An fMRI investigation of the relationship between future imagination and cognitive flexibility.
ABSTRACT: While future imagination is largely considered to be a cognitive process grounded in default mode network activity, studies have shown that future imagination recruits regions in both default mode and frontoparietal control networks. In addition, it has recently been shown that the ability to imagine the future is associated with cognitive flexibility, and that tasks requiring cognitive flexibility result in increased coupling of the default mode network with frontoparietal control and salience networks. In the current study, we investigated the neural correlates underlying the association between cognitive flexibility and future imagination in two ways. First, we experimentally varied the degree of cognitive flexibility required during future imagination by manipulating the disparateness of episodic details contributing to imagined events. To this end, participants generated episodic details (persons, locations, objects) within three social spheres; during fMRI scanning they were presented with sets of three episodic details all taken from the same social sphere (Congruent condition) or different social spheres (Incongruent condition) and required to imagine a future event involving the three details. We predicted that, relative to the Congruent condition, future simulation in the Incongruent condition would be associated with increased activity in regions of the default mode, frontoparietal and salience networks. Second, we hypothesized that individual differences in cognitive flexibility, as measured by performance on the Alternate Uses Task, would correspond to individual differences in the brain regions recruited during future imagination. A task partial least squares (PLS) analysis showed that the Incongruent condition resulted in an increase in activity in regions in salience networks (e.g. the insula) but, contrary to our prediction, reduced activity in many regions of the default mode network (including the hippocampus). A subsequent functional connectivity (within-subject seed PLS) analysis showed that the insula exhibited increased coupling with default mode regions during the Incongruent condition. Finally, a behavioral PLS analysis showed that individual differences in cognitive flexibility were associated with differences in activity in a number of regions from frontoparietal, salience and default-mode networks during both future imagination conditions, further highlighting that the cognitive flexibility underlying future imagination is grounded in the complex interaction of regions in these networks.
Project description:Humans inevitably go through various stressful events, which initiates a chain of neuroendocrine reactions that may affect brain functions and lead to psychopathological symptoms. Previous studies have shown stress-induced changes in activation of individual brain regions or pairwise inter-regional connectivity. However, it remains unclear how large-scale brain network is reconfigured in response to stress. Using a within-subjects design, we combined the Trier Social Stress Test and graph theoretical method to characterize stress-induced topological alterations of brain functional network. Modularity analysis revealed that the brain network can be divided into frontoparietal, default mode, occipital, subcortical, and central-opercular modules under control and stress conditions, corresponding to several well-known functional systems underpinning cognitive control, self-referential mental processing, visual, salience processing, sensory and motor functions. While the frontoparietal module functioned as a connector module under stress, its within-module connectivity was weakened. The default mode module lost its connector function and its within-module connectivity was enhanced under stress. Moreover, stress altered the capacity to control over information flow in a few regions important for salience processing and self-referential metal processing. Furthermore, there was a trend of negative correlation between modularity and stress response magnitude. These findings demonstrate that acute stress prompts large-scale brain-wide reconfiguration involving multiple functional modules.
Project description:Background:Migraine is frequently comorbid with restless legs syndrome (RLS), both displaying functional connectivity (FC) alterations in multiple brain networks, although the neurological basis of this association is unknown. Methods:We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and network-wise analysis of FC in migraine patients with and without RLS and healthy controls (CRL). Network-based statistics (NBS) and composite FC matrix analyses were performed to identify the patterns of FC changes. Correlation analyses were performed to identify associations between alterations in FC and clinical profiles. Results:NBS results revealed that both migraine patients with and without RLS exhibited lower FC than CRL in the dorsal attention, salience, default mode, cingulo-opercular, visual, frontoparietal, auditory, and sensory/somatomotor networks. Further composite FC matrix analyses revealed differences in FC of the salience, default mode to subcortical and frontoparietal, auditory to salience, and memory retrieval networks between migraine patients with and without RLS. There was a trend toward a negative association between RLS severity and cross-network abnormalities in the default mode to subcortical network. Discussion:Migraine patients with and without RLS exhibit disruptions of brain FC. Such findings suggest that these disorders are associated with differential neuropathological mechanisms and may aid in the future development of neuroimaging-driven biomarkers for these conditions.
