About

The Laboratory of Mathematics in Imaging (LMI) is focused on the application of mathematical theory, analysis, modeling, and signal processing to medical imaging. Research projects within the group cover both novel theoretical contributions and translational clinical efforts. The research team combine strengths in computer science and mathematics with radiology, neuroscience, and novel MRI sequence developmentLearn more

Recent Publications

The Association of Lung Function and Pulmonary Vasculature Volume With Cardiorespiratory Fitness in the Community

McNeill J, Chernofsky A, Nayor M, Rahaghi FN, Estepar RSJ, Washko G, Synn A, Vasan RS, O'Connor G, Larson MG, et al. The Association of Lung Function and Pulmonary Vasculature Volume With Cardiorespiratory Fitness in the Community. Eur Respir J. 2022.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Cardiorespiratory fitness is not limited by pulmonary mechanical reasons in the majority of adults. However, the degree to which lung function contributes to exercise response patterns among ostensibly healthy individuals remains unclear. METHODS: We examined 2314 Framingham Heart Study participants who underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and pulmonary function testing. We investigated the association of FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC and DLCO with the primary outcome of peak VO2, along with other CPET parameters using multivariable linear regression. Finally, we investigated the association of total and peripheral pulmonary blood vessel volume with peak VO2. RESULTS: We found lower FEV1, FVC and DLCO were associated with lower peak VO2. For example, a one-liter lower FEV1 and FVC were associated with 7.1% (95% CI: 5.1%, 9.1%) and 6.0% (95% CI: 4.3%, 7.7%) lower peak VO2, respectively. By contrast, FEV1/FVC ratio was not associated with peak VO2. Lower lung function was associated with lower oxygen uptake efficiency slope oxygen pulse slope, VO2 at AT, VE at AT and breathing reserve. In addition, lower total and peripheral pulmonary blood vessel volume were associated with a lower peak VO2. CONCLUSION: In a large, community-based cohort of adults, we found lower FEV1, FVC and DLCO were associated with lower exercise capacity, as well as oxygen uptake efficiency slope and ventilatory efficiency. In addition, lower total and peripheral pulmonary blood vessel volume were associated with lower peak VO2. These findings underscore the importance of lung function and blood vessel volume as contributors to overall exercise capacity.
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The Effects of Peripheral Inflammation on the Brain-A Neuroimaging Perspective

Millett CE, Burdick KE, Kubicki MR. The Effects of Peripheral Inflammation on the Brain-A Neuroimaging Perspective. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2022;30 (1) :54-58.Abstract
ABSTRACT: In the field of neuropsychiatry, neuroinflammation is one of the prevailing hypotheses to explain the pathophysiology of mood and psychotic disorders. Neuroinflammation encompasses an ill-defined set of pathophysiological processes in the central nervous system that cause neuronal or glial atrophy or death and disruptions in neurotransmitter signaling, resulting in cognitive and behavioral changes. Positron emission tomography for the brain-based translocator protein has been shown to be a useful tool to measure glial activation in neuropsychiatric disorders. Recent neuroimaging studies also indicate a potential disruption in the choroid plexus and blood-brain barrier, which modulate the transfer of ions, molecules, toxins, and cells from the periphery into the brain. Simultaneously, peripheral inflammatory markers have consistently been shown to be altered in mood and psychotic disorders. The crosstalk (i.e., the communication between peripheral and central inflammatory pathways) is not well understood in these disorders, however, and neuroimaging studies hold promise to shed light on this complex process. In the current Perspectives article, we discuss the neuroimaging insights into neuroimmune crosstalk offered in selected works. Overall, evidence exists for peripheral immune cell infiltration into the central nervous system in some patients, but the reason for this is unknown. Future neuroimaging studies should aim to extend our knowledge of this system and the role it likely plays in symptom onset and recurrence.
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Clinically Significant and Comorbid Anxiety and Depression Symptoms Predict Severe Respiratory Exacerbations in Smokers: A Analysis of the COPDGene and SPIROMICS Cohorts

