Reduced functional connectivity in the thalamo-insular subnetwork in patients with acute anorexia nervosa.
ABSTRACT: The neural underpinnings of anorexia nervosa (AN) are poorly understood. Results from existing functional brain imaging studies using disorder-relevant food- or body-stimuli have been heterogeneous and may be biased due to varying compliance or strategies of the participants. In this study, resting state functional connectivity imaging was used. To explore the distributed nature and complexity of brain function we characterized network patterns in patients with acute AN. Thirty-five unmedicated female acute AN patients and 35 closely matched healthy female participants underwent resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. We used a network-based statistic (NBS) approach [Zalesky et al., 2010a] to identify differences between groups by isolating a network of interconnected nodes with a deviant connectivity pattern. Group comparison revealed a subnetwork of connections with decreased connectivity including the amygdala, thalamus, fusiform gyrus, putamen and the posterior insula as the central hub in the patient group. Results were not driven by changes in intranodal or global connectivity. No network could be identified where AN patients had increased coupling. Given the known involvement of the identified thalamo-insular subnetwork in interoception, decreased connectivity in AN patients in these nodes might reflect changes in the propagation of sensations that alert the organism to urgent homeostatic imbalances and pain-processes that are known to be severely disturbed in AN and might explain the striking discrepancy between patient's actual and perceived internal body state.
Project description:To date, few functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have explored resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) in long-lasting anorexia nervosa (AN) patients via graph analysis. The aim of the present study is to investigate, via a graph approach (i.e., the network-based statistic), RSFC in a sample of adolescents at the earliest stages of AN (i.e., AN duration less than 6 months). Resting-state fMRI data was obtained from 15 treatment-naive female adolescents with AN restrictive type (AN-r) in its earliest stages and 15 age-matched healthy female controls. A network-based statistic analysis was used to isolate networks of interconnected nodes that differ between the two groups. Group comparison showed a decreased connectivity in a sub-network of connections encompassing the left and right rostral ACC, left paracentral lobule, left cerebellum (10th sub-division), left posterior insula, left medial fronto-orbital gyrus, and right superior occipital gyrus in AN patients. Results were not associated to alterations in intranodal or global connectivity. No sub-networks with an increased connectivity were identified in AN patients. Our findings suggest that RSFC may be specifically affected at the earliest stages of AN. Considering that the altered sub-network comprises areas mainly involved in somatosensory and interoceptive information and processing and in emotional processes, it could sustain abnormal integration of somatosensory and homeostatic signals, which may explain body image disturbances in AN. Further studies with larger samples and longitudinal designs are needed to confirm our findings and better understand the role and consequences of such functional alterations in AN.
Project description:Recently, the dimensional approach has attracted much attention, bringing a paradigm shift to a continuum of understanding of different psychiatric disorders. In line with this new paradigm, we examined whether there was common functional connectivity related to various psychiatric disorders in an unsupervised manner without explicitly using diagnostic label information. To this end, we uniquely applied a newly developed network-based multiple clustering method to resting-state functional connectivity data, which allowed us to identify pairs of relevant brain subnetworks and subject cluster solutions accordingly. Thus, we identified four subject clusters, which were characterized as major depressive disorder (MDD), young healthy control (young HC), schizophrenia (SCZ)/bipolar disorder (BD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), respectively, with the relevant brain subnetwork represented by the cerebellum-thalamus-pallidum-temporal circuit. The clustering results were validated using independent datasets. This study is the first cross-disorder analysis in the framework of unsupervised learning of functional connectivity based on a data-driven brain subnetwork.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Activating vestibular afferents via galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) has been recently shown to have a number of complex motor effects in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the basis of these improvements is unclear. The evaluation of network-level connectivity changes may provide us with greater insights into the mechanisms of GVS efficacy.<h4>Objective</h4>To test the effects of different GVS stimuli on brain subnetwork interactions in both health control (HC) and PD groups using fMRI.<h4>Methods</h4>FMRI data were collected for all participants at baseline (resting state) and under noisy, 1 Hz sinusoidal, and 70-200 Hz multisine GVS. All stimuli were given below sensory threshold, blinding subjects to stimulation. The subnetworks of 15 healthy controls and 27 PD subjects (on medication) were identified in their native space, and their subnetwork interactions were estimated by nonnegative canonical correlation analysis. We then determined if the inferred subnetwork interaction changes were affected by disease and stimulus type and if the stimulus-dependent GVS effects were influenced by demographic features.