehabilitative motor training in patients with chronic stroke. This hypothesis is based on the premises that robotic devices, by stimulating brain plasticity, can assist in restoring movement compromised by stroke-induced pathological changes in the brain and that these changes can then be monitored by advanced MRI. We serially examined 15 healthy controls and 4 patients with chronic stroke. We employed a combination of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and volumetric MRI using a 3-tesla (3T) MRI system using a 12-channel Siemens Tim coil and a novel MR-compatible hand?induced robotic device. DTI data revealed that the number of fibers and the average tract length significantly increased after 8 weeks of hand training by 110% and 64%, respectively (p<0.001). New corticospinal tract (CST) fibers projecting progressively closer to the motor cortex appeared during training. Volumetric data analysis showed a statistically significant increase in the cortical thickness of the ventral postcentral gyrus areas of patients after training relative to pre-training cortical thickness (p<0.001). We suggest that rehabilitation is possible for a longer period of time after stroke than previously thought, showing that structural plasticity is possible even after 6 months due to retained neuroplasticity. Our study is an example of personalized medicine using advanced neuroimaging methods in conjunction with robotics in the molecular medicine era.
Neuronal activation sequence information is essential for understanding brain functions. Extracting such timing information from blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI is confounded by interregional neurovascular differences and poorly understood relations between BOLD and electrophysiological response delays. Here, we recorded whole-head BOLD fMRI at 100 ms resolution and magnetoencephalography (MEG) during a visuomotor reaction-time task. Both methods detected the same activation sequence across five regions, from visual towards motor cortices, with linearly correlated interregional BOLD and MEG response delays. The smallest significant interregional BOLD delay was 100 ms; all delays ?400 ms were significant. Switching the order of external events reversed the sequence of BOLD activations, indicating that interregional neurovascular differences did not confound the results. This may open new avenues for using fMRI to follow rapid activation sequences in the brain.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting lower and upper motor neurons. Degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tract (CST) is a key finding in ALS cervical spinal cord autopsies. We hypothesized that in vivo ultra-high-field MRI of the cervical spinal cord can detect abnormality in the CST.
PET and MR imaging are modalities routinely used for clinical and research applications. Integrated scanners capable of acquiring PET and MR imaging data in the same session, sequentially or simultaneously, have recently become available for human use. In this article, we describe some of the technical advances that allowed the development of human PET/MR scanners; briefly discuss methodologic challenges and opportunities provided by this novel technology; and present potential oncologic, cardiac, and neuropsychiatric applications. These examples range from studies that might immediately benefit from PET/MR to more advanced applications on which future development might have an even broader impact.
Previous brain imaging studies suggest that stroke alters functional connectivity in motor execution networks. Moreover, current understanding of brain plasticity has led to new approaches in stroke rehabilitation. Recent studies showed a significant role of effective coupling of neuronal activity in the SMA (supplementary motor area) and M1 (primary motor cortex) network for motor outcome in patients after stroke. After a subcortical stroke, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during movement reveals cortical reorganization that is associated with the recovery of function. The aim of the present study was to explore connectivity alterations within the motor-related areas combining motor fMRI with a novel MR-compatible hand-induced robotic device (MR_CHIROD) training. Patients completed training at home and underwent serial MR evaluation at baseline and after 8 weeks of training. Training at home consisted of squeezing a gel exercise ball with the paretic hand at ~75% of maximum strength for 1 h/day, 3 days/week. The fMRI analysis revealed alterations in M1, SMA, PMC (premotor cortex) and Cer (cerebellum) in both stroke patients and healthy controls after the training. Findings of the present study suggest that enhancement of SMA activity could benefit M1 dysfunction in stroke survivors. These results also indicate that connectivity alterations between motor areas might assist the counterbalance of a functionally abnormal M1 in chronic stroke survivors and possibly other patients with motor dysfunction.