Iyer AS, Parekh TM, O'Toole J, Bhatt SP, Eakin MN, Krishnan JA, Yohannes AM, Woodruff PG, Cooper CB, Kanner RE, et al. Clinically Significant and Comorbid Anxiety and Depression Symptoms Predict Severe Respiratory Exacerbations in Smokers: A Analysis of the COPDGene and SPIROMICS Cohorts. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2022;19 (1) :143-6.Read more

White Matter Association Tracts Underlying Language and Theory of Mind: An Investigation of 809 Brains from the Human Connectome Project

Zekelman LR, Zhang F, Makris N, He J, Chen Y, Xue T, Liera D, Drane DL, Rathi Y, Golby AJ, et al. White Matter Association Tracts Underlying Language and Theory of Mind: An Investigation of 809 Brains from the Human Connectome Project. Neuroimage. 2022;246 :118739.Abstract
Language and theory of mind (ToM) are the cognitive capacities that allow for the successful interpretation and expression of meaning. While functional MRI investigations are able to consistently localize language and ToM to specific cortical regions, diffusion MRI investigations point to an inconsistent and sometimes overlapping set of white matter tracts associated with these two cognitive domains. To further examine the white matter tracts that may underlie these domains, we use a two-tensor tractography method to investigate the white matter microstructure of 809 participants from the Human Connectome Project. 20 association white matter tracts (10 in each hemisphere) are uniquely identified by leveraging a neuroanatomist-curated automated white matter tract atlas. The mean fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and number of streamlines (NoS) are measured for each white matter tract. Performance on neuropsychological assessments of semantic memory (NIH Toolbox Picture Vocabulary Test, TPVT) and emotion perception (Penn Emotion Recognition Test, PERT) are used to measure critical subcomponents of the language and ToM networks, respectively. Regression models are constructed to examine how structural measurements of left and right white matter tracts influence performance across these two assessments. We find that semantic memory performance is influenced by the number of streamlines of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus III (SLF-III), and emotion perception performance is influenced by the number of streamlines of the right SLF-III. Additionally, we find that performance on both semantic memory & emotion perception is influenced by the FA of the left arcuate fasciculus (AF). The results point to multiple, overlapping white matter tracts that underlie the cognitive domains of language and ToM. Results are discussed in terms of hemispheric dominance and concordance with prior investigations.
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Association Between Antemortem FLAIR White Matter Hyperintensities and Neuropathology in Brain Donors Exposed to Repetitive Head Impacts

