Publications

2018
McCarthy-Jones S, Oestreich LKL, Lyall AE, Kikinis Z, Newell DT, Savadjiev P, Shenton ME, Kubicki M, Pasternak O, Whitford TJ, et al. Childhood adversity associated with white matter alteration in the corpus callosum, corona radiata, and uncinate fasciculus of psychiatrically healthy adults. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018;12 (2) :449-58.Abstract
Diffusion tensor imaging studies report childhood adversity (CA) is associated with reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in multiple white matter tracts in adults. Reduced FA may result from changes in tissue, suggesting myelin/axonal damage, and/or from increased levels of extracellular free-water, suggesting atrophy or neuroinflammation. Free-water imaging can separately identify FA in tissue (FA) and the fractional volume of free-water (FW). We tested whether CA was associated with altered FA, FA, and FW in seven white matter regions of interest (ROI), in which FA changes had been previously linked to CA (corona radiata, corpus callosum, fornix, cingulum bundle: hippocampal projection, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus). Tract-based spatial statistics were performed in 147 psychiatrically healthy adults who had completed a self-report questionnaire on CA primarily stemming from parental maltreatment. ROI were extracted according to the protocol provided by the ENIGMA-DTI working group. Analyses were performed both treating CA as a continuous and a categorical variable. CA was associated with reduced FA in all ROI (although categorical analyses failed to find an association in the fornix). In contrast, CA was only associated with reduced FAin the corona radiata, corpus callosum, and uncinate fasciculus (with the continuous measure of CA finding evidence of a negative relation between CA and FAin the fornix). There was no association between CA on FW in any ROI. These results provide preliminary evidence that childhood adversity is associated with changes to the microstructure of white matter itself in adulthood. However, these results should be treated with caution until they can be replicated by future studies which address the limitations of the present study.
Montal V, Vilaplana E, Alcolea D, Pegueroles J, Pasternak O, González-Ortiz S, Clarimón J, Carmona-Iragui M, Illán-Gala I, Morenas-Rodríguez E, et al. Cortical microstructural changes along the Alzheimer's disease continuum. Alzheimers Dement. 2018;14 (3) :340-51.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Cortical mean diffusivity (MD) and free water fraction (FW) changes are proposed biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD). METHODS: We included healthy control subjects (N = 254), mild cognitive impairment (N = 41), and AD dementia (N = 31) patients. Participants underwent a lumbar puncture and a 3 T magnetic resonance imaging. Healthy control subjects were classified following National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association stages (stage 0, N = 220; stage 1, N = 25; and stage 2/3, N = 9). We assessed the cortical MD, cortical FW, and cortical thickness (CTh) changes along the AD continuum. RESULTS: Microstructural and macrostructural changes show a biphasic trajectory. Stage 1 subjects showed increased CTh and decreased MD and FW with respect the stage 0 subjects. Stage 2/3 subjects showed decreased CTh and increased cortical MD and FW, changes that were more widespread in symptomatic stages. DISCUSSION: These results support a biphasic model of changes in AD, which could affect the selection of patients for clinical trials and the use of magnetic resonance imaging as a surrogate marker of disease modification.