Deqi response, a psychophysical response characterized by a spectrum of different needling sensations, is essential for Chinese acupuncture clinical efficacy. Previous neuroimaging research works have investigated the neural correlates of an overall deqi response by summating the scores of different needling sensations. However, the roles of individual sensations in brain activity and how they interact with each other remain to be clarified. In this study, we applied fMRI to investigate the neural correlates of individual components of deqi during acupuncture on the right LV3 (Taichong) acupoint. We selected a subset of deqi responses, namely, pressure, heaviness, fullness, numbness, and tingling. Using the individual components of deqi of different subjects as covariates in the analysis of percentage change of bold signal, pressure was found to be a striking sensation, contributing to most of negative activation of a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN). The similar or opposite neural activity in the heavily overlapping regions is found to be responding to different needling sensations, including bilateral LPNN, right orbitofrontal cortex, and bilateral posterior parietal cortex. These findings provide the neuroimaging evidence of how the individual needle sensations interact in the brain, showing that the modulatory effects of different needling sensations contribute to acupuncture modulations of LPNN network.
The Editors of Israel Journal of Health Policy Research would like to thank all reviewers, both external and Editorial Board Members, who have contributed to the journal since its inception, and whose valuable support continues to be essential to the success of the journal.
This report describes a multi-receptor physiological model of the fMRI temporal response and signal magnitude evoked by drugs that elevate synaptic dopamine in basal ganglia. The model is formulated as a summation of dopamines effects at D1-like and D2-like receptor families, which produce functional excitation and inhibition, respectively, as measured by molecular indicators like adenylate cyclase or neuroimaging techniques like fMRI. Functional effects within the model are described in terms of relative changes in receptor occupancies scaled by receptor densities and neuro-vascular coupling constants. Using literature parameters, the model reconciles many discrepant observations and interpretations of pre-clinical data. Additionally, we present data showing that amphetamine stimulation produces fMRI inhibition at low doses and a biphasic response at higher doses in the basal ganglia of non-human primates (NHP), in agreement with model predictions based upon the respective levels of evoked dopamine. Because information about dopamine release is required to inform the fMRI model, we simultaneously acquired PET (11)C-raclopride data in several studies to evaluate the relationship between raclopride displacement and assumptions about dopamine release. At high levels of dopamine release, results suggest that refinements of the model will be required to consistently describe the PET and fMRI data. Overall, the remarkable success of the model in describing a wide range of preclinical fMRI data indicate that this approach will be useful for guiding the design and analysis of basic science and clinical investigations and for interpreting the functional consequences of dopaminergic stimulation in normal subjects and in populations with dopaminergic neuroadaptations.
Measurement of vessel caliber by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a valuable technique for in vivo monitoring of hemodynamic status and vascular development, especially in the brain. Here, we introduce a new paradigm in MRI termed vessel architectural imaging (VAI) that exploits an overlooked temporal shift in the magnetic resonance signal, forming the basis for vessel caliber estimation, and show how this phenomenon can reveal new information on vessel type and function not assessed by any other noninvasive imaging technique. We also show how this biomarker can provide new biological insights into the treatment of patients with cancer. As an example, we demonstrate using VAI that anti-angiogenic therapy can improve microcirculation and oxygen saturation and reduce vessel calibers in patients with recurrent glioblastomas and, more crucially, that patients with these responses have prolonged survival. Thus, VAI has the potential to identify patients who would benefit from therapies.
In vivo imaging of cerebral tissue oxygenation is important in defining healthy physiology and pathological departures associated with cerebral disease. We used a recently developed two-photon microscopy method, based on a novel phosphorescent nanoprobe, to image tissue oxygenation in the rat primary sensory cortex in response to sensory stimulation. Our measurements showed that a stimulus-evoked increase in tissue pO? depended on the baseline pO? level. In particular, during sustained stimulation, the steady-state pO? at low-baseline locations remained at the baseline, despite large pO? increases elsewhere. In contrast to the steady state, where pO? never decreased below the baseline, transient decreases occurred during the "initial dip" and "poststimulus undershoot." These results suggest that the increase in blood oxygenation during the hemodynamic response, which has been perceived as a paradox, may serve to prevent a sustained oxygenation drop at tissue locations that are remote from the vascular feeding sources.
As biomedical technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, researchers can probe ever more subtle effects with the added requirement that the investigation of small effects often requires the acquisition of large amounts of data. In biomedicine, these data are often acquired at, and later shared between, multiple sites. There are both technological and sociological hurdles to be overcome for data to be passed between researchers and later made accessible to the larger scientific community. The goal of the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) is to address the challenges inherent in biomedical data sharing.
