BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) provides preoperative maps of neurosurgical patients' white matter tracts, but these maps suffer from echo-planar imaging (EPI) distortions caused by magnetic field inhomogeneities. In clinical neurosurgical planning, these distortions are generally not corrected and thus contribute to the uncertainty of fiber tracking. Multiple image processing pipelines have been proposed for image-registration-based EPI distortion correction in healthy subjects. In this article, we perform the first comparison of such pipelines in neurosurgical patient data.
METHODS: Five pipelines were tested in a retrospective clinical dMRI dataset of 9 patients with brain tumors. Pipelines differed in the choice of fixed and moving images and the similarity metric for image registration. Distortions were measured in two important tracts for neurosurgery, the arcuate fasciculus and corticospinal tracts.
RESULTS: Significant differences in distortion estimates were found across processing pipelines. The most successful pipeline used dMRI baseline and T2-weighted images as inputs for distortion correction. This pipeline gave the most consistent distortion estimates across image resolutions and brain hemispheres.
CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative results of mean tract distortions on the order of 1-2 mm are in line with other recent studies, supporting the potential need for distortion correction in neurosurgical planning. Novel results include significantly higher distortion estimates in the tumor hemisphere and greater effect of image resolution choice on results in the tumor hemisphere. Overall, this study demonstrates possible pitfalls and indicates that care should be taken when implementing EPI distortion correction in clinical settings.
BACKGROUND: Links between dissociation and functional neurological disorder (FND)/conversion disorder are well-established, yet the pathophysiology of dissociation remains poorly understood. This MRI study investigated structural alterations associated with somatoform and psychological dissociation in FND. We hypothesized that multimodal, paralimbic cingulo-insular regions would relate to the severity of somatoform dissociation in patients with FND. METHODS: FreeSurfer cortical thickness and subcortical volumetric analyses were performed in 26 patients with motor FND and 27 matched healthy controls. Patients with high dissociation as measured by the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire-20 (SDQ) or Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) were compared to controls in stratified analyses. Within-group analyses were also performed with SDQ and DES scores in patients with FND. All cortical thickness analyses were whole-brain corrected at the cluster-wise level. RESULTS: Patients with FND and high somatoform dissociation (SDQ > 35) showed reduced left caudal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) cortical thickness compared to controls. In within-group analyses, SDQ scores inversely correlated with left caudal ACC cortical thickness in patients with FND. Depersonalization/derealization scores positively correlated with right lateral occipital cortical thickness. Both within-group findings remained statistically significant controlling for trait anxiety/depression, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, adverse life events, and motor FND subtypes in post-hoc analyses. CONCLUSION: Using complementary between-group and within-group analyses, an inverse association between somatoform dissociation and left caudal ACC cortical thickness was observed in patients with FND. A positive relationship was also appreciated between depersonalization/derealization severity and cortical thickness in visual association areas. These findings advance our neuropathobiological understanding of dissociation in FND.
RATIONALE: Deep learning is a powerful tool that may allow for improved outcome prediction.
OBJECTIVES: To determine if deep learning, specifically convolutional neural network (CNN) analysis, could detect and stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and predict acute respiratory disease (ARD) events and mortality in smokers.
METHODS: A CNN was trained using computed tomography scans from 7,983 COPDGene participants and evaluated using 1,000 nonoverlapping COPDGene participants and 1,672 ECLIPSE participants. Logistic regression (C statistic and the Hosmer-Lemeshow test) was used to assess COPD diagnosis and ARD prediction. Cox regression (C index and the Greenwood-Nam-D'Agnostino test) was used to assess mortality.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In COPDGene, the C statistic for the detection of COPD was 0.856. A total of 51.1% of participants in COPDGene were accurately staged and 74.95% were within one stage. In ECLIPSE, 29.4% were accurately staged and 74.6% were within one stage. In COPDGene and ECLIPSE, the C statistics for ARD events were 0.64 and 0.55, respectively, and the Hosmer-Lemeshow P values were 0.502 and 0.380, respectively, suggesting no evidence of poor calibration. In COPDGene and ECLIPSE, CNN predicted mortality with fair discrimination (C indices, 0.72 and 0.60, respectively), and without evidence of poor calibration (Greenwood-Nam-D'Agnostino P values, 0.307 and 0.331, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: A deep-learning approach that uses only computed tomography imaging data can identify those smokers who have COPD and predict who are most likely to have ARD events and those with the highest mortality. At a population level CNN analysis may be a powerful tool for risk assessment.
