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1.  Relationship of Trauma Symptoms to Amygdala-Based Functional Brain Changes in Adolescents 
Journal of traumatic stress  2013;26(6):784-787.
In this pilot study, amygdala connectivity related to trauma symptoms was explored using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI) in 23 healthy adolescents ages 13–17 years with no psychiatric diagnoses. Adolescents completed a self-report trauma symptom checklist and a R-fMRI scan. We examined the relationship of trauma symptoms to resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala. Increasing self-report of trauma symptoms by adolescents was associated with increasing functional connectivity with the right amygdala and a local limbic cluster and decreasing functional connectivity with the amygdala and a long-range frontoparietal cluster to the left amygdala, which can be a hallmark of immaturity. These pilot findings in adolescents provide preliminary evidence that even mild trauma symptoms can be linked to the configuration of brain networks associated with the amygdala.
PMCID: PMC4073800  PMID: 24343754
2.  Extracting information from functional connectivity maps via function-on-scalar regression 
NeuroImage  2011;56(1):140-148.
Functional connectivity of an individual human brain is often studied by acquiring a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, and mapping the correlation of each voxel’s BOLD time series with that of a seed region. As large collections of such maps become available, including multisite data sets, there is an increasing need for ways to distill the information in these maps in a readily visualized form. Here we propose a two-step analytic strategy. First, we construct connectivity-distance profiles, which summarize the connectivity of each voxel in the brain as a function of distance from the seed, a functional relationship that has attracted much recent interest. Next, these profile functions are regressed on predictors of interest, whether categorical (e.g., acquisition site or diagnostic group) or continuous (e.g., age). This procedure can provide insight into the roles of multiple sources of variation, and detect large-scale patterns not easily available from conventional analyses. We illustrate the proposed methods with a resting state data set pooled across four imaging sites.
PMCID: PMC3074471  PMID: 21296165
functional connectivity; functional data analysis; model selection; quantile regression; resting state; seed region
3.  The NKI-Rockland Sample: A Model for Accelerating the Pace of Discovery Science in Psychiatry 
The National Institute of Mental Health strategic plan for advancing psychiatric neuroscience calls for an acceleration of discovery and the delineation of developmental trajectories for risk and resilience across the lifespan. To attain these objectives, sufficiently powered datasets with broad and deep phenotypic characterization, state-of-the-art neuroimaging, and genetic samples must be generated and made openly available to the scientific community. The enhanced Nathan Kline Institute-Rockland Sample (NKI-RS) is a response to this need. NKI-RS is an ongoing, institutionally centered endeavor aimed at creating a large-scale (N > 1000), deeply phenotyped, community-ascertained, lifespan sample (ages 6–85 years old) with advanced neuroimaging and genetics. These data will be publically shared, openly, and prospectively (i.e., on a weekly basis). Herein, we describe the conceptual basis of the NKI-RS, including study design, sampling considerations, and steps to synchronize phenotypic and neuroimaging assessment. Additionally, we describe our process for sharing the data with the scientific community while protecting participant confidentiality, maintaining an adequate database, and certifying data integrity. The pilot phase of the NKI-RS, including challenges in recruiting, characterizing, imaging, and sharing data, is discussed while also explaining how this experience informed the final design of the enhanced NKI-RS. It is our hope that familiarity with the conceptual underpinnings of the enhanced NKI-RS will facilitate harmonization with future data collection efforts aimed at advancing psychiatric neuroscience and nosology.
PMCID: PMC3472598  PMID: 23087608
fMRI; DTI; lifespan; brain; phenotype; psychiatry; discovery; open science
4.  Age-related differences in the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in attentional control 
Brain and cognition  2009;71(3):328-335.
We investigated the relative involvement of cortical regions supporting attentional control in older and younger adults during performance on a modified version of the Stroop task. Participants were exposed to two different types of incongruent trials. One of these, an incongruent-ineligible condition, produces conflict at the non-response level, while the second, an incongruent-eligible condition, produces conflict at both non-response and response levels of information processing. Greater attentional control is needed to perform the incongruent-eligible condition compared to other conditions. We examined the cortical recruitment associated with this task in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm in twenty-five older and twenty-five younger adults. Our results indicated that while younger adults demonstrated an increase in the activation of cortical regions responsible for maintaining attentional control in response to increased levels of conflict, such sensitivity and flexibility of the cortical regions to increased attentional control demands was absent in older adults. These results suggest a limitation in older adults’ capabilities for flexibly recruiting the attentional network in response to increasing attentional demands.
PMCID: PMC2783271  PMID: 19699019
attentional control; aging; fMRI; flexibility; Stroop task; interference; inhibition
5.  Top-down attentional control in spatially coincident stimuli enhances activity in both task-relevant and task-irrelevant regions of cortex 
Behavioural brain research  2008;197(1):186-197.
Models of selective attention predict that focused attention to spatially contiguous stimuli may result in enhanced activity in areas of cortex specialized for processing task-relevant and task-irrelevant information. We examined this hypothesis by localizing color-sensitive areas (CSA) and word and letter sensitive areas of cortex and then examining modulation of these regions during performance of a modified version of the Stroop task in which target and distractors are spatially coincident. We report that only the incongruent condition with the highest cognitive demand showed increased activity in CSA relative to other conditions, indicating an attentional enhancement in target processing areas. We also found an enhancement of activity in one region sensitive to word/letter processing during the most cognitively demanding incongruent condition indicating greater processing of the distractor dimension. Correlations with performance revealed that top-down modulation during the task was critical for effective filtering of irrelevant information in conflict conditions. These results support predictions made by models of selective attention and suggest an important mechanism of top-down attentional control in spatially contiguous stimuli.
PMCID: PMC2845993  PMID: 18804123
Attentional control; Top-down modulation; Stroop task; Color-sensitive; Visual word form area
6.  Greater intake of vitamins B6 and B12 spares gray matter in healthy elderly: a voxel-based morphometry study 
Brain research  2008;1199:20-26.
Previous studies have reported that high concentrations of homocysteine and lower concentrations of vitamin B6, B12, and folate increase the risk for cognitive decline and pathology in aging populations. In this cross-sectional study, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and a 3-day food diary were collected on 32 community-dwelling adults between the ages of 59 and 79. We examined the relation between vitamin B6, B12, and folate intake on cortical volume using an optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) method and global gray and white matter volume after correcting for age, sex, body mass index, calorie intake, and education. All participants met or surpassed the recommended daily intake for these vitamins. In the VBM analysis, we found that adults with greater vitamin B6 intake had greater gray matter volume along the medial wall, anterior cingulate cortex, medial parietal cortex, middle temporal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus, whereas people with greater B12 intake had greater volume in the left and right superior parietal sulcus. These effects were driven by vitamin supplementation and were negated when only examining vitamin intake from diet. Folate had no effect on brain volume. Furthermore, there was no relationship between vitamin B6, B12, or folate intake on global brain volume measures, indicating that VBM methods are more sensitive for detecting localized differences in gray matter volume than global measures. These results are discussed in relation to a growing literature on vitamin intake on age-related neurocognitive deterioration.
PMCID: PMC2323025  PMID: 18281020
homocysteine; VBM; aging; brain; MRI; vitamin B6; vitamin B12

Results 1-6 (6)