Venous oxygen saturation (Y(v) ) in cerebral veins and the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO(2)) are important indicators for brain function and disease. Although MRI has been used for global measurements of these parameters, currently there is no recognized technique to quantify regional Y(v) and CMRO(2) using noninvasive imaging. This article proposes a technique to quantify CMRO(2) from independent MRI estimates of Y(v) and cerebral blood flow. The approach uses standard gradient-echo and arterial spin labeling acquisitions to make these measurements. Using MR susceptometry on gradient-echo phase images, Y(v) was quantified for candidate vein segments in gray matter that approximate a long cylinder parallel to the main magnetic field. Local cerebral blood flow for the identified vessel was determined from a corresponding region in the arterial spin labeling perfusion map. Ficks principle of arteriovenous difference was then used to quantify CMRO(2) locally around each vessel. Application of this method in young, healthy subjects provided gray matter averages of 59.6% ± 2.3% for Y(v), 51.7 ± 6.4 mL/100 g/min for cerebral blood flow, and 158 ± 18 ?mol/100 g/min for CMRO(2) (mean ± SD, n = 12), which is consistent with values previously reported by positron emission tomography and MRI.
In 1999 Israel began to implement a system for monitoring quality of care in its health plans. That system was based largely on a similar system in the United States that, until recently, was associated with steady improvements in performance. However, in recent years health plan quality in the United States appears to have reached a plateau. In contrast, health plans in Israel have continued to show improvements on many of the same measures. Between 2005 and 2007 they achieved a gain of 6.7 percent in nine measures of primary care quality, while US performance on these measures declined. These gains were achieved, in part, through intense cooperation among health plans and physicians. Israel is a much smaller country and differs greatly from the United States in how it finances health care. Nonetheless, we suggest that the Israeli experience could help the United States accelerate the move toward quality improvement-for example, through increased coordination among US employers, health plans, physicians, and physician groups.
Disparities in cocaine-induced neurochemical and metabolic responses between human beings and rodents motivate the use of non-human primates (NHP) to model consequences of repeated cocaine exposure in human subjects. To characterize the functional response to cocaine infusion in NHP brain, we employed contrast-enhanced fMRI during both non-contingent injection of drug and self-administration of cocaine in the magnet. Cocaine robustly decreased cerebral blood volume (CBV) throughout basal ganglia and motor/pre-motor cortex and produced subtle functional inhibition of prefrontal cortex. No brain regions exhibited significant elevation of CBV in response to cocaine challenge. Theses effects in NHP brain are opposite in sign to the cocaine-induced fMRI response in rats, but consistent with previous measurements in NHP based on glucose metabolism. Because the striatal ratio of D2 to D1 receptors is larger in human beings and NHP than rats, we hypothesize that the inhibitory effects of D2 receptor binding dominate the functional response in primates, whereas excitatory D1 receptor stimulation predominates in the rat. If the NHP accurately models the human response to cocaine, downregulation of D2 receptors in human cocaine-abusing populations can be expected to blunt cocaine-induced functional responses, contributing to the weak and variable fMRI responses reported in human basal ganglia following cocaine infusion.
MRI biomarkers of tumor edema, vascular permeability, blood volume, and average vessel caliber are increasingly being employed to assess the efficacy of tumor therapies. However, the dependence of these biomarkers on a number of physiological factors can compromise their sensitivity and complicate the assessment of therapeutic efficacy. Here we examine the response of these MRI tumor biomarkers to cediranib, a potent vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) inhibitor, in an orthotopic mouse glioma model. A significant increase in the tumor volume and relative vessel caliber index (rVCI) and a slight decrease in the water apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were observed for both control and cediranib treated animals. This contrasts with a clinical study that observed a significant decrease in tumor rVCI, ADC and volume with cediranib therapy. While the lack of a difference between control and cediranib treated animals in these biomarker responses might suggest that cediranib has no therapeutic benefit, cediranib treated mice had a significantly increased survival. The increased survival benefit of cediranib treated animals is consistent with the significant decrease observed for cediranib treated animals in the relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV), relative microvascular blood volume (rMBV), transverse relaxation time (T2), blood vessel permeability (K(trans)), and extravascular-extracellular space (?(e)). The differential response of pre-clinical and clinical tumors to cediranib therapy, along with the lack of a positive response for some biomarkers, indicates the importance of evaluating the whole spectrum of different tumor biomarkers to properly assess the therapeutic response and identify and interpret the therapy-induced changes in the tumor physiology.