PURPOSE: To develop an efficient acquisition for high-resolution diffusion imaging and allow in vivo whole-brain acquisitions at 600- to 700-μm isotropic resolution. METHODS: We combine blipped-controlled aliasing in parallel imaging simultaneous multislice (SMS) with a novel slab radiofrequency (RF) encoding gSlider (generalized slice-dithered enhanced resolution) to form a signal-to-noise ratio-efficient volumetric simultaneous multislab acquisition. Here, multiple thin slabs are acquired simultaneously with controlled aliasing, and unaliased with parallel imaging. To achieve high resolution in the slice direction, the slab is volumetrically encoded using RF encoding with a scheme similar to Hadamard encoding. However, with gSlider, the RF-encoding bases are specifically designed to be highly independent and provide high image signal-to-noise ratio in each slab acquisition to enable self-navigation of the diffusion's phase corruption. Finally, the method is combined with zoomed imaging (while retaining whole-brain coverage) to facilitate low-distortion single-shot in-plane encoding with echo-planar imaging at high resolution. RESULTS: A 10-slices-per-shot gSlider-SMS acquisition was used to acquire whole-brain data at 660 and 760 μm isotropic resolution with b-values of 1500 and 1800 s/mm2 , respectively. Data were acquired on the Connectome 3 Tesla scanner with 64-channel head coil. High-quality data with excellent contrast were achieved at these resolutions, which enable the visualization of fine-scale structures. CONCLUSIONS: The gSlider-SMS approach provides a new, efficient way to acquire high-resolution diffusion data.
BACKGROUND: Emphysema has considerable variability in its regional distribution. Craniocaudal emphysema distribution is an important predictor of the response to lung volume reduction. However, there is little consensus regarding how to define upper lobe-predominant and lower lobe-predominant emphysema subtypes. Consequently, the clinical and genetic associations with these subtypes are poorly characterized.
METHODS: We sought to identify subgroups characterized by upper-lobe or lower-lobe emphysema predominance and comparable amounts of total emphysema by analyzing data from 9,210 smokers without alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency in the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) cohort. CT densitometric emphysema was measured in each lung lobe. Random forest clustering was applied to lobar emphysema variables after regressing out the effects of total emphysema. Clusters were tested for association with clinical and imaging outcomes at baseline and at 5-year follow-up. Their associations with genetic variants were also compared.
RESULTS: Three clusters were identified: minimal emphysema (n = 1,312), upper lobe-predominant emphysema (n = 905), and lower lobe-predominant emphysema (n = 796). Despite a similar amount of total emphysema, the lower-lobe group had more severe airflow obstruction at baseline and higher rates of metabolic syndrome compared with subjects with upper-lobe predominance. The group with upper-lobe predominance had greater 5-year progression of emphysema, gas trapping, and dyspnea. Differential associations with known COPD genetic risk variants were noted.
CONCLUSIONS: Subgroups of smokers defined by upper-lobe or lower-lobe emphysema predominance exhibit different functional and radiological disease progression rates, and the upper-lobe predominant subtype shows evidence of association with known COPD genetic risk variants. These subgroups may be useful in the development of personalized treatments for COPD.