Project description:Previous studies on brain functional connectivity networks in children have mainly focused on changes in function in specific brain regions, as opposed to whole brain connectivity in healthy children. By analyzing the independent components of activation and network connectivity between brain regions, we examined brain activity status and development trends in children aged 3 and 5 years. These data could provide a reference for brain function rehabilitation in children with illness or abnormal function. We acquired functional magnetic resonance images from 15 3-year-old children and 15 5-year-old children under natural sleep conditions. The participants were recruited from five kindergartens in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen City, China. The parents of the participants signed an informed consent form with the premise that they had been fully informed regarding the experimental protocol. We used masked independent component analysis and BrainNet Viewer software to explore the independent components of the brain and correlation connections between brain regions. We identified seven independent components in the two groups of children, including the executive control network, the dorsal attention network, the default mode network, the left frontoparietal network, the right frontoparietal network, the salience network, and the motor network. In the default mode network, the posterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal gyrus, and inferior parietal lobule were activated in both 3- and 5-year-old children, supporting the "three-brain region theory" of the default mode network. In the frontoparietal network, the frontal and parietal gyri were activated in the two groups of children, and functional connectivity was strengthened in 5-year-olds compared with 3-year-olds, although the nodes and network connections were not yet mature. The high-correlation network connections in the default mode networks and dorsal attention networks had been significantly strengthened in 5-year-olds vs. 3-year-olds. Further, the salience network in the 3-year-old children included an activated insula/inferior frontal gyrus-anterior cingulate cortex network circuit and an activated thalamus-parahippocampal-posterior cingulate cortex-subcortical regions network circuit. By the age of 5 years, nodes and high-correlation network connections (edges) were reduced in the salience network. Overall, activation of the dorsal attention network, default mode network, left frontoparietal network, and right frontoparietal network increased (the volume of activation increased, the signals strengthened, and the high-correlation connections increased and strengthened) in 5-year-olds compared with 3-year-olds, but activation in some brain nodes weakened or disappeared in the salience network, and the network connections (edges) were reduced. Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, we observed a tendency for function in some brain regions to be strengthened and for the generalization of activation to be reduced, indicating that specialization begins to develop at this time. The study protocol was approved by the local ethics committee of the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in China with approval No. SIAT-IRB-131115-H0075 on November 15, 2013.
Project description:A core brain network is engaged in remembering the past and envisioning the future. This network overlaps with the so-called default-mode network, the activity of which increases when demands for focused attention are low. Because of their shared brain substrates, an intriguing hypothesis is that default-mode activity, measured at rest, is related to performance in separate attention-focused recall and imagination tasks. However, we do not know how functional connectivity of the default-mode network is related to individual differences in reconstruction of the past and imagination of the future. Here, we show that functional connectivity of the default-mode network in children and adolescents is related to the quality of past remembering and marginally to future imagination. These results corroborate previous findings of a common neuronal substrate for memory and imagination and provide evidence suggesting that mental time travel is modulated by the task-independent functional architecture of the default-mode network in the developing brain. A further analysis showed that local cortical arealization also contributed to explain recall of the past and imagination of the future, underscoring the benefits of studying both functional and structural properties to understand the brain basis for complex human cognition.
Project description:One of the keys to understanding scholastic success is to determine the neural processes involved in school performance. The present study is the first to use a whole-brain connectivity approach to explore whether functional connectivity of resting state brain networks is associated with scholastic performance in seventy-four 7- to 9-year-old children. We demonstrate that children with higher scholastic performance across reading, math and language have more integrated and interconnected resting state networks, specifically the default mode network, salience network, and frontoparietal network. To add specificity, core regions of the dorsal attention and visual networks did not relate to scholastic performance. The results extend the cognitive role of brain networks in children as well as suggest the importance of network connectivity in scholastic success.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Baseline rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) activity is a well-replicated nonspecific predictor of depression improvement. The rACC is a key hub of the default mode network, which prior studies indicate is hyperactive in major depressive disorder. Because default mode network downregulation is reliant on input from the salience network and frontoparietal network, an important question is whether rACC connectivity with these systems contributes to depression improvement. METHODS:Our study evaluated this hypothesis in outpatients (N = 238; 151 female) enrolled in the Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care (EMBARC) 8-week randomized clinical trial of sertraline versus placebo for major depressive disorder. Depression severity was measured using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and electroencephalography was recorded at baseline and week 1. Exact low-resolution electromagnetic tomography was used to compute activity from the rACC, and key regions within the default mode network (posterior cingulate cortex), frontoparietal network (left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), and salience network (right anterior insula [rAI]). Connectivity in the theta band (4.5-7 Hz) and beta band (12.5-21 Hz) was computed using lagged phase synchronization. RESULTS:Stronger baseline theta-band rACC-rAI (salience network hub) connectivity predicted greater depression improvement across 8 weeks of treatment for both treatment arms (B = -0.57, 95% confidence interval = -1.07, -0.08, p = .03). Early increases in theta-band rACC-rAI connectivity predicted greater likelihood of achieving remission at week 8 (odds ratio = 2.90, p = .03). CONCLUSIONS:Among patients undergoing treatment, theta-band rACC-rAI connectivity is a prognostic, albeit treatment-nonspecific, indicator of depression improvement, and early connectivity changes may predict clinically meaningful outcomes.