Recurrent anticipation of ominous events is central to obsessions, the core symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), yet the neural basis of intrinsic anticipatory processing in OCD is unknown. We studied nonmedicated adults with OCD and case matched healthy controls in a visual-spatial working memory task with distractor. Magnetoencephalography was used to examine the medial cortex activity during anticipation of to-be-inhibited distractors and to-be-facilitated retrieval stimuli. In OCD anticipatory activation to distractors was abnormally reduced within the posterior cingulate and fusiform gyrus compared to prominent activation in controls. Conversely, OCD subjects displayed significantly increased activation to retrieval stimuli within the anterior cingulate and supplementary motor cortex. This previously unreported discordant pattern of medial anticipatory activation in OCD was accompanied by normal performance accuracy. While increased anterior cortex activation in OCD is commonly viewed as failure of inhibition, the current pattern of data implicates the operation of an anterior compensatory mechanism amending the posterior medial self-regulatory networks disrupted in OCD.
The health-care systems in the USA and Israel differ in organization, financing and expenditure levels. However, managed care organizations play an important role in both countries, and a comparison of the performance of their community-based health plans could inform policymakers about ways to improve the quality of care.
Several factors have to be considered for implementing an accurate attenuation-correction (AC) method in a combined MR-PET scanner. In this work, some of these challenges were investigated, and an AC method based entirely on the MRI data obtained with a single dedicated sequence was developed and used for neurologic studies performed with the MR-PET human brain scanner prototype.
Changes in neuronal activity are accompanied by the release of vasoactive mediators that cause microscopic dilation and constriction of the cerebral microvasculature and are manifested in macroscopic blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) signals. We used two-photon microscopy to measure the diameters of single arterioles and capillaries at different depths within the rat primary somatosensory cortex. These measurements were compared with cortical depth-resolved fMRI signal changes. Our microscopic results demonstrate a spatial gradient of dilation onset and peak times consistent with "upstream" propagation of vasodilation toward the cortical surface along the diving arterioles and "downstream" propagation into local capillary beds. The observed BOLD response exhibited the fastest onset in deep layers, and the "initial dip" was most pronounced in layer I. The present results indicate that both the onset of the BOLD response and the initial dip depend on cortical depth and can be explained, at least in part, by the spatial gradient of delays in microvascular dilation, the fastest response being in the deep layers and the most delayed response in the capillary bed of layer I.
Previous studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) have focused on abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal regions. There has been little investigation in MDD of midbrain and subcortical regions central to reward/aversion function, such as the ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra (VTA/SN), and medial forebrain bundle (MFB).
In 1998, Israels national health insurance system introduced a modest co-payment for visits to specialist physicians. This study takes advantage of a natural experiment in which 15% of the population--the poor and disabled--was exempted from these co-payments. It used the micro-level panel data of three large health plans on the physician visits of 50,000 members per plan in 1997-2001. The data indicate that, following introduction of the co-payment, specialist visits increased among non-exempt members, relative to exempt members, of two health plans that together account for two-thirds of the population. This paper illustrates how, unlike the Health Insurance Experiment and other US studies of cost sharing, the structure of the co-payment in Israel may have inadvertently limited the incentive to decrease consumer demand and may have created an incentive for the health plans to increase visit rates, especially among the non-exempt members. Other countries that have implemented co-payment systems with exemptions may benefit from the Israeli experience in designing and evaluating their systems.
Schools are a natural place from which to disseminate health messages to the community. Sending an entertaining handwashing video home with preschoolers as a component of a school-based program yielded impressive degrees of penetration and reach among families; consequently, this strategy offers a promising alternative to traditional media campaigns.
In 2005, an innovative system of hospital-community on-line medical records (OFEK) was implemented at Clalit Health Services (CHS). The goals of the study were to examine the extent of OFEKs use and its impact on quality indicators and medical-service utilization in Internal Medicine and General Surgery wards of CHS hospitals.
In 2007, Israel passed a law to extend existing restrictions on smoking in public places and to strengthen enforcement. Responsibility for ensuring smoke-free indoor public places was placed on establishment owners. Bars and pubs were included in the law for the first time. This study aimed to assess changes in air quality in popular Israeli bars, pubs and cafes after the implementation of law, and to examine changes in patron numbers, percentage of smoking patrons and venue-seating sections.