BACKGROUND: During the 2015/16 influenza season in Europe, the co-circulating influenza viruses were A(H1N1)pdm09 and B/Victoria, which was antigenically distinct from the B/Yamagata component in the trivalent influenza vaccine. METHODS: We used the test negative design in a multicentre case-control study in twelve European countries to measure 2015/16 influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) against medically-attended influenza-like illness (ILI) laboratory-confirmed as influenza. General practitioners swabbed a systematic sample of consulting ILI patients and a random sample of influenza positive swabs were sequenced. We calculated adjusted VE against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H1N1)pdm09 genetic group 6B.1 and influenza B overall and by age group. RESULTS: We included 11,430 ILI patients, of which 2272 were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 2901 were influenza B cases. Overall VE against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was 32.9% (95% CI: 15.5-46.7). Among those aged 0-14, 15-64 and ≥65 years VE against A(H1N1)pdm09 was 31.9% (95% CI: -32.3-65.0), 41.4% (95%CI: 20.5-56.7) and 13.2% (95% CI: -38.0-45.3) respectively. Overall VE against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 genetic group 6B.1 was 32.8% (95%CI: -4.1-56.7). Among those aged 0-14, 15-64 and ≥65 years VE against influenza B was -47.6% (95%CI: -124.9-3.1), 27.3% (95%CI: -4.6-49.4), and 9.3% (95%CI: -44.1-42.9) respectively. CONCLUSIONS: VE against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and its genetic group 6B.1 was moderate in children and adults, and low among individuals ≥65 years. VE against influenza B was low and heterogeneous among age groups. More information on effects of previous vaccination and previous infection are needed to understand the VE results against influenza B in the context of a mismatched vaccine. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Computed tomography (CT) is a widely used imaging modality for screening and diagnosis. However, the deleterious effects of radiation exposure inherent in CT imaging require the development of image reconstruction methods which can reduce exposure levels. The development of iterative reconstruction techniques is now enabling the acquisition of low-dose CT images whose quality is comparable to that of CT images acquired with much higher radiation dosages. However, the characterization and calibration of the CT signal due to changes in dosage and reconstruction approaches is crucial to provide clinically relevant data. Although CT scanners are calibrated as part of the imaging workflow, the calibration is limited to select global reference values and does not consider other inherent factors of the acquisition that depend on the subject scanned (e.g. photon starvation, partial volume effect, beam hardening) and result in a non-stationary noise response. In this work, we analyze the effect of reconstruction biases caused by non-stationary noise and propose an autocalibration methodology to compensate it. Our contributions are: 1) the derivation of a functional relationship between observed bias and non-stationary noise, 2) a robust and accurate method to estimate the local variance, 3) an autocalibration methodology that does not necessarily rely on a calibration phantom, attenuates the bias caused by noise and removes the systematic bias observed in devices from different vendors. The validation of the proposed methodology was performed with a physical phantom and clinical CT scans acquired with different configurations (kernels, doses, algorithms including iterative reconstruction). The results confirmed the suitability of the proposed methods for removing the intra-device and inter-device reconstruction biases.
Tractography based on non-invasive diffusion imaging is central to the study of human brain connectivity. To date, the approach has not been systematically validated in ground truth studies. Based on a simulated human brain data set with ground truth tracts, we organized an open international tractography challenge, which resulted in 96 distinct submissions from 20 research groups. Here, we report the encouraging finding that most state-of-the-art algorithms produce tractograms containing 90% of the ground truth bundles (to at least some extent). However, the same tractograms contain many more invalid than valid bundles, and half of these invalid bundles occur systematically across research groups. Taken together, our results demonstrate and confirm fundamental ambiguities inherent in tract reconstruction based on orientation information alone, which need to be considered when interpreting tractography and connectivity results. Our approach provides a novel framework for estimating reliability of tractography and encourages innovation to address its current limitations.
