BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bronchiectasis manifests as recurrent respiratory infections and reduced lung function. Airway dilation, which is measured as the ratio of the diameters of the bronchial lumen (B) and adjacent pulmonary artery (A), is a defining radiological feature of bronchiectasis. A challenge to equating the bronchoarterial (BA) ratio to disease severity is that the diameters of airway and vessel in health are not established. We sought to explore the variability of BA ratio in never-smokers without pulmonary disease and its associations with lung function.
METHODS: Objective measurements of the BA ratio on volumetric computed tomography (CT) scans and pulmonary function data were collected in 106 never-smokers. The BA ratio was measured in the right upper lobe apical bronchus (RB1) and the right lower lobe basal posterior bronchus. The association between the BA ratio and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1 ) was assessed using regression analysis.
RESULTS: The BA ratio was 0.79 ± 0.16 and was smaller in more peripheral RB1 bronchi (P < 0.0001). The BA ratio was >1, a typical threshold for bronchiectasis, in 10 (8.5%) subjects. Subjects with a BA ratio >1 versus ≤1 had smaller artery diameters (P < 0.0001) but not significantly larger bronchial lumens. After adjusting for age, gender, race and height, the BA ratio was directly related to FEV1 (P = 0.0007).
CONCLUSION: In never-smokers, the BA ratio varies by airway generation and is associated with lung function. A BA ratio >1 is driven by small arteries. Using artery diameter as reference to define bronchial dilation seems inappropriate.
The title compound, C12H10Br2N2O2, represents an example of a planar π-con-jugated 2-aza-butadiene mol-ecule, which is both an inter-esting starting material for further organic transformations and a potential ligand in organometallic coordination chemistry. Its metric mol-ecular parameters are typical for the family of 2-aza-buta-1,3-dienes not substituted at the (CH) 3-position. In the crystal, the almost planar (r.m.s. deviation = 0.0658 Å) aza-diene mol-ecules form one-dimensional double-wide ribbons through inter-molecular halogen bonds (C-Br⋯O and C-Br⋯Br-C), which then stack in a slipped manner through weak C-H⋯Br and π-π inter-actions to generate a three-dimensional network.
UNLABELLED: Cognitive neuroscience of aging studies traditionally target participants age 65 and older. However, epidemiological surveys show that many women report increased forgetfulness earlier in the aging process, as they transition to menopause. In this population-based fMRI study, we stepped back by over a decade to characterize the changes in memory circuitry that occur in early midlife, as a function of sex and women's reproductive stage. Participants (N = 200; age range, 45-55) performed a verbal encoding task during fMRI scanning. Reproductive histories and serologic evaluations were used to determine menopausal status. Results revealed a pronounced impact of reproductive stage on task-evoked hippocampal responses, despite minimal difference in chronological age. Next, we examined the impact of sex and reproductive stage on functional connectivity across task-related brain regions. Postmenopausal women showed enhanced bilateral hippocampal connectivity relative to premenopausal and perimenopausal women. Across women, lower 17β-estradiol concentrations were related to more pronounced alterations in hippocampal connectivity and poorer performance on a subsequent memory retrieval task, strongly implicating sex steroids in the regulation of this circuitry. Finally, subgroup analyses revealed that high-performing postmenopausal women (relative to low and middle performers) exhibited a pattern of brain activity akin to premenopausal women. Together, these findings underscore the importance of considering reproductive stage, not simply chronological age, to identify neuronal and cognitive changes that unfold in the middle decades of life. In keeping with preclinical studies, these human findings suggest that the decline in ovarian estradiol production during menopause plays a significant role in shaping memory circuitry.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Maintaining intact memory function with age is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, and women have an increased risk for memory disorders relative to men later in life. We studied adults early in the aging process, as women transition into menopause, to identify neuronal and cognitive changes that unfold in the middle decades of life. Results demonstrate regional and network-level differences in memory encoding-related activity as a function of women's reproductive stage, independent of chronological age. Analyzing data without regard to sex or menopausal status obscured group differences in circuit-level neural strategies associated with successful memory retrieval. These findings suggest that early changes in memory circuitry are evident decades before the age range traditionally targeted by cognitive neuroscience of aging studies.
INTRODUCTION: Diffusion weighted MRI (dMRI) is a method sensitive to pathological changes affecting tissue microstructure. Most dMRI studies in schizophrenia, however, have focused solely on white matter. There is a possibility, however, that subtle changes in diffusivity exist in gray matter (GM). Accordingly, we investigated diffusivity in GM in patients with recent onset schizophrenia.