The study of the mechanism of acupuncture action was revolutionized by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Over the past decade, our fMRI studies of healthy subjects have contributed substantially to elucidating the central effect of acupuncture on the human brain. These studies have shown that acupuncture stimulation, when associated with sensations comprising deqi, evokes deactivation of a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network, which encompasses the limbic system, as well as activation of somatosensory brain regions. These networks closely match the default mode network and the anti-correlated task-positive network described in the literature. We have also shown that the effect of acupuncture on the brain is integrated at multiple levels, down to the brainstem and cerebellum. Our studies support the hypothesis that the effect of acupuncture on the brain goes beyond the effect of attention on the default mode network or the somatosensory stimulation of acupuncture needling. The amygdala and hypothalamus, in particular, show decreased activation during acupuncture stimulation that is not commonly associated with default mode network activity. At the same time, our research shows that acupuncture stimulation needs to be done carefully, limiting stimulation when the resulting sensations are very strong or when sharp pain is elicited. When acupuncture induced sharp pain, our studies show that the deactivation was attenuated or reversed in direction. Our results suggest that acupuncture mobilizes the functionally anti-correlated networks of the brain to mediate its actions, and that the effect is dependent on the psychophysical response. In this work we also discuss multiple avenues of future research, including the role of neurotransmitters, the effect of different acupuncture techniques, and the potential clinical application of our research findings to disease states including chronic pain, major depression, schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimers disease.
The vessel caliber index (VCI), a magnetic resonance imaging biomarker of the average blood vessel diameter, is increasingly being used as a tool for assessing tumor angiogenesis and response to antiangiogenic therapy. However, although the VCI has been correlated with histological vessel diameters, good quantitative agreement with histology has been lacking. In addition, no VCI validation studies have been performed in vivo where the structural deformations frequently associated with histological tissue preparation are not present. This study employs intravital optical microscopy (IVM) measurements of cerebral blood vessel diameters in a mouse orthotopic glioma model to provide the first such in vivo validation. Two VCI correlation models, both a linear and a 3/2-power dependence on the DeltaR2*/DeltaR2 ratio, were compared with the IVM data. The linear VCI model, determined from steady-state susceptibility contrast (SSC) images, was found to be in excellent quantitative agreement with the intravitally determined VCI for separate tumor size matched groups of mice. In addition, preliminary data indicate that the VCI is independent of whether a dynamic susceptibility contrast or SSC measurement method is used.
We designed phosphorothioate-modified DNA probes linked to superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) for in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of fosB and Delta fosB mRNA after amphetamine (AMPH) exposure in mice. Specificity of both the fosB and Delta fosB probes was verified by in vitro reverse transcriptase-PCR amplification to a single fragment of total cDNA obtained from acutely AMPH-exposed mouse brains. We confirmed time-dependent uptake and retention profiles of both probes in neurons of GAD67-green fluorescent protein knock-in mice. MRI signal of SPION-labeled fosB probe delivered via intracerebroventricular route was elevated in both acutely and chronically AMPH-exposed mice; the signal was suppressed by dopaminergic receptor antagonist pretreatment. SPION-labeled Delta fosB probe signal elevation occurred only in chronically AMPH-exposed mice. The in vivo target specificity of these probes permits reliable MRI visualization of AMPH-induced differential elevations of fosB and Delta fosB mRNA in living brains.
High-resolution ex vivo magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can be used to delineate prominent architectonic features in the human brain, but increased contrast is required to visualize more subtle distinctions. To aid MR sensitivity to cell density and myelination, we have begun the development of target-specific paramagnetic contrast agents. This work details the first application of luxol fast blue (LFB), an optical stain for myelin, as a white matter-selective MR contrast agent for human ex vivo brain tissue. Formalin-fixed human visual cortex was imaged with an isotropic resolution between 80 and 150 microm at 4.7 and 14 T before and after en bloc staining with LFB. Longitudinal (R1) and transverse (R2) relaxation rates in LFB-stained tissue increased proportionally with myelination at both field strengths. Changes in R1 resulted in larger contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR), per unit time, on T1-weighted images between more myelinated cortical layers (IV-VI) and adjacent, superficial layers (I-III) at both field strengths. Specifically, CNR for LFB-treated samples increased by 229 +/- 13% at 4.7 T and 269 +/- 25% at 14 T when compared to controls. Also, additional cortical layers (IVca, IVd, and Va) were resolvable in 14 T-MR images of LFB-treated samples but not in control samples. After imaging, samples were sliced in 40-micron sections, mounted, and photographed. Both the macroscopic and microscopic distributions of LFB were found to mimic those of traditional histological preparations. Our results suggest target-specific contrast agents will enable more detailed MR images with applications in imaging pathological ex vivo samples and constructing better MR atlases from ex vivo brains.