Project description:To examine the utility of resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) measurements of network integrity as a predictor of future cognitive decline in preclinical Alzheimer disease (AD).A total of 237 clinically normal older adults (aged 63-90 years, Clinical Dementia Rating 0) underwent baseline ?-amyloid (A?) imaging with Pittsburgh compound B PET and structural and rs-fcMRI. We identified 7 networks for analysis, including 4 cognitive networks (default, salience, dorsal attention, and frontoparietal control) and 3 noncognitive networks (primary visual, extrastriate visual, motor). Using linear and curvilinear mixed models, we used baseline connectivity in these networks to predict longitudinal changes in preclinical Alzheimer cognitive composite (PACC) performance, both alone and interacting with A? burden. Median neuropsychological follow-up was 3 years.Baseline connectivity in the default, salience, and control networks predicted longitudinal PACC decline, unlike connectivity in the dorsal attention and all noncognitive networks. Default, salience, and control network connectivity was also synergistic with A? burden in predicting decline, with combined higher A? and lower connectivity predicting the steepest curvilinear decline in PACC performance.In clinically normal older adults, lower functional connectivity predicted more rapid decline in PACC scores over time, particularly when coupled with increased A? burden. Among examined networks, default, salience, and control networks were the strongest predictors of rate of change in PACC scores, with the inflection point of greatest decline beyond the fourth year of follow-up. These results suggest that rs-fcMRI may be a useful predictor of early, AD-related cognitive decline in clinical research settings.
Project description:The etiology and maintenance of insomnia are proposed to be associated with increased cognitive and physiological arousal caused by acute stressors and associated cognitive rumination. A core feature of such hyperarousal theory of insomnia involves increased sensory processing that interferes with the onset and maintenance of sleep. In this work, we collected structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 35 patients with primary insomnia and 35 normal sleepers and applied structural covariance analysis to investigate whether insomnia is associated with disruptions in structural brain networks centered at the sensory regions (primary visual, primary auditory, and olfactory cortex). As expected, insomnia patients showed increased structural covariance in cortical thickness between sensory and motor regions. We also observed trends of increased covariance between sensory regions and the default-mode network, and the salience network regions, and trends of decreased covariance between sensory regions and the frontoparietal working memory network regions, in insomnia patients. The observed changes in structural covariance tended to correlated with poor sleep quality. Our findings support previous functional neuroimaging studies and provide novel insights into variations in brain network configuration that may be involved in the pathophysiology of insomnia.
Project description:Successful performance of challenging cognitive tasks depends on a consistent functional segregation of activity within the default-mode network, on the one hand, and control networks encompassing frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular areas on the other. Recent work, however, has suggested that in some cognitive control contexts nodes within the default-mode and control networks may actually cooperate to achieve optimal task performance. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine whether the ability to relate variables while solving a cognitive reasoning problem involves transient increases in connectivity between default-mode and control regions. Participants performed a modified version of the classic Wason selection task, in which the number of variables to be related is systematically varied across trials. As expected, areas within the default-mode network showed a parametric deactivation with increases in relational complexity, compared with neural activity in null trials. Critically, some of these areas also showed enhanced connectivity with task-positive control regions. Specifically, task-based connectivity between the striatum and the angular gyri, and between the thalamus and right temporal pole, increased as a function of relational complexity. These findings challenge the notion that functional segregation between regions within default-mode and control networks invariably support cognitive task performance, and reveal previously unknown roles for the striatum and thalamus in managing network dynamics during cognitive reasoning.
Project description:Aerobic training (AT) is a promising intervention to improve cognitive functioning. However, its modulatory effects on brain networks are not yet entirely understood. Sixty-five subjects with mild cognitive impairment performed a moderate intensity, 24-week AT program. Differences in resting regional brain glucose metabolism (rBGM) with FDG-PET were assessed before and after AT on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Structural equation modeling was used to create latent variables based on regions with significant rBGM changes and to test a hypothetical model about the inter-relationships between these changes. There were significant rBGM reductions in both anterior temporal lobes (ATL), left inferior frontal gyrus, left anterior cingulate cortex, right hippocampus, left meddle frontal gyrus and bilateral caudate nuclei. In contrast, there was an increase in rBGM in the right precuneus and left inferior frontal gyrus. Latent variables reflecting the salience network and ATL were created, while the precuneus represented the default mode network. In the model, salience network rBGM was decreased after AT. In contrast, rBGM in the default mode network increased as a final outcome. This result suggested improved salience network efficacy and increased control over other brain functional networks. The ATL network decreased its rBGM and connected to the salience network and default mode network with positive and negative correlations, respectively. The model fit values reached statistical significance, demonstrating that this model explained the variance in the measured data. In mild cognitive impairment subjects, AT modulated rBGM in salience network and default mode network nodes. Such changes were in the direction of the normally expected resting-state metabolic patterns of these networks.