METHODS: We enrolled 45 patients and 21 age and sex-matched healthy controls. All subjects were evaluated using the short form of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), and the video based social cognition scale. DMRI and T1W images were acquired on a 3 Tesla magnet, and mean Fractional Anisotropy (FA), Trace (TR) and volume were calculated for each of the 68 cortical GM Regions of Interest parcellated using FreeSurfer.
RESULTS: There was no significant difference of FA and GM volume between groups after Bonferroni correction. For the dMRI measures, however, patients evinced increased TR in the left bank of the superior temporal sulcus, the right inferior parietal, the right inferior temporal, and the right middle temporal gyri. In addition, higher TR in the right middle temporal gyrus and the right inferior temporal gyrus, respectively, was associated with decreased social function and higher PANSS score in patients with schizophrenia.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates high sensitivity of dMRI to subtle pathology in GM in recent onset schizophrenia, as well as an association between increased diffusivity in temporal GM regions and abnormalities in social cognition and exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms.
Registration of multiple 3D ultrasound sectors in order to provide an extended field of view is important for the appreciation of larger anatomical structures at high spatial and temporal resolution. In this paper, we present a method for fully automatic spatio-temporal registration between two partially overlapping 3D ultrasound sequences. The temporal alignment is solved by aligning the normalized cross correlation-over-time curves of the sequences. For the spatial alignment, corresponding 3D Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) features are extracted from all frames of both sequences independently of the temporal alignment. A rigid transform is then calculated by least squares minimization in combination with random sample consensus. The method is applied to 16 echocardiographic sequences of the left and right ventricles and evaluated against manually annotated temporal events and spatial anatomical landmarks. The mean distances between manually identified landmarks in the left and right ventricles after automatic registration were (mean ± SD) 4.3 ± 1.2 mm compared to a reference error of 2.8 ± 0.6 mm with manual registration. For the temporal alignment, the absolute errors in valvular event times were 14.4 ± 11.6 ms for Aortic Valve (AV) opening, 18.6 ± 16.0 ms for AV closing, and 34.6 ± 26.4 ms for mitral valve opening, compared to a mean inter-frame time of 29 ms.
BACKGROUND: 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) is considered to be a promising cohort to explore biomarkers of schizophrenia risk based on a 30 % probability of developing schizophrenia in adulthood. In this study, we investigated abnormalities in the microstructure of white matter in adolescents with 22q11DS and their specificity to prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia.
METHODS: Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI) data were acquired from 50 subjects with 22q11DS (9 with and 41 without prodromal psychotic symptoms), and 47 matched healthy controls (mean age 18 +/-2 years). DMRI measures, including fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were calculated and compared between groups using the Tract Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) method. Additionally, correlations between dMRI measures and scores on positive symptoms were performed.
RESULTS: Reductions in MD, AD and RD (but not FA) were found in the corpus callosum (CC), left and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), and left and right corona radiata in the entire 22q11DS group. In addition, the 22q11DS subgroup with prodromal symptoms showed reductions in AD and MD, but no changes in RD when compared to the non-prodromal subgroup, in CC, right SLF, right corona radiata and right internal capsule. Finally, AD values in these tracts correlated with the scores on the psychosis subscale.
CONCLUSION: Microstructural abnormalities in brain white matter are present in adolescent subjects with prodromal psychotic symptoms.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative disease with early manifestation of motor signs. Objective measurements of motor signs are of vital importance for diagnosing, monitoring and developing disease modifying therapies, particularly for the early stages of the disease when putative neuroprotective treatments could stop neurodegeneration. Current medical practice has limited tools to routinely monitor PD motor signs with enough frequency and without undue burden for patients and the healthcare system. In this paper, we present data indicating that the routine interaction with computer keyboards can be used to detect motor signs in the early stages of PD. We explore a solution that measures the key hold times (the time required to press and release a key) during the normal use of a computer without any change in hardware and converts it to a PD motor index. This is achieved by the automatic discovery of patterns in the time series of key hold times using an ensemble regression algorithm. This new approach discriminated early PD groups from controls with an AUC = 0.81 (n = 42/43; mean age = 59.0/60.1; women = 43%/60%;PD/controls). The performance was comparable or better than two other quantitative motor performance tests used clinically: alternating finger tapping (AUC = 0.75) and single key tapping (AUC = 0.61).