Low fat-free mass index (FFMI) is an independent risk factor for mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) not typically measured during routine care. In the present study, we aimed to derive fat-free mass from the pectoralis muscle area (FFMPMA) and assess whether low FFMIPMA is associated with all-cause mortality in COPD cases. We used data from two independent COPD cohorts, ECLIPSE and COPDGene.Two equal sized groups of COPD cases (n=759) from the ECLIPSE study were used to derive and validate an equation to calculate the FFMPMA measured using bioelectrical impedance from PMA. We then applied the equation in COPD cases (n=3121) from the COPDGene cohort, and assessed survival. Low FFMIPMA was defined, using the Schols classification (FFMI <16 in men, FFMI <15 in women) and the fifth percentile normative values of FFMI from the UK Biobank.The final regression model included PMA, weight, sex and height, and had an adjusted R2 of 0.92 with fat-free mass (FFM) as the outcome. In the test group, the correlation between FFMPMA and FFM remained high (Pearson correlation=0.97). In COPDGene, COPD cases with a low FFMIPMA had an increased risk of death (HR 1.6, p<0.001).We demonstrated COPD cases with a low FFMIPMA have an increased risk of death.
Schizophrenia is characterized by deficits in gesturing that is important for nonverbal communication. Research in healthy participants and brain-damaged patients revealed a left-lateralized fronto-parieto-temporal network underlying gesture performance. First evidence from structural imaging studies in schizophrenia corroborates these results. However, as of yet, it is unclear if cortical thickness abnormalities contribute to impairments in gesture performance. We hypothesized that patients with deficits in gesture production show cortical thinning in 12 regions of interest (ROIs) of a gesture network relevant for gesture performance and recognition. Forty patients with schizophrenia and 41 healthy controls performed hand and finger gestures as either imitation or pantomime. Group differences in cortical thickness between patients with deficits, patients without deficits, and controls were explored using a multivariate analysis of covariance. In addition, the relationship between gesture recognition and cortical thickness was investigated. Patients with deficits in gesture production had reduced cortical thickness in eight ROIs, including the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior and inferior parietal lobes, and the superior and middle temporal gyri. Gesture recognition correlated with cortical thickness in fewer, but mainly the same, ROIs within the patient sample. In conclusion, our results show that impaired gesture production and recognition in schizophrenia is associated with cortical thinning in distinct areas of the gesture network.
This article gives an overview of microstructure imaging of the brain with diffusion MRI and reviews the state of the art. The microstructure-imaging paradigm aims to estimate and map microscopic properties of tissue using a model that links these properties to the voxel scale MR signal. Imaging techniques of this type are just starting to make the transition from the technical research domain to wide application in biomedical studies. We focus here on the practicalities of both implementing such techniques and using them in applications. Specifically, the article summarizes the relevant aspects of brain microanatomy and the range of diffusion-weighted MR measurements that provide sensitivity to them. It then reviews the evolution of mathematical and computational models that relate the diffusion MR signal to brain tissue microstructure, as well as the expanding areas of application. Next we focus on practicalities of designing a working microstructure imaging technique: model selection, experiment design, parameter estimation, validation, and the pipeline of development of this class of technique. The article concludes with some future perspectives on opportunities in this topic and expectations on how the field will evolve in the short-to-medium term.
OBJECTIVES: Bipolar disorder (BP) is a debilitating psychiatric disease that is not well understood. Previous diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) studies of BP patients found prominent microstructural white matter (WM) abnormalities of reduced fractional anisotropy (FA). Because FA is a nonspecific measure, relating these abnormalities to a specific pathology is difficult. Here, dMRI specificity was increased by free water (FW) imaging, which allows identification of changes in extracellular space (FW) from neuronal tissue (fractional anisotropy of tissue [FA-t]). Previous studies identified increased FW in early schizophrenia (SZ) stages which was replaced by widespread decreased FA-t in chronic stages. This is the first analysis utilizing this method to compare BP patients and controls.
METHODS: 3 Tesla diffusion weighted imaging (3T DWI) data were acquired for 17 chronic BP and 28 healthy control (HC) participants at Oxford University. Tract-based spatial statistics was utilized to generate a WM skeleton. FW imaging deconstructed the diffusion signal into extracellular FW and tissue FA-t maps. These maps were projected onto the skeleton and FA, FA-t, and FW were compared between groups.