The involvement of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activities in the development of abnormal water diffusion in the brain after cardiac arrest is not fully understood. We used magnetic resonance imaging to determine the correlation between MMP-9 activity and the mechanism of abnormal water diffusion after global cerebral ischemia (GCI)-induced brain damage in C57black6 mice. We induced GCI in mice by occluding both carotid arteries for 60 min, then allowing reperfusion. We labeled a short DNA that targets mmp-9 mRNA activity [phosphorothioate-modified oligodeoxynucleotide (sODN)-mmp9] or a control probe without intracellular target (sODN-Ran) with iron-based MR contrast agent [superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION)-mmp9 or SPION-Ran] or fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-sODN-mmp9 or FITC-sODN-Ran; we then delivered these probes by intracerebroventricular infusion or intraperitoneal injection within 3 h of reperfusion. At low dose (120 pmol/kg) the SPION-mmp9 probe was retained at significant levels in the striatum and cortex of living brains 10 h after GCI. Probe retention was validated by similar elevation of mmp-9 mRNA and antigens in postmortem samples taken from regions that exhibited GCI-induced hyperintensity in diffusion-weighted imaging, and a significant reduction in apparent diffusion coefficient (rADC, p = 0.0006, n = 12). At a higher dose (120 nmol/kg), the FITC-sODN-mmp9 probe revealed significant knockdown of MMP-9 activity, per zymography, and a reversal of striatal rADC (p = 0.004, n = 6). These observations were not duplicated in the control group. We conclude that expression of mmp-9 mRNA is associated with abnormal ADC after GCI.
The concept that specific acupuncture points have salubrious effects on distant target organ systems is a salient feature of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In this study, we used a multiple-session experiment to test whether electroacupuncture stimulation at two TCM vision-related acupoints, UB 60 and GB 37, located on the leg, could produce fMRI signal changes in the occipital regions of the brain, and the specificity of this effect when compared with stimulation at an adjacent non-acupoint (NAP). Six normal, acupuncture naive subjects completed the study. Each subject participated in six identical scanning sessions. Voxelwise group analysis showed that electroacupuncture stimulation at both vision-related acupoints and the NAP produced modest, comparable fMRI signal decreases in the occipital cortex, including the bilateral cuneus, calcarine fissure and surrounding areas, lingual gyrus, and lateral occipital gyrus. Further analysis of fMRI signal changes in occipital cortex showed no significant difference among the three points, UB 60, GB 37, and NAP. Our results thus do not support the view that acupuncture stimulation at vision-related acupoints induces specific fMRI blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal changes in the occipital cortex. We speculate that cross modal inhibition, produced by needling-evoked somatosensory stimulation, may account for our finding of BOLD signal decreases in the occipital cortex. Given the complexity of acupuncture systems and brain activity, additional work is required to determine whether functional neuroanatomical correlates of acupoint specificity can be validated by means of brain imaging tools.
Previous work has shown that acupuncture stimulation evokes deactivation of a limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN) as well as activation of somatosensory brain regions. This study explores the activity and functional connectivity of these regions during acupuncture vs. tactile stimulation and vs. acupuncture associated with inadvertent sharp pain. Acupuncture during 201 scans and tactile stimulation during 74 scans for comparison at acupoints LI4, ST36 and LV3 was monitored with fMRI and psychophysical response in 48 healthy subjects. Clusters of deactivated regions in the medial prefrontal, medial parietal and medial temporal lobes as well as activated regions in the sensorimotor and a few paralimbic structures can be identified during acupuncture by general linear model analysis and seed-based cross correlation analysis. Importantly, these clusters showed virtual identity with the default mode network and the anti-correlated task-positive network in response to stimulation. In addition, the amygdala and hypothalamus, structures not routinely reported in the default mode literature, were frequently involved in acupuncture. When acupuncture induced sharp pain, the deactivation was attenuated or became activated instead. Tactile stimulation induced greater activation of the somatosensory regions but less extensive deactivation of the LPNN. These results indicate that the deactivation of the LPNN during acupuncture cannot be completely explained by the demand of attention that is commonly proposed in the default mode literature. Our results suggest that acupuncture mobilizes the anti-correlated functional networks of the brain to mediate its actions, and that the effect is dependent on the psychophysical response.