Content-based medical image retrieval (CBMIR) is an active research area for disease diagnosis and treatment but it can be problematic given the small visual variations between anatomical structures. We propose a retrieval method based on a bag-of-visual-words (BoVW) to identify discriminative characteristics between different medical images with Pruned Dictionary based on Latent Semantic Topic description. We refer to this as the PD-LST retrieval. Our method has two main components. First, we calculate a topic-word significance value for each visual word given a certain latent topic to evaluate how the word is connected to this latent topic. The latent topics are learnt, based on the relationship between the images and words, and are employed to bridge the gap between low-level visual features and high-level semantics. These latent topics describe the images and words semantically and can thus facilitate more meaningful comparisons between the words. Second, we compute an overall-word significance value to evaluate the significance of a visual word within the entire dictionary. We designed an iterative ranking method to measure overall-word significance by considering the relationship between all latent topics and words. The words with higher values are considered meaningful with more significant discriminative power in differentiating medical images. We evaluated our method on two public medical imaging datasets and it showed improved retrieval accuracy and efficiency.
Disinhibition is an important symptom in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the clinico-anatomical underpinnings remain controversial. We explored the anatomical correlates of disinhibition in neurodegenerative disease using the perspective of grey and white matter imaging. Disinhibition was assessed with a neuropsychological test and a caregiver information-based clinical rating scale in 21 patients with prefrontal syndromes due to behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (n = 12) or progressive supranuclear palsy (n = 9), and healthy controls (n = 25). Cortical thickness was assessed using the Freesurfer software on 3T MRI data. The integrity of selected white matter tracts was determined by the fractional anisotropy (FA) from Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Disinhibition correlated with the cortical thickness of the right parahippocampal gyrus, right orbitofrontal cortex and right insula and the FA of the right uncinate fasciculus and right anterior cingulum. Notably, no relationship was seen with the thickness of ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Our results support an associative model of inhibitory control, distributed in a medial temporal lobe-insular-orbitofrontal network, connected by the intercommunicating white matter tracts. This reconciles some of the divergences among previous studies, but also questions the current conceptualisation of the "prefrontal" syndrome and the central role attributed to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in inhibitory control.
Originally, the middle longitudinal fascicle (MdLF) was defined as a long association fiber tract connecting the superior temporal gyrus and temporal pole with the angular gyrus. More recently its description has been expanded to include all long postrolandic cortico-cortical association connections of the superior temporal gyrus and dorsal temporal pole with the parietal and occipital lobes. Despite its location and size, which makes MdLF one of the most prominent cerebral association fiber tracts, its discovery in humans is recent. Given the absence of a gold standard in humans for this fiber tract, its precise and complete connectivity remains to be determined with certainty. In this study using high angular resolution diffusion MRI (HARDI), we delineated for the first time, six major fiber connections of the human MdLF, four of which are temporo-parietal and two temporo-occipital, by examining morphology, topography, cortical connections, biophysical measures, volume and length in seventy brains. Considering the cortical affiliations of the different connections of MdLF we suggested that this fiber tract may be related to language, attention and integrative higher level visual and auditory processing associated functions. Furthermore, given the extensive connectivity provided to superior temporal gyrus and temporal pole with the parietal and occipital lobes, MdLF may be involved in several neurological and psychiatric conditions such as primary progressive aphasia and other aphasic syndromes, some forms of behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, atypical forms of Alzheimer's disease, corticobasal degeneration, schizophrenia as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder and neglect disorders.
Inferring the microstructure of complex media from the diffusive motion of molecules is a challenging problem in diffusion physics. In this paper, we introduce a novel representation of diffusion MRI (dMRI) signal from tissue with spatially-varying diffusivity using a diffusion disturbance function. This disturbance function contains information about the (intra-voxel) spatial fluctuations in diffusivity due to restrictions, hindrances and tissue heterogeneity of the underlying tissue substrate. We derive the short- and long-range disturbance coefficients from this disturbance function to characterize the tissue structure and organization. Moreover, we provide an exact relation between the disturbance coefficients and the time-varying moments of the diffusion propagator, as well as their relation to specific tissue microstructural information such as the intra-axonal volume fraction and the apparent axon radius. The proposed approach is quite general and can model dMRI signal for any type of gradient sequence (rectangular, oscillating, etc.) without using the Gaussian phase approximation. The relevance of the proposed PICASO model is explored using Monte-Carlo simulations and in-vivo dMRI data. The results show that the estimated disturbance coefficients can distinguish different types of microstructural organization of axons.