Perez DL, Matin N, Williams B, Tanev K, Makris N, LaFrance CW, Dickerson BC. Cortical thickness alterations linked to somatoform and psychological dissociation in functional neurological disorders. Hum Brain Mapp. 2018;39 (1) :428-39.Abstract
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. Hum Brain Mapp 39:428-439, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Diaz AA, Strand M, Coxson HO, Ross JC, Estepar RSJ, Lynch D, van Rikxoort EM, Rosas IO, Hunninghake GM, Putman RK, et al. Disease Severity Dependence of the Longitudinal Association Between CT Lung Density and Lung Function in Smokers. Chest. 2018;153 (3) :638-645.Abstract
BACKGROUND: In smokers, the lung parenchyma is characterized by inflammation and emphysema, processes that can result in local gain and loss of lung tissue. CT measures of lung density might reflect lung tissue changes; however, longitudinal data regarding the effects of CT lung tissue on FEVin smokers with and without COPD are scarce. METHODS: The 15th percentile of CT lung density was obtained from the scans of 3,390 smokers who completed baseline and 5-year follow-up of the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) study visits. The longitudinal relationship between total lung capacity-adjusted lung density (TLC-PD15) and FEVwas assessed by using multivariable mixed models. Separate models were performed in smokers at risk, smokers with preserved ratio and impaired spirometry (PRISm), and smokers with COPD according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) staging system. RESULTS: The direction of the relationship between lung density and lung function was GOLD stage dependent. In smokers with PRISm, a 1-g/L decrease in TLC-PD15 was associated with an increase of 2.8 mL FEV(P = .02). In contrast, among smokers with GOLD III to IV COPD, a 1-g/L decrease in TLC-PD15 was associated with a decrease of 4.1 mL FEV(P = .002). CONCLUSIONS: A decline in TLC-PD15 was associated with an increase or decrease in FEVdepending on disease severity. The associations are GOLD stage specific, and their presence might influence the interpretation of future studies that use CT lung density as an intermediate study end point for a decline in lung function. TRIAL REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00608764; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.
González G, Ash SY, Vegas-Sánchez-Ferrero G, Onieva Onieva J, Rahaghi FN, Ross JC, Díaz A, San José Estépar R, Washko GR. Disease Staging and Prognosis in Smokers Using Deep Learning in Chest Computed Tomography. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018;197 (2) :193-203.Abstract
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.
Ning L, Rathi Y. A Dynamic Regression Approach for Frequency-Domain Partial Coherence and Causality Analysis of Functional Brain Networks. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2018;37 (9) :1957-1969.Abstract
Coherence and causality measures are often used to analyze the influence of one region on another during analysis of functional brain networks. The analysis methods usually involve a regression problem, where the signal of interest is decomposed into a mixture of regressor and a residual signal. In this paper, we revisit this basic problem and present solutions that provide the minimal-entropy residuals for different types of regression filters, such as causal, instantaneously causal, and noncausal filters. Using optimal prediction theory, we derive several novel frequency-domain expressions for partial coherence, causality, and conditional causality analysis. In particular, our solution provides a more accurate estimation of the frequency-domain causality compared with the classical Geweke causality measure. Using synthetic examples and in vivo resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from the human connectome project, we show that the proposed solution is more accurate at revealing frequency-domain linear dependence among high-dimensional signals.
Lasič S, Lundell H, Topgaard D, Dyrby TB. Effects of imaging gradients in sequences with varying longitudinal storage time-Case of diffusion exchange imaging. Magn Reson Med. 2018;79 (4) :2228-2235.Abstract