The aim of this study was to investigate functional reorganization of motor systems by probing connectivity between motor related areas in chronic stroke patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with a novel MR-compatible hand-induced, robotic device (MR_CHIROD). We evaluated data sets obtained from healthy volunteers and right-hand-dominant patients with first-ever left-sided stroke > or =6 months prior and mild to moderate hemiparesis affecting the right hand. We acquired T1-weighted echo planar and fluid attenuation inversion recovery MR images and multi-level fMRI data using parallel imaging by means of the GeneRalized Autocalibrating Partially Parallel Acquisitions (GRAPPA) algorithm on a 3 T MR system. Participants underwent fMRI while performing a motor task with the MR_CHIROD in the MR scanner. Changes in effective connectivity among a network of primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA) and cerebellum (Ce) were assessed using dynamic causal modeling. Relative to healthy controls, stroke patients exhibited decreased intrinsic neural coupling between M1 and Ce, which was consistent with a dysfunctional M1 to Ce connection. Stroke patients also showed increased SMA to M1 and SMA to cerebellum coupling, suggesting that changes in SMA and Ce connectivity may occur to compensate for a dysfunctional M1. The results demonstrate for the first time that connectivity alterations between motor areas may help counterbalance a functionally abnormal M1 in chronic stroke patients. Assessing changes in connectivity by means of fMRI and MR_CHIROD might be used in the future to further elucidate the neural network plasticity that underlies functional recovery in chronic stroke patients.
Detailed 3D mouse brain images may promote better understanding of phenotypical differences between normal and transgenic/mutant mouse models. Previously, a number of magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) studies have successfully established brain atlases, revealing genotypic traits of several commonly used mouse strains. In such studies, MR contrast agents, mainly gadolinium (Gd) based, were often used to reduce acquisition time and improve signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In this paper, we intended to extend the utility of contrast agents for MRM applications. Using Gd-DTPA and MnCl(2), we exploited the potential use of MR contrast agents to manipulate image contrast by drawing upon the multiple relaxation mechanisms and tissue-dependent staining properties characteristic of each contrast agent. We quantified r(1) and r(2) of Gd-DTPA and MnCl(2) in both aqueous solution and brain tissue and demonstrated the presence of divergent relaxation mechanisms between solution and tissue for each contrast agent. Further analyses using nuclear magnetic resonance dispersion (NMRD) of Mn(2+) in ex vivo tissue strongly suggested macromolecule binding of Mn(2+), leading to increased T(1) relaxation. Moreover, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectroscopy revealed that MnCl(2) had higher tissue affinity than Gd-DTPA. As a result, multiple regions of the brain stained by the two agents exhibited different image contrasts. Our results show that differential MRM staining can be achieved using multiple MR contrast agents, revealing detailed cytoarchitecture, and may ultimately offer a window for investigating new techniques by which to understand biophysical MR relaxation mechanisms and perhaps to visualize tissue anomalies even at the molecular level.
Entorhinal cortex (EC) is a medial temporal lobe area critical to memory formation and spatial navigation that is among the earliest parts of the brain affected by Alzheimers disease (AD). Accurate localization of EC would thus greatly facilitate early detection and diagnosis of AD. In this study, we used ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI to directly visualize the architectonic features that define EC rostrocaudally and mediolaterally, then applied surface-based registration techniques to quantify the variability of EC with respect to cortical geometry, and made predictions of its location on in vivo scans. The results indicate that EC can be localized quite accurately based on cortical folding patterns, within 3 mm in vivo, a significant step forward in our ability to detect the earliest effects of AD when clinical intervention is most likely to be effective.
Recent advances in placebo research have demonstrated the minds power to alter physiology. In this study, we combined an expectancy manipulation model with both verum and sham acupuncture treatments to address: 1) how and to what extent treatment and expectancy effects - including both subjective pain intensity levels (pain sensory ratings) and objective physiological activations (fMRI) - interact; and 2) if the underlying mechanism of expectancy remains the same whether placebo treatment is given alone or in conjunction with active treatment. The results indicate that although verum acupuncture+high expectation and sham acupuncture+high expectation induced subjective reports of analgesia of equal magnitude, fMRI analysis showed that verum acupuncture produced greater fMRI signal decrease in pain related brain regions during application of calibrated heat pain stimuli on the right arm. We believe our study provides brain imaging evidence for the existence of different mechanisms underlying acupuncture analgesia and expectancy evoked placebo analgesia. Our results also suggest that the brain network involved in expectancy may vary under different treatment situations (verum and sham acupuncture treatment).
