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(1/44946) Visual perception: mind and brain see eye to eye.

Recent functional imaging studies have identified neural activity that is closely associated with the perception of illusory motion. The mapping of the mind onto the bin appears to be one-to-one: activity in visual 'motion area' MT is highly correlated with perceptual experience.  (+info)

(2/44946) Physiological characteristics of capacity constraints in working memory as revealed by functional MRI.

A fundamental characteristic of working memory is that its capacity to handle information is limited. While there have been many brain mapping studies of working memory, the physiological basis of its capacity limitation has not been explained. We identified characteristics of working memory capacity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in healthy subjects. Working memory capacity was studied using a parametric 'n-back' working memory task involving increasing cognitive load and ultimately decreasing task performance. Loci within dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) evinced exclusively an 'inverted-U' shaped neurophysiological response from lowest to highest load, consistent with a capacity-constrained response. Regions outside of DLPFC, in contrast, were more heterogeneous in response and often showed early plateau or continuously increasing responses, which did not reflect capacity constraints. However, sporadic loci, including in the premotor cortex, thalamus and superior parietal lobule, also demonstrated putative capacity-constrained responses, perhaps arising as an upstream effect of DLPFC limitations or as part of a broader network-wide capacity limitation. These results demonstrate that regionally specific nodes within the working memory network are capacity-constrained in the physiological domain, providing a missing link in current explorations of the capacity characteristics of working memory.  (+info)

(3/44946) Signal-, set- and movement-related activity in the human brain: an event-related fMRI study.

Electrophysiological studies on monkeys have been able to distinguish sensory and motor signals close in time by pseudorandomly delaying the cue that instructs the movement from the stimulus that triggers the movement. We have used a similar experimental design in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scanning subjects while they performed a visuomotor conditional task with instructed delays. One of four shapes was presented briefly. Two shapes instructed the subjects to flex the index finger; the other two shapes coded the flexion of the middle finger. The subjects were told to perform the movement after a tone. We have exploited a novel use of event-related fMRI. By systematically varying the interval between the visual and acoustic stimuli, it has been possible to estimate the significance of the evoked haemodynamic response (EHR) to each of the stimuli, despite their temporal proximity in relation to the time constant of the EHR. Furthermore, by varying the phase between events and image acquisition, we have been able to achieve high temporal resolution while scanning the whole brain. We dissociated sensory and motor components of the sensorimotor transformations elicited by the task, and assessed sustained activity during the instructed delays. In calcarine and occipitotemporal cortex, the responses were exclusively associated with the visual instruction cues. In temporal auditory cortex and in primary motor cortex, they were exclusively associated with the auditory trigger stimulus. In ventral prefrontal cortex there were movement-related responses preceded by preparatory activity and by signal-related activity. Finally, responses associated with the instruction cue and with sustained activity during the delay period were observed in the dorsal premotor cortex and in the dorsal posterior parietal cortex. Where the association between a visual cue and the appropriate movement is arbitrary, the underlying visuomotor transformations are not achieved exclusively through frontoparietal interactions. Rather, these processes seem to rely on the ventral visual stream, the ventral prefrontal cortex and the anterior part of the dorsal premotor cortex.  (+info)

(4/44946) Transient and permanent deficits in motion perception after lesions of cortical areas MT and MST in the macaque monkey.

We examined the nature and the selectivity of the motion deficits produced by lesions of extrastriate areas MT and MST. Lesions were made by injecting ibotenic acid into the representation of the left visual field in two macaque monkeys. The monkeys discriminated two stimuli that differed either in stimulus direction or orientation. Direction and orientation discrimination were assessed by measuring thresholds with gratings and random-dots placed in the intact or lesioned visual fields. At the start of behavioral testing, we found pronounced, motion-specific deficits in thresholds for all types of moving stimuli, including pronounced elevations in contrast thresholds and in signal-to-noise thresholds measured with moving gratings, as well as deficits in direction range thresholds and motion coherence measured with random-dot stimuli. In addition, the accuracy of direction discrimination was reduced at smaller spatial displacements (i.e. step sizes), suggesting an increase in spatial scale of the residual directional mechanism. Subsequent improvements in thresholds were seen with all motion stimuli, as behavioral training progressed, and these improvements occurred only with extensive behavioral testing in the lesioned visual field. These improvements were particularly pronounced for stimuli not masked by noise. On the other hand, deficits in the ability to extract motion from noisy stimuli and in the accuracy of direction discrimination persisted despite extensive behavioral training. These results demonstrate the importance of areas MT and MST for the perception of motion direction, particularly in the presence of noise. In addition, they provide evidence for the importance of behavioral training for functional recovery after cortical lesions. The data also strongly support the idea of functional specialization of areas MT and MST for motion processing.  (+info)

(5/44946) Integrated visualization of functional and anatomic brain data: a validation study.