PURPOSE: To illustrate the potential bias caused by imaging gradients in correlation MRI sequences using longitudinal magnetization storage (LS) and examine the case of filter exchange imaging (FEXI) yielding maps of the apparent exchange rate (AXR). METHODS: The effects of imaging gradients in FEXI were observed on yeast cells. To analyze the AXR bias, signal evolution was calculated by applying matrix exponential operators. RESULTS: A sharp threshold for the slice thickness was identified, below which the AXR is increasingly underestimated. The bias can be understood in terms of an extended low-pass diffusion filtering during the LS interval, which is more pronounced at lower exchange rates. For a total exchange rate constant larger than 1 s, the AXR bias is expected to be negligible when slices thicker than 2.5 mm are used. CONCLUSION: In correlation experiments like FEXI, relying on LS with variable duration, imaging gradients may cause disrupting effects that cannot be easily mitigated and should be carefully considered for unbiased results. In typical clinical applications of FEXI, the imaging gradients are expected to cause a negligible AXR bias. However, the AXR bias may be significant in preclinical settings or whenever thin imaging slices are used. Magn Reson Med 79:2228-2235, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Makaretz SJ, Quimby M, Collins J, Makris N, McGinnis S, Schultz A, Vasdev N, Johnson KA, Dickerson BC. Flortaucipir tau PET imaging in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2018;89 (10) :1024-1031.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) is typically associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with longTAR DNA-binding protein (TDP)-43-positive neuropil threads and dystrophic neurites (type C), and is only rarely due to a primary tauopathy or Alzheimer's disease. We undertook this study to investigate the localisation and magnitude of the presumed tau Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracer [F]Flortaucipir (FTP; also known as T807 or AV1451) in patients with svPPA, hypothesising that most patients would not show tracer uptake different from controls. METHODS: FTP and [C]Pittsburgh compound B PET imaging as well as MRI were performed in seven patients with svPPA and in 20 controls. FTP signal was analysed by visual inspection and by quantitative comparison to controls, with and without partial volume correction. RESULTS: All seven patients showed elevated FTP uptake in the anterior temporal lobe with a leftward asymmetry that was not observed in healthy controls. This elevated FTP signal, largely co-localised with atrophy, was evident on both visual inspection and quantitative cortical surface-based analysis. Five patients were amyloid negative, one was amyloid positive and one has an unknown amyloid status. CONCLUSIONS: In this series of patients with clinical profiles, structural MRI and amyloid PET imaging typical for svPPA, FTP signal was unexpectedly elevated with a spatial pattern localised to areas of atrophy. This raises questions about the possible off-target binding of this tracer to non-tau molecules associated with neurodegeneration. Further investigation with autopsy analysis will help illuminate the binding target(s) of FTP in cases of suspected FTLD-TDP neuropathology.
Blokland GAM, Del Re EC, Mesholam-Gately RI, Jovicich J, Trampush JW, Keshavan MS, DeLisi LE, Walters JTR, Turner JA, Malhotra AK, et al. The Genetics of Endophenotypes of Neurofunction to Understand Schizophrenia (GENUS) consortium: A collaborative cognitive and neuroimaging genetics project. Schizophr Res. 2018;195 :306-17.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Schizophrenia has a large genetic component, and the pathways from genes to illness manifestation are beginning to be identified. The Genetics of Endophenotypes of Neurofunction to Understand Schizophrenia (GENUS) Consortium aims to clarify the role of genetic variation in brain abnormalities underlying schizophrenia. This article describes the GENUS Consortium sample collection. METHODS: We identified existing samples collected for schizophrenia studies consisting of patients, controls, and/or individuals at familial high-risk (FHR) for schizophrenia. Samples had single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array data or genomic DNA, clinical and demographic data, and neuropsychological and/or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Data were subjected to quality control procedures at a central site. RESULTS: Sixteen research groups contributed data from 5199 psychosis patients, 4877 controls, and 725 FHR individuals. All participants have relevant demographic data and all patients have relevant clinical data. The sex ratio is 56.5% male and 43.5% female. Significant differences exist between diagnostic groups for premorbid and current IQ (both p<1×10). Data from a diversity of neuropsychological tests are available for 92% of participants, and 30% have structural MRI scans (half also have diffusion-weighted MRI scans). SNP data are available for 76% of participants. The ancestry composition is 70% European, 20% East Asian, 7% African, and 3% other. CONCLUSIONS: The Consortium is investigating the genetic contribution to brain phenotypes in a schizophrenia sample collection of >10,000 participants. The breadth of data across clinical, genetic, neuropsychological, and MRI modalities provides an important opportunity for elucidating the genetic basis of neural processes underlying schizophrenia.