<h4>Results</h4>At baseline, interactions with the visual-cerebellar network were significantly decreased in the PD group. Sinusoidal and multisine GVS improved (i.e., made values approaching those seen in HC) subnetwork interactions more effectively than noisy GVS stimuli overall. Worsening disease severity, apathy, depression, impaired cognitive function, and increasing age all limited the beneficial effects of GVS.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Vestibular stimulation has widespread system-level brain influences and can improve subnetwork interactions in PD in a stimulus-dependent manner, with the magnitude of such effects associating with demographics and disease status.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by dysfunction in distributed functional brain networks. Previous studies have reported abnormal changes in static functional connectivity using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). However, the dynamic characteristics of brain networks in PD is still poorly understood. This study aimed to quantify the characteristics of dynamic functional connectivity in PD patients at nodal, intra- and inter-subnetwork levels. Resting-state fMRI data of a total of 42 PD patients and 40 normal controls (NCs) were investigated from the perspective of the temporal variability on the connectivity profiles across sliding windows. The results revealed that PD patients had greater nodal variability in precentral and postcentral area (in sensorimotor network, SMN), middle occipital gyrus (in visual network), putamen (in subcortical network) and cerebellum, compared with NCs. Furthermore, at the subnetwork level, PD patients had greater intra-network variability for the subcortical network, salience network and visual network, and distributed changes of inter-network variability across several subnetwork pairs. Specifically, the temporal variability within and between subcortical network and other cortical subnetworks involving SMN, visual, ventral and dorsal attention networks as well as cerebellum was positively associated with the severity of clinical symptoms in PD patients. Additionally, the increased inter-network variability of cerebellum-auditory pair was also correlated with clinical severity of symptoms in PD patients. These observations indicate that temporal variability can detect the distributed abnormalities of dynamic functional network of PD patients at nodal, intra- and inter-subnetwork scales, and may provide new insights into understanding PD.
Project description:The functional brain network has gained increased attention in the neuroscience community because of its ability to reveal the underlying architecture of human brain. In general, majority work of functional network connectivity is built based on the correlations between discrete-time-series signals that link only two different brain regions. However, these simple region-to-region connectivity models do not capture complex connectivity patterns between three or more brain regions that form a connectivity subnetwork, or subnetwork for short. To overcome this current limitation, a hypergraph learning-based method is proposed to identify subnetwork differences between two different cohorts. To achieve our goal, a hypergraph is constructed, where each vertex represents a subject and also a hyperedge encodes a subnetwork with similar functional connectivity patterns between different subjects. Unlike previous learning-based methods, our approach is designed to jointly optimize the weights for all hyperedges such that the learned representation is in consensus with the distribution of phenotype data, i.e. clinical labels. In order to suppress the spurious subnetwork biomarkers, we further enforce a sparsity constraint on the hyperedge weights, where a larger hyperedge weight indicates the subnetwork with the capability of identifying the disorder condition. We apply our hypergraph learning-based method to identify subnetwork biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis is performed, and the results show that our approach can correctly classify ASD and ADHD subjects from normal controls with 87.65 and 65.08% accuracies, respectively.
Project description:Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have been used extensively to investigate the brain areas that are recruited during the Tower of London (ToL) task. Nevertheless, little research has been devoted to study the neural correlates of the ToL task using a network approach. Here we investigated the association between functional connectivity and network topology during resting-state fMRI and ToL task performance, that was performed outside the scanner. Sixty-two (62) healthy subjects (21-74 years) underwent eyes-closed rsfMRI and performed the task on a laptop. We studied global (whole-brain) and within subnetwork resting-state topology as well as functional connectivity between subnetworks, with a focus on the default-mode, fronto-parietal and dorsal and ventral attention networks. Efficiency and clustering coefficient were calculated to measure network integration and segregation, respectively, at both the global and subnetwork level. Our main finding was that higher global efficiency was associated with slower performance (??=?0.22, P<sub>bca</sub>?=?0.04) and this association seemed mainly driven by inter-individual differences in default-mode network connectivity. The reported results were independent of age, sex, education-level and motion. Although this finding is contrary to earlier findings on general cognition, we tentatively hypothesize that the reported association may indicate that individuals with a more integrated brain during the resting-state are less able to further increase network efficiency when transitioning from a rest to task state, leading to slower responses. This study also adds to a growing body of literature supporting a central role for the default-mode network in individual differences in cognitive performance.