RATIONALE: Automated analysis of computed tomographic (CT) lung images for epidemiologic nand genetic association studies is increasingly common, but little is known about the utility of visual versus semi-automated emphysema and airway assessments for genetic association studies.
OBJECTIVES: Assess the relative utility of visual versus semi-automated emphysema and airway assessments for genetic association studies.
METHODS: A standardized inspection protocol was used to visually assess chest CTs for 1540 non-Hispanic white subjects within the COPDGene Study for the presence and severity of radiographic features representing airway wall thickness and emphysema. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed, and two sets of candidate SNPs with a higher prior likelihood of association were specified a priori for separate analysis. For each visual CT exam feature, a corresponding semi-automated CT feature(s) was identified for comparison in the same subjects.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: GWAS for visual features of chest CT scans identified a genome-wide significant association with visual emphysema at the 15q25 locus (p=6.3e-9). In the a priori specified set of 19 previously identified GWAS loci, seven and eight loci were associated with airway measures or emphysema measures, respectively. In the a priori specified candidate gene set, 13 out of 196 candidate genes harbored a nearby SNP significantly associated with an emphysema phenotype. Visual CT exam associations were robust to adjustment for semi-automated correlates in many cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Standardized visual assessments of emphysema and airway disease are significantly associated with genetic loci previously associated with COPD susceptibility or semiautomated CT exam phenotypes in GWAS. Visual CT measures of emphysema and airways disease offer independent information for genetic association studies in relation to standard semi-automated measures.
PURPOSE: Compressed sensing methods with motion estimation and compensation techniques have been proposed for the reconstruction of accelerated dynamic MRI. However, artifacts that naturally arise in compressed sensing reconstruction procedures hinder the estimation of motion from reconstructed images, especially at high acceleration factors. This work introduces a robust groupwise nonrigid motion estimation technique applied to the compressed sensing reconstruction of dynamic cardiac cine MRI sequences.
THEORY AND METHODS: A spatio-temporal regularized, groupwise, nonrigid registration method based on a B-splines deformation model and a least squares metric is used to estimate and to compensate the movement of the heart in breath-hold cine acquisitions and to obtain a quasistatic sequence with highly sparse representation in temporally transformed domains.
RESULTS: Short axis in vivo datasets are used for validation, both original multicoil as well as DICOM data. Fully sampled data were retrospectively undersampled with various acceleration factors and reconstructions were compared with the two well-known methods k-t FOCUSS and MASTeR. The proposed method achieves higher signal to error ratio and structure similarity index for medium to high acceleration factors.
CONCLUSIONS: Reconstruction methods based on groupwise registration show higher quality reconstructions for cardiac cine images than the pairwise counterparts tested.
Dyslexia is characterized by a deficit in language processing which mainly affects word decoding and spelling skills. In addition, children with dyslexia also show problems in mathematics. However, for the latter, the underlying structural correlates have not been investigated. Sixteen children with dyslexia (mean age 9.8 years [0.39]) and 24 typically developing children (mean age 9.9 years [0.29]) group matched for age, gender, IQ, and handedness underwent 3 T MR diffusion tensor imaging as well as cognitive testing. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics were performed to correlate behavioral data with diffusion data. Children with dyslexia performed worse than controls in standardized verbal number tasks, such as arithmetic efficiency tests (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). In contrast, the two groups did not differ in the nonverbal number line task. Arithmetic efficiency, representing the total score of the four arithmetic tasks, multiplication, and division, correlated with diffusion measures in widespread areas of the white matter, including bilateral superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Children with dyslexia demonstrated lower performance in verbal number tasks but performed similarly to controls in a nonverbal number task. Further, an association between verbal arithmetic efficiency and diffusion measures was demonstrated in widespread areas of the white matter suggesting compensatory mechanisms in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Taken together, poor fact retrieval in children with dyslexia is likely a consequence of deficits in the language system, which not only affects literacy skills but also impacts on arithmetic skills.