Lyall AE, Pasternak O, Robinson DG, Newell D, Trampush JW, Gallego JA, Fava M, Malhotra AK, Karlsgodt KH, Kubicki M, et al. Greater extracellular free-water in first-episode psychosis predicts better neurocognitive functioning. Mol Psychiatry. 2018;23 (3) :701-707.Abstract
Free Water Imaging is a novel diffusion magnetic resonance (MR) imaging method that is able to separate changes affecting the extracellular space from those that reflect changes in neuronal cells and processes. A previous Free Water Imaging study in schizophrenia identified significantly greater extracellular water volume in the early stages of the disorder; however, its clinical and functional sequelae have not yet been investigated. Here, we applied Free Water Imaging to a larger cohort of 63 first-episode patients with psychosis and 70 healthy matched controls to better understand the functional significance of greater extracellular water. We used diffusion MR imaging data and the Tract-Based Spatial Statistics analytic pipeline to first analyze fractional anisotropy (FA), the most commonly employed metric for assessing white matter. This comparison was then followed by Free Water Imaging analysis, where two parameters, the fractional volume of extracellular free-water (FW) and cellular tissue FA (FA-t), were estimated and compared across the entire white matter skeleton between groups, and correlated with cognitive measures at baseline and following 12 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. Our results indicated lower FA across the whole brain in patients compared with healthy controls that overlap with significant increases in FW, with only limited decreases in FA-t. In addition, higher FW correlated with better neurocognitive functioning following 12 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. We believe this is the first study to suggest that an extracellular water increase during the first-episode of psychosis, which may be indicative of an acute neuroinflammatory process, and/or cerebral edema may predict better functional outcome.
Setsompop K, Fan Q, Stockmann J, Bilgic B, Huang S, Cauley SF, Nummenmaa A, Wang F, Rathi Y, Witzel T, et al. High-resolution in vivo diffusion imaging of the human brain with generalized slice dithered enhanced resolution: Simultaneous multislice (gSlider-SMS). Magn Reson Med. 2018;79 (1) :141-151.Abstract
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/mm, 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. Magn Reson Med 79:141-151, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Saito Y, Kubicki M, Koerte I, Otsuka T, Rathi Y, Pasternak O, Bouix S, Eckbo R, Kikinis Z, Clemm von Hohenberg C, et al. Impaired white matter connectivity between regions containing mirror neurons, and relationship to negative symptoms and social cognition, in patients with first-episode schizophrenia. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018;12 (1) :229-237.Abstract
In schizophrenia, abnormalities in structural connectivity between brain regions known to contain mirror neurons and their relationship to negative symptoms related to a domain of social cognition are not well understood. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans were acquired in 16 patients with first episode schizophrenia and 16 matched healthy controls. FA and Trace of the tracts interconnecting regions known to be rich in mirror neurons, i.e., anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and premotor cortex (PMC) were evaluated. A significant group effect for Trace was observed in IPL-PMC white matter fiber tract (F (1, 28) = 7.13, p = .012), as well as in the PMC-ACC white matter fiber tract (F (1, 28) = 4.64, p = .040). There were no group differences in FA. In addition, patients with schizophrenia showed a significant positive correlation between the Trace of the left IPL-PMC white matter fiber tract, and the Ability to Feel Intimacy and Closeness score (rho = .57, p = 0.034), and a negative correlation between the Trace of the left PMC-ACC and the Relationships with Friends and Peers score (rho = remove -.54, p = 0.049). We have demonstrated disrupted white mater microstructure within the white matter tracts subserving brain regions containing mirror neurons. We further showed that such structural disruptions might impact negative symptoms and, more specifically, contribute to the inability to feel intimacy (a measure conceptually related to theory of mind) in first episode schizophrenia. Further studies are needed to understand the potential of our results for diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic interventions.