RESULTS: We found significantly lower FA in BP patients when compared to HC in areas that overlapped with extensive FW increases. There were no FA-t differences.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that chronic BP shows similar WM changes to early SZ, suggesting that extracellular FW increases could be a transient indication of recent psychotic episodes. Since FW increase in SZ has been suggested to be related to neuroinflammation, we theorize that neuroinflammation might be a shared pathology between chronic BP and early SZ.
Compound exocytosis is considered the most massive mode of exocytosis, during which the membranes of secretory granules (SGs) fuse with each other to form a channel through which the entire contents of their granules is released. The underlying mechanisms of compound exocytosis remain largely unresolved. Here we show that the small GTPase Rab5, a known regulator of endocytosis, is pivotal for compound exocytosis in mast cells. Silencing of Rab5 shifts receptor-triggered secretion from a compound to a full exocytosis mode, in which SGs individually fuse with the plasma membrane. Moreover, we show that Rab5 is essential for FcεRI-triggered association of the SNARE protein SNAP23 with the SGs. Direct evidence is provided for SNAP23 involvement in homotypic SG fusion that occurs in the activated cells. Finally, we show that this fusion event is prevented by inhibition of the IKKβ2 kinase, however, neither a phosphorylation-deficient nor a phosphomimetic mutant of SNAP23 can mediate homotypic SG fusion in triggered cells. Taken together our findings identify Rab5 as a heretofore-unrecognized regulator of compound exocytosis that is essential for SNAP23-mediated granule-granule fusion. Our results also implicate phosphorylation cycles in controlling SNAP23 SNARE function in homotypic SG fusion.
Objective: Repetitive subconcussive head impacts (RSHI) may lead to structural, functional, and metabolic alterations of the brain. While differences between males and females have already been suggested following a concussion, whether there are sex differences following exposure to RSHI remains unknown. The aim of this study was to identify and to characterize sex differences following exposure to RSHI. Methods: Twenty-five collegiate ice hockey players (14 males and 11 females, 20.6 ± 2.0 years), all part of the Hockey Concussion Education Project (HCEP), underwent diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) before and after the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) ice hockey season 2011-2012 and did not experience a concussion during the season. Whole-brain tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were used to compare pre- and postseason imaging in both sexes for fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD). Pre- and postseason neurocognitive performance were assessed by the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT). Results: Significant differences between the sexes were primarily located within the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), the internal capsule (IC), and the corona radiata (CR) of the right hemisphere (RH). In significant voxel clusters (p < 0.05), decreases in FA (absolute difference pre- vs. postseason: 0.0268) and increases in MD (0.0002), AD (0.00008), and RD (0.00005) were observed in females whereas males showed no significant changes. There was no significant correlation between the change in diffusion scalar measures over the course of the season and neurocognitive performance as evidenced from postseason ImPACT scores. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest sex differences in structural alterations following exposure to RSHI. Future studies need to investigate further the underlying mechanisms and association with exposure and clinical outcomes.
Hydration is a key aspect of the skin that influences its physical and mechanical properties. Here, we investigate the interplay between molecular and macroscopic properties of the outer skin layer - the stratum corneum (SC) and how this varies with hydration. It is shown that hydration leads to changes in the molecular arrangement of the peptides in the keratin filaments as well as dynamics of C-H bond reorientation of amino acids in the protruding terminals of keratin protein within the SC. The changes in molecular structure and dynamics occur at a threshold hydration corresponding to ca. 85% relative humidity (RH). The abrupt changes in SC molecular properties coincide with changes in SC macroscopic swelling properties as well as mechanical properties in the SC. The flexible terminals at the solid keratin filaments can be compared to flexible polymer brushes in colloidal systems, creating long-range repulsion and extensive swelling in water. We further show that the addition of urea to the SC at reduced RH leads to similar molecular and macroscopic responses as the increase in RH for SC without urea. The findings provide new molecular insights to deepen the understanding of how intermediate filament organization responds to changes in the surrounding environment.