Post-mortem studies reveal a high rate of cavum septi pellucidi (CSP) in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It remains, however, to be determined whether or not the presence of CSP may be a potential in vivo imaging marker in populations at high risk to develop CTE. The aim of this study was to evaluate CSP in former professional American football players presenting with cognitive and behavioral symptoms compared with noncontact sports athletes. Seventy-two symptomatic former professional football players (mean age 54.53 years, standard deviation [SD] 7.97) as well as 14 former professional noncontact sports athletes (mean age 57.14 years, SD 7.35) underwent high-resolution structural 3T magnetic resonance imaging. Two raters independently evaluated the CSP, and interrater reliability was calculated. Within National Football League players, an association of CSP measures with cognitive and behavioral functioning was evaluated using a multivariate mixed effects model. The measurements of the two raters were highly correlated (CSP length: rho = 0.98; Intraclass Correlation Coefficient [ICC] 0.99; p < 0.0001; septum length: rho = 0.93; ICC 0.96; p < 0.0001). For presence versus absence of CSP, there was high agreement (Cohen kappa = 0.83, p < 0.0001). A higher rate of CSP, a greater length of CSP, as well as a greater ratio of CSP length to septum length was found in symptomatic former professional football players compared with athlete controls. In addition, a greater length of CSP was associated with decreased performance on a list learning task (Neuropsychological Assessment Battery List A Immediate Recall, p = 0.04) and decreased test scores on a measure of estimate verbal intelligence (Wide Range Achievement Test Fourth Edition Reading Test, p = 0.02). Given the high prevalence of CSP in neuropathologically confirmed CTE in addition to the results of this study, CSP may serve as a potential early in vivo imaging marker to identify those at high risk for CTE. Future research is needed to investigate the pathomechanism underlying the development of CSP after repetitive head impacts, and its potential association with neuropathologically confirmed CTE.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is the most widely used method for characterizing noninvasively structural and architectural features of brain tissues. However, the assumption of a Gaussian spin displacement distribution intrinsic to DTI weakens its ability to describe intricate tissue microanatomy. Consequently, the biological interpretation of microstructural parameters, such as fractional anisotropy or mean diffusivity, is often equivocal. We evaluate the clinical feasibility of assessing brain tissue microstructure with mean apparent propagator (MAP) MRI, a powerful analytical framework that efficiently measures the probability density function (PDF) of spin displacements and quantifies useful metrics of this PDF indicative of diffusion in complex microstructure (e.g., restrictions, multiple compartments). Rotation invariant and scalar parameters computed from the MAP show consistent variation across neuroanatomical brain regions and increased ability to differentiate tissues with distinct structural and architectural features compared with DTI-derived parameters. The return-to-origin probability (RTOP) appears to reflect cellularity and restrictions better than MD, while the non-Gaussianity (NG) measures diffusion heterogeneity by comprehensively quantifying the deviation between the spin displacement PDF and its Gaussian approximation. Both RTOP and NG can be decomposed in the local anatomical frame for reference determined by the orientation of the diffusion tensor and reveal additional information complementary to DTI. The propagator anisotropy (PA) shows high tissue contrast even in deep brain nuclei and cortical gray matter and is more uniform in white matter than the FA, which drops significantly in regions containing crossing fibers. Orientational profiles of the propagator computed analytically from the MAP MRI series coefficients allow separation of different fiber populations in regions of crossing white matter pathways, which in turn improves our ability to perform whole-brain fiber tractography. Reconstructions from subsampled data sets suggest that MAP MRI parameters can be computed from a relatively small number of DWIs acquired with high b-value and good signal-to-noise ratio in clinically achievable scan durations of less than 10min. The neuroanatomical consistency across healthy subjects and reproducibility in test-retest experiments of MAP MRI microstructural parameters further substantiate the robustness and clinical feasibility of this technique. The MAP MRI metrics could potentially provide more sensitive clinical biomarkers with increased pathophysiological specificity compared to microstructural measures derived using conventional diffusion MRI techniques.
Computed tomographic measures of central airway morphology have been used in clinical, epidemiologic, and genetic investigation as an inference of the presence and severity of small-airway disease in smokers. Although several association studies have brought us to believe that these computed tomographic measures reflect airway remodeling, a careful review of such data and more recent evidence may reveal underappreciated complexity to these measures and limitations that prompt us to question that belief. This Perspective offers a review of seminal papers and alternative explanations of their data in the light of more recent evidence. The relationships between airway morphology and lung function are observed in subjects who never smoked, implying that native airway structure indeed contributes to lung function; computed tomographic measures of central airways such as wall area, lumen area, and total bronchial area are smaller in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease versus those without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and the airways are smaller as disease severity increases. The observations suggest that (1) native airway morphology likely contributes to the relationships between computed tomographic measures of airways and lung function; and (2) the presence of smaller airways in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease versus those without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as their decrease with disease severity suggests that smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may simply have smaller airways to begin with, which put them at greater risk for the development of smoking-related disease.