Nilsson M, Larsson J, Lundberg D, Szczepankiewicz F, Witzel T, Westin C-F, Bryskhe K, Topgaard D. Liquid crystal phantom for validation of microscopic diffusion anisotropy measurements on clinical MRI systems. Magn Reson Med. 2018;79 (3) :1817-1828.Abstract
PURPOSE: To develop a phantom for validating MRI pulse sequences and data processing methods to quantify microscopic diffusion anisotropy in the human brain. METHODS: Using a liquid crystal consisting of water, detergent, and hydrocarbon, we designed a 0.5-L spherical phantom showing the theoretically highest possible degree of microscopic anisotropy. Data were acquired on the Connectome scanner using echo-planar imaging signal readout and diffusion encoding with axisymmetric b-tensors of varying magnitude, anisotropy, and orientation. The mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy (FA), and microscopic FA (µFA) parameters were estimated. RESULTS: The phantom was observed to have values of mean diffusivity similar to brain tissue, and relaxation times compatible with echo-planar imaging echo times on the order of 100 ms. The estimated values of µFA were at the theoretical maximum of 1.0, whereas the values of FA spanned the interval from 0.0 to 0.8 as a result of varying orientational order of the anisotropic domains within each voxel. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed phantom can be manufactured by mixing three widely available chemicals in volumes comparable to a human head. The acquired data are in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions, showing that the phantom is ideal for validating methods for measuring microscopic diffusion anisotropy on clinical MRI systems. Magn Reson Med 79:1817-1828, 2018. © 2017 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Boueiz A, Chang Y, Cho MH, Washko GR, San José Estépar R, Bowler RP, Crapo JD, DeMeo DL, Dy JG, Silverman EK, et al. Lobar Emphysema Distribution Is Associated With 5-Year Radiological Disease Progression. Chest. 2018;153 (1) :65-76.Abstract
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.
Mirzaalian H, Ning L, Savadjiev P, Pasternak O, Bouix S, Michailovich O, Karmacharya S, Grant G, Marx CE, Morey RA, et al. Multi-site harmonization of diffusion MRI data in a registration framework. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018;12 (1) :284-295.Abstract
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) data acquired on different scanners varies significantly in its content throughout the brain even if the acquisition parameters are nearly identical. Thus, proper harmonization of such data sets is necessary to increase the sample size and thereby the statistical power of neuroimaging studies. In this paper, we present a novel approach to harmonize dMRI data (the raw signal, instead of dMRI derived measures such as fractional anisotropy) using rotation invariant spherical harmonic (RISH) features embedded within a multi-modal image registration framework. All dMRI data sets from all sites are registered to a common template and voxel-wise differences in RISH features between sites at a group level are used to harmonize the signal in a subject-specific manner. We validate our method on diffusion data acquired from seven different sites (two GE, three Philips, and two Siemens scanners) on a group of age-matched healthy subjects. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method by statistically comparing diffusion measures such as fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity and generalized fractional anisotropy across these sites before and after data harmonization. Validation was also done on a group oftest subjects, which were not used to "learn" the harmonization parameters. We also show results using TBSS before and after harmonization for independent validation of the proposed methodology. Using synthetic data, we show that any abnormality in diffusion measures due to disease is preserved during the harmonization process. Our experimental results demonstrate that, for nearly identical acquisition protocol across sites, scanner-specific differences in the signal can be removed using the proposed method in a model independent manner.
Jaimes C, Cheng HH, Soul J, Ferradal S, Rathi Y, Gagoski B, Newburger JW, Grant EP, Zöllei L. Probabilistic tractography-based thalamic parcellation in healthy newborns and newborns with congenital heart disease. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2018;47 (6) :1626-1637.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Given the central role of the thalamus in motor, sensory, and cognitive development, methods to study emerging thalamocortical connectivity in early infancy are of great interest. PURPOSE: To determine the feasibility of performing probabilistic tractography-based thalamic parcellation (PTbTP) in typically developing (TD) neonates and to compare the results with a pilot sample of neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD). STUDY TYPE: Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved cross-sectional study. MODEL: We prospectively recruited 20 TD neonates and five CHD neonates (imaged preoperatively). FIELD STRENGTH/SEQUENCE: MRI was performed at 3.0T including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and 3D magnetization prepared rapid gradient-echo (MPRAGE). ASSESSMENT: A radiologist and trained research assistants segmented the thalamus and seven cortical targets for each hemisphere. Using the thalami as seeds and the cortical labels as targets, FSL library tools were used to generate probabilistic tracts. A Hierarchical Dirichlet Process algorithm was then used for clustering analysis. A radiologist qualitatively assessed the results of clustering. Quantitative analyses were also performed. STATISTICAL TESTS: We summarized the demographic data and results of clustering with descriptive statistics. Linear regressions covarying for gestational age were used to compare groups. RESULTS: In 17 of 20 TD neonates, we identified five connectivity-determined clusters, which correlate with known thalamic nuclei and subnuclei. In four neonates with CHD we observed a spectrum of abnormalities including fewer and disorganized clusters or small supernumerary clusters (up to seven per thalamus). After covarying for differences in corrected gestational age (cGA), the fractional anisotropy (FA), volume, and normalized thalamic volume were significantly lower in CHD neonates (P < 0.01). DATA CONCLUSIONS: Using PTbTP clusters, correlating well with the location and connectivity of known thalamic nuclei, were identified in TD neonates. Differences in thalamic clustering outputs were identified in four neonates with CHD, raising concern for disordered thalamic connectivity. PTbTP is feasible in TD and CHD neonates. Preliminary findings suggest the prenatal origins of altered connectivity in CHD. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2 Technical Efficacy: Stage 4 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2018;47:1626-1637.