INTRODUCTION: Previous studies have reported abnormalities in the ventral posterior cingulate cortex (vPCC) and middle temporal gyrus (MTG) in schizophrenia patients. However, it remains unclear whether the white matter tracts connecting these structures are impaired in schizophrenia. Our study investigated the integrity of these white matter tracts (vPCC-MTG tract) and their asymmetry (left versus right side) in patients with recent onset schizophrenia.
METHOD: Forty-seven patients and 24 age-and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in this study. We extracted left and right vPCC-MTG tract on each side from T1W and diffusion MRI (dMRI) at 3T. We then calculated the asymmetry index of diffusion measures of vPCC-MTG tracts as well as volume and thickness of vPCC and MTG using the formula: 2×(right-left)/(right+left). We compared asymmetry indices between patients and controls and evaluated their correlations with the severity of psychiatric symptoms and cognition in patients using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), video-based social cognition scale (VISC) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III).
RESULTS: Asymmetry of fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD) in the vPCC-MTG tract, while present in healthy controls, was not evident in schizophrenia patients. Also, we observed that patients, not healthy controls, had a significant FA decrease and RD increase in the left vPCC-MTG tract. There was no significant association between the asymmetry indices of dMRI measures and IQ, VISC, or PANSS scores in schizophrenia.
CONCLUSION: Disruption of asymmetry of the vPCC-MTG tract in schizophrenia may contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
We examined whether abnormal volumes of several brain regions as well as their mutual associations that have been observed in patients with schizophrenia, are also present in individuals at clinical high-risk (CHR) for developing psychosis. 3T magnetic resonance imaging was acquired in 19 CHR and 20 age- and handedness-matched controls. Volumes were measured for the body and temporal horns of the lateral ventricles, hippocampus and amygdala as well as total brain, cortical gray matter, white matter, and subcortical gray matter volumes. Relationships between volumes as well as correlations between volumes and cognitive and clinical measures were explored. Ratios of lateral ventricular volume to total brain volume and temporal horn volume to total brain volume were calculated. Volumetric abnormalities were lateralized to the left hemisphere. Volumes of the left temporal horn, and marginally, of the body of the left lateral ventricle were larger, while left amygdala but not hippocampal volume was significantly smaller in CHR participants compared to controls. Total brain volume was also significantly smaller and the ratio of the temporal horn/total brain volume was significantly higher in CHR than in controls. White matter volume correlated positively with higher verbal fluency score while temporal horn volume correlated positively with a greater number of perseverative errors. Together with the finding of larger temporal horns and smaller amygdala volumes in the left hemisphere, these results indicate that the ratio of temporal horns volume to brain volume is abnormal in CHR compared to controls. These abnormalities present in CHR individuals may constitute the biological basis for at least some of the CHR syndrome.
Migraine is a common neurological disease with a high prevalence and unsatisfactory treatment options. The specific pathophysiological mechanisms of migraine remain unclear, which restricts the development of effective treatments for this prevalent disorder. The aims of this study were to 1) compare the spontaneous brain activity differences between Migraine without Aura (MwoA) patients and healthy controls (HCs), using amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) calculation method, and 2) explore how an effective treatment (verum acupuncture) could modulate the ALFF of MwoA patients. One hundred MwoA patients and forty-six matched HCs were recruited. Patients were randomized to four weeks' verum acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and waiting list groups. Patients had resting state BOLD-fMRI scan before and after treatment, while HCs only had resting state BOLD-fMRI scan at baseline. Headache intensity, headache frequency, self-rating anxiety and self-rating depression were used for clinical efficacy evaluation. Compared with HCs, MwoA patients showed increased ALFF in posterior insula and putamen/caudate, and reduced ALFF in rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM)/trigeminocervical complex (TCC). After longitudinal verum acupuncture treatment, the decreased ALFF of the RVM/TCC was normalized in migraine patients. Verum acupuncture and sham acupuncture have different modulation effects on ALFF of RVM/TCC in migraine patients. Our results suggest that impairment of the homeostasis of the trigeminovascular nociceptive pathway is involved in the neural pathophysiology of migraines. Effective treatments, such as verum acupuncture, could help to restore this imbalance.