Project description:Objective:Benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS, also known as Rolandic epilepsy) is a common epilepsy syndrome that is associated with literacy and language impairments. The neural mechanisms of the syndrome are not known. The primary objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that functional connectivity within the language network is decreased in children with BECTS. We also tested the hypothesis that siblings of children with BECTS have similar abnormalities. Methods:Echo planar magnetic resonance (MR) imaging data were acquired from 25 children with BECTS, 12 siblings, and 20 healthy controls, at rest. After preprocessing with particular attention to intrascan motion, the mean signal was extracted from each of 90 regions of interest. Sparse, undirected graphs were constructed from adjacency matrices consisting of Spearman's rank correlation coefficients. Global and nodal graph metrics and subnetwork and pairwise connectivity were compared between groups. Results:There were no significant differences in graph metrics between groups. Children with BECTS had decreased functional connectivity relative to controls within a four-node subnetwork, which consisted of the left inferior frontal gyrus, the left superior frontal gyrus, the left supramarginal gyrus, and the right inferior parietal lobe (p = 0.04). A similar but nonsignificant decrease was also observed for the siblings. The BECTS groups had significant increases in connectivity within a five-node, five-edge frontal subnetwork. Significance:The results provide further evidence of decreased functional connectivity between key mediators of speech processing, language, and reading in children with BECTS. We hypothesize that these decreases reflect delayed lateralization of the language network and contribute to specific cognitive impairments.
Project description:Sex steroid hormones have been shown to alter regional brain activity, but the extent to which they modulate connectivity within and between large-scale functional brain networks over time has yet to be characterized. Here, we applied dynamic community detection techniques to data from a highly sampled female with 30 consecutive days of brain imaging and venipuncture measurements to characterize changes in resting-state community structure across the menstrual cycle. Four stable functional communities were identified, consisting of nodes from visual, default mode, frontal control, and somatomotor networks. Limbic, subcortical, and attention networks exhibited higher than expected levels of nodal flexibility, a hallmark of between-network integration and transient functional reorganization. The most striking reorganization occurred in a default mode subnetwork localized to regions of the prefrontal cortex, coincident with peaks in serum levels of estradiol, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone. Nodes from these regions exhibited strong intranetwork increases in functional connectivity, leading to a split in the stable default mode core community and the transient formation of a new functional community. Probing the spatiotemporal basis of human brain-hormone interactions with dynamic community detection suggests that hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle result in temporary, localized patterns of brain network reorganization.
Project description:Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have documented the resting human brain to be functionally organized in multiple large-scale networks, called resting-state networks (RSNs). Other brain imaging techniques, such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), have been used for investigating the electrophysiological basis of RSNs. To date, it is largely unclear how neural oscillations measured with EEG and MEG are related to functional connectivity in the resting state. In addition, it remains to be elucidated whether and how the observed neural oscillations are related to the spatial distribution of the network nodes over the cortex. To address these questions, we examined frequency-dependent functional connectivity between the main nodes of several RSNs, spanning large part of the cortex. We estimated connectivity using band-limited power correlations from high-density EEG data collected in healthy participants. We observed that functional interactions within RSNs are characterized by a specific combination of neuronal oscillations in the alpha (8-13?Hz), beta (13-30?Hz), and gamma (30-80?Hz) bands, which highly depend on the position of the network nodes. This finding may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which neural oscillations support functional connectivity in the brain.
Project description:Humans process faces by using a network of face-selective regions distributed across the brain. Neuropsychological patient studies demonstrate that focal damage to nodes in this network can impair face recognition, but such patients are rare. We approximated the effects of damage to the face network in neurologically normal human participants by using theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS). Multi-echo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) resting-state data were collected pre- and post-TBS delivery over the face-selective right superior temporal sulcus (rpSTS), or a control site in the right motor cortex. Results showed that TBS delivered over the rpSTS reduced resting-state connectivity across the extended face processing network. This connectivity reduction was observed not only between the rpSTS and other face-selective areas, but also between nonstimulated face-selective areas across the ventral, medial, and lateral brain surfaces (e.g., between the right amygdala and bilateral fusiform face areas and occipital face areas). TBS delivered over the motor cortex did not produce significant changes in resting-state connectivity across the face processing network. These results demonstrate that, even without task-induced fMRI signal changes, disrupting a single node in a brain network can decrease the functional connectivity between nodes in that network that have not been directly stimulated.