Lepage C, de Pierrefeu A, Koerte IK, Coleman MJ, Pasternak O, Grant G, Marx CE, Morey RA, Flashman LA, George MS, et al. White matter abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury with and without post-traumatic stress disorder: a subject-specific diffusion tensor imaging study. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018;12 (3) :870-881.Abstract
Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) are often associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In cases of chronic mTBI, accurate diagnosis can be challenging due to the overlapping symptoms this condition shares with PTSD. Furthermore, mTBIs are heterogeneous and not easily observed using conventional neuroimaging tools, despite the fact that diffuse axonal injuries are the most common injury. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to diffuse axonal injuries and is thus more likely to detect mTBIs, especially when analyses account for the inter-individual variability of these injuries. Using a subject-specific approach, we compared fractional anisotropy (FA) abnormalities between groups with a history of mTBI (n = 35), comorbid mTBI and PTSD (mTBI + PTSD; n = 22), and healthy controls (n = 37). We compared all three groups on the number of abnormal FA clusters derived from subject-specific injury profiles (i.e., individual z-score maps) along a common white matter skeleton. The mTBI + PTSD group evinced a greater number of abnormally low FA clusters relative to both the healthy controls and the mTBI group without PTSD (p < .05). Across the groups with a history of mTBI, increased numbers of abnormally low FA clusters were significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity, depression, post-concussion symptoms, and reduced information processing speed (p < .05). These findings highlight the utility of subject-specific microstructural analyses when searching for mTBI-related brain abnormalities, particularly in patients with PTSD. This study also suggests that patients with a history of mTBI and comorbid PTSD, relative to those without PTSD, are at increased risk of FA abnormalities.
Zhang F, Savadjiev P, Cai W, Song Y, Rathi Y, Tunç B, Parker D, Kapur T, Schultz RT, Makris N, et al. Whole brain white matter connectivity analysis using machine learning: An application to autism. Neuroimage. 2018;172 :826-837.Abstract
In this paper, we propose an automated white matter connectivity analysis method for machine learning classification and characterization of white matter abnormality via identification of discriminative fiber tracts. The proposed method uses diffusion MRI tractography and a data-driven approach to find fiber clusters corresponding to subdivisions of the white matter anatomy. Features extracted from each fiber cluster describe its diffusion properties and are used for machine learning. The method is demonstrated by application to a pediatric neuroimaging dataset from 149 individuals, including 70 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 79 typically developing controls (TDC). A classification accuracy of 78.33% is achieved in this cross-validation study. We investigate the discriminative diffusion features based on a two-tensor fiber tracking model. We observe that the mean fractional anisotropy from the second tensor (associated with crossing fibers) is most affected in ASD. We also find that local along-tract (central cores and endpoint regions) differences between ASD and TDC are helpful in differentiating the two groups. These altered diffusion properties in ASD are associated with multiple robustly discriminative fiber clusters, which belong to several major white matter tracts including the corpus callosum, arcuate fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus and aslant tract; and the white matter structures related to the cerebellum, brain stem, and ventral diencephalon. These discriminative fiber clusters, a small part of the whole brain tractography, represent the white matter connections that could be most affected in ASD. Our results indicate the potential of a machine learning pipeline based on white matter fiber clustering.