It is well established that expectation can significantly modulate pain perception. In this study, we combined an expectancy manipulation model and fMRI to investigate how expectation can modulate acupuncture treatment. Forty-eight subjects completed the study. The analysis on two verum acupuncture groups with different expectancy levels indicates that expectancy can significantly influence acupuncture analgesia for experimental pain. Conditioning positive expectation can amplify acupuncture analgesia as detected by subjective pain sensory rating changes and objective fMRI signal changes in response to calibrated noxious stimuli. Diminished positive expectation appeared to inhibit acupuncture analgesia. This modulation effect is spatially specific, inducing analgesia exclusively in regions of the body where expectation is focused. Thus, expectation should be used as an important covariate in future studies evaluating acupuncture efficacy. In addition, we also observed dissociation between subjective reported analgesia and objective fMRI signal changes to calibrated pain in the analysis across all four groups. We hypothesize that as a peripheral-central modulation, acupuncture needle stimulation may inhibit incoming noxious stimuli; while as a top-down modulation, expectancy (placebo) may work through the emotional circuit.
The experience of pain can be significantly influenced by expectancy (predictive cues). This ability to modulate pain has the potential to affect therapeutic analgesia substantially and constitutes a foundation for nonpharmacological pain relief. In this study, we investigated (1) brain regions involved in visual cue modulation of pain during anticipation of pain, pain administration, and pain rating; and (2) the association between pretest resting state functional connectivity and the magnitude of cue effects on pain ratings. We found that after cue conditioning, visual cues can significantly modulate subjective pain ratings. Functional magnetic resonance imaging results suggested that brain regions pertaining to the frontoparietal network (prefrontal and parietal cortex) and a pain/emotion modulatory region (rostral anterior cingulate cortex) are involved in cue modulation during both pain anticipation and administration stage. Most interestingly, we found that pretest resting state functional connectivity between the frontoparietal network (as identified by independent component analysis) and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex/medial prefrontal cortex was positively associated with cue effects on pain rating changes. We believe that these findings will shed new light on our understanding of variable cue/expectancy effects across individuals and how the intrinsic connectivity of the brain may influence expectancy-induced modulation of pain.
The Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) seeks to promote intensive intellectual interactions among scholars and practitioners from Israel and other countries regarding all aspects of health policy and health care, with a special focus on Israel. During 2012, its first year of operation, the journal succeeded in publishing an impressive volume of policy-relevant articles by a remarkably diverse set of authors. The journals success to date would not have been possible without the vital contributions of the editorial board, the authors, the reviewers, the readers, BioMed Central (the journals publisher), and the Israel National Institute for Health Policy (the journals sponsor). The challenges ahead include promoting greater reader involvement, and enhancing the journals policy and educational impact.
Itch is an aversive sensory experience and while systemic therapies, such as acupuncture, have shown promise in alleviating itch in patients suffering from chronic itch, their antipruritic mechanisms are unknown. As several lines of evidence implicate brain-focused mechanisms, we applied functional magnetic resonance imaging and our validated temperature-modulation itch model to evaluate the underlying brain circuitry supporting allergen-induced itch reduction in atopic dermatitis patients by acupuncture, antihistamine, and respective placebo treatments. Brain response to allergen itch demonstrated phase dependency. During an increasing itch phase, activation was localized in anterior insula and striatum, regions associated with salience/interoception and motivation processing. Once itch reached peak plateau, robust activation was noted in prefrontal cognitive and premotor areas. Acupuncture reduced itch and itch-evoked activation in the insula, putamen, and premotor and prefrontal cortical areas. Neither itch sensation nor itch-evoked brain response was altered following antihistamine or placebo acupuncture. Greater itch reduction following acupuncture was associated with greater reduction in putamen response, a region implicated in motivation and habitual behavior underlying the urge to scratch, specifically implicating this region in acupunctures antipruritic effects. Understanding brain circuitry underlying itch reduction following acupuncture and related neuromodulatory therapies will significantly impact the development and applicability of novel therapies to reduce an itch.
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