Uretsky M, Bouix S, Killiany RJ, Tripodis Y, Martin B, Palmisano J, Mian AZ, Buch K, Farris C, Daneshvar DH, et al. Association Between Antemortem FLAIR White Matter Hyperintensities and Neuropathology in Brain Donors Exposed to Repetitive Head Impacts. Neurology. 2022;98 (1) :e27-e39.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Late neuropathologies of repetitive head impacts from contact sports can include chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and white matter degeneration. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) on fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI scans are often viewed as microvascular disease from vascular risk, but might have unique underlying pathologies and risk factors in the setting of repetitive head impacts. We investigated the neuropathological correlates of antemortem WMH in brain donors exposed to repetitive head impacts. The association between WMH, and repetitive head impact exposure and informant-reported cognitive and daily function were tested. METHODS: This imaging-pathological correlation study included symptomatic deceased men exposed to repetitive head impacts. Donors had antemortem FLAIR scans from medical records and were without evidence of CNS neoplasm, large vessel infarcts, hemorrhage, and/or encephalomalacia. WMH were quantified using log-transformed values for total lesion volume (TLV), calculated using the lesion prediction algorithm from the Lesion Segmentation Toolbox. Neuropathological assessments included semi-quantitative ratings of white matter rarefaction, cerebrovascular disease, p-tau severity (CTE stage, dorsolateral frontal cortex), and Aβ. Among football players, years of play was a proxy for repetitive head impact exposure. Retrospective informant-reported cognitive and daily function were assessed using the Cognitive Difficulties Scale (CDS) and Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ). Regression models controlled for demographics, diabetes, hypertension, and MRI resolution. Statistical significance was defined as p<0.05. RESULTS: The sample included 75 donors: 67 football players and 8 non-football contact sport athletes and/or military veterans. Dementia was the most common MRI indication (64%). Fifty-three (70.7%) had CTE at autopsy. Log-TLV was associated with white matter rarefaction (OR=2.32, 95% CI=1.03,5.24, p=0.04), arteriolosclerosis (OR=2.38, 95% CI=1.02,5.52, p=0.04), CTE stage (OR=2.58, 95% CI=1.17,5.71, p=0.02), and dorsolateral frontal p-tau severity (OR=3.03, 95% CI=1.32,6.97, p=0.01). There was no association with Aβ. More years of football play was associated with log-TLV (b=0.04, 95% CI=0.01,0.06, p=0.01). Greater log-TLV correlated with higher FAQ (unstandardized beta=4.94, 95% CI=0.42,8.57, p=0.03) and CDS scores (unstandardized beta=15.35, 95% CI=-0.27,30.97, p=0.05). DISCUSSION: WMH might capture long-term white matter pathologies from repetitive head impacts, including those from white matter rarefaction and p-tau, in addition to microvascular disease. Prospective imaging-pathological correlation studies are needed. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class IV evidence of associations between FLAIR white matter hyperintensities, and neuropathological changes (white matter rarefaction, arteriolosclerosis, p-tau accumulation), years of American football play, and reported cognitive symptoms in symptomatic brain donors exposed to repetitive head impacts.
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The association of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) with hippocampal volume in schizophrenia: a preliminary MRI study

Seitz-Holland J, Seethaler M, Makris N, Rushmore J, Cho K-IK, Rizzoni E, Vangel M, Sahin OS, Heller C, Pasternak O, et al. The association of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) with hippocampal volume in schizophrenia: a preliminary MRI study. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022;47 (2) :524-30.Abstract
Matrix metalloproteinases 9 (MMP9) are enzymes involved in regulating neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. This, combined with evidence for disrupted hippocampal structure and function in schizophrenia, has prompted our current investigation into the relationship between MMP9 and hippocampal volumes in schizophrenia. 34 healthy individuals (mean age = 32.50, male = 21, female = 13) and 30 subjects with schizophrenia (mean age = 33.07, male = 19, female = 11) underwent a blood draw and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. The hippocampus was automatically segmented utilizing FreeSurfer. MMP9 plasma levels were measured with ELISA. ANCOVAs were conducted to compare MMP9 plasma levels (corrected for age and sex) and hippocampal volumes between groups (corrected for age, sex, total intracranial volume). Spearman correlations were utilized to investigate the relationship between symptoms, medication, duration of illness, number of episodes, and MMP9 plasma levels in patients. Last, we explored the correlation between MMP9 levels and hippocampal volumes in patients and healthy individuals separately. Patients displayed higher MMP9 plasma levels than healthy individuals (F(1, 60) = 21.19, p < 0.0001). MMP9 levels correlated with negative symptoms in patients (R = 0.39, p = 0.035), but not with medication, duration of illness, or the number of episodes. Further, patients had smaller left (F(1,59) = 9.12, p = 0.0040) and right (F(1,59) = 6.49, p = 0.013) hippocampal volumes. Finally, left (R = -0.39, p = 0.034) and right (R = -0.37, p = 0.046) hippocampal volumes correlated negatively with MMP9 plasma levels in patients. We observe higher MMP9 plasma levels in SCZ, associated with lower hippocampal volumes, suggesting involvement of MMP9 in the pathology of SCZ. Future studies are needed to investigate how MMP9 influences the pathology of SCZ over the lifespan, whether the observed associations are specific for schizophrenia, and if a therapeutic modulation of MMP9 promotes neuroprotective effects in SCZ.
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