Kelly S, Jahanshad N, Zalesky A, Kochunov P, Agartz I, Alloza C, Andreassen OA, Arango C, Banaj N, Bouix S, et al. Widespread white matter microstructural differences in schizophrenia across 4322 individuals: results from the ENIGMA Schizophrenia DTI Working Group. Mol Psychiatry. 2018;23 (5) :1261-9.Abstract
The regional distribution of white matter (WM) abnormalities in schizophrenia remains poorly understood, and reported disease effects on the brain vary widely between studies. In an effort to identify commonalities across studies, we perform what we believe is the first ever large-scale coordinated study of WM microstructural differences in schizophrenia. Our analysis consisted of 2359 healthy controls and 1963 schizophrenia patients from 29 independent international studies; we harmonized the processing and statistical analyses of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data across sites and meta-analyzed effects across studies. Significant reductions in fractional anisotropy (FA) in schizophrenia patients were widespread, and detected in 20 of 25 regions of interest within a WM skeleton representing all major WM fasciculi. Effect sizes varied by region, peaking at (d=0.42) for the entire WM skeleton, driven more by peripheral areas as opposed to the core WM where regions of interest were defined. The anterior corona radiata (d=0.40) and corpus callosum (d=0.39), specifically its body (d=0.39) and genu (d=0.37), showed greatest effects. Significant decreases, to lesser degrees, were observed in almost all regions analyzed. Larger effect sizes were observed for FA than diffusivity measures; significantly higher mean and radial diffusivity was observed for schizophrenia patients compared with controls. No significant effects of age at onset of schizophrenia or medication dosage were detected. As the largest coordinated analysis of WM differences in a psychiatric disorder to date, the present study provides a robust profile of widespread WM abnormalities in schizophrenia patients worldwide. Interactive three-dimensional visualization of the results is available at www.enigma-viewer.org.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 17 October 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.170.
2017
Diaz AA, Rahaghi FN, Doyle TJ, Young TP, Maclean ES, Martinez CH, San José Estépar R, Guerra S, Tesfaigzi Y, Rosas IO, et al. Differences in Respiratory Symptoms and Lung Structure Between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Smokers: A Comparative Study. Chronic Obstr Pulm Dis. 2017;4 (4) :297-304.Abstract
Prior studies have demonstrated that U.S. Hispanic smokers have a lower risk of decline in lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with non-Hispanic whites (NHW). This suggests there might be racial-ethnic differences in susceptibility in cigarette smoke-induced respiratory symptoms, lung parenchymal destruction, and airway and vascular disease, as well as in extra-pulmonary manifestations of COPD. Therefore, we aimed to explore respiratory symptoms, lung function, and pulmonary and extra-pulmonary structural changes in Hispanic and NHW smokers.We compared respiratory symptoms, lung function, and computed tomography (CT) measures of emphysema-like tissue, airway disease, the branching generation number (BGN) to reach a 2-mm-lumen-diameter airway, and vascular pruning as well as muscle and fat mass between 39 Hispanic and 39 sex-, age- and smoking exposure-matched NHW smokers.Hispanic smokers had higher odds of dyspnea than NHW after adjustment for COPD and asthma statuses (odds ratio[OR] = 2.96; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09-8.04), but no significant differences were found in lung function and CT measurements.While lung function and CT measures of the lung structure were similar, dyspnea is reported more frequently by Hispanic than matched-NHW smokers. It seems to be an impossible puzzle but it's easy to solve a Rubik' Cube using a few algorithms.

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