Two-dimensional SPECT display and three methods for integrated visualization of SPECT and MRI patient data are evaluated in a multiobserver study to determine whether localization of functional data can be improved by adding anatomical information to the display. METHODS: SPECT and MRI data of 30 patients were gathered and presented using four types of display: one of SPECT in isolation, two integrated two-dimensional displays and one integrated three-dimensional display. Cold and hot spots in the peripheral cortex were preselected and indicated on black-and-white hard copies of the image data. Nuclear medicine physicians were asked to assign the corresponding spots in the image data on the computer screen to a lobe and a gyrus and give a confidence rating for both localizations. Interobserver agreement using kappa statistics and average confidence ratings were assessed to interpret the reported observations. RESULTS: Both the interobserver agreement and the confidence of the observers were greater for the integrated two-dimensional displays than for the two-dimensional SPECT display. An additional increase in agreement and confidence was seen with the integrated three-dimensional display. CONCLUSION: Integrated display of SPECT and MR brain images provides better localization of cerebral blood perfusion abnormalities in the peripheral cortex in relation to the anatomy of the brain than single-modality display and increases the confidence of the observer.  (+info)

(6/44946) Anatomic validation of spatial normalization methods for PET.

Spatial normalization methods, which are indispensable for intersubject analysis in current PET studies, have been improved in many aspects. These methods have not necessarily been evaluated as anatomic normalization methods because PET images are functional images. However, in view of the close relation between brain function and morphology, it is very intriguing how precisely normalized brains coincide with each other. In this report, the anatomic precision of spatial normalization is validated with three different methods. METHODS: Four PET centers in Japan participated in this study. In each center, six normal subjects were recruited for both H2(15)O-PET and high-resolution MRI studies. Variations in the location of the anterior commissure (AC) and size and contours of the brain and the courses of major sulci were measured in spatially normalized MR images for each method. Spatial normalization was performed as follows. (a) Linear: The AC-posterior commissure and midsagittal plane were identified on MRI and the size of the brain was adjusted to the Talairach space in each axis using linear parameters. (b) Human brain atlas (HBA): Atlas structures were manually adjusted to MRI to determine linear and nonlinear transformation parameters and then MRI was transformed with the inverse of these parameters. (c) Statistical parametric mapping (SPM) 95: PET images were transformed into the template PET image with linear and nonlinear parameters in a least-squares manner. Then, coregistered MR images were transformed with the same parameters used for the PET transformation. RESULTS: The AC was well registered in all methods. The size of the brain normalized with SPM95 varied to a greater extent than with other approaches. Larger variance in contours was observed with the linear method. Only SPM95 showed significant superiority to the linear method when the courses of major sulci were compared. CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that SPM95 is as effective a spatial normalization as HBA, although it does not use anatomic images. Large variance in structures other than the AC and size of the brain in the linear method suggests the necessity of nonlinear transformations for effective spatial normalization. Operator dependency of HBA also must be considered.  (+info)

(7/44946) Genetic influences on cervical and lumbar disc degeneration: a magnetic resonance imaging study in twins.

OBJECTIVE: Degenerative intervertebral disc disease is common; however, the importance of genetic factors is unknown. This study sought to determine the extent of genetic influences on disc degeneration by classic twin study methods using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). METHODS: We compared MRI features of degenerative disc disease in the cervical and lumbar spine of 172 monozygotic and 154 dizygotic twins (mean age 51.7 and 54.4, respectively) who were unselected for back pain or disc disease. An overall score for disc degeneration was calculated as the sum of the grades for disc height, bulge, osteophytosis, and signal intensity at each level. A "severe disease" score (excluding minor grades) and an "extent of disease" score (number of levels affected) were also calculated. RESULTS: For the overall score, heritability was 74% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 64-81%) at the lumbar spine and 73% (95% CI 64-80%) at the cervical spine. For "severe disease," heritability was 64% and 79% at the lumbar and cervical spine, respectively, and for "extent of disease," heritability was 63% and 63%, respectively. These results were adjusted for age, weight, height, smoking, occupational manual work, and exercise. Examination of individual features revealed that disc height and bulge were highly heritable at both sites, and osteophytes were heritable in the lumbar spine. CONCLUSION: These results suggest an important genetic influence on variation in intervertebral disc degeneration. However, variation in disc signal is largely influenced by environmental factors shared by twins. The use of MRI scans to determine the phenotype in family and population studies should allow a better understanding of disease mechanisms and the identification of the genes involved.  (+info)

(8/44946) The effect of face inversion on activity in human neural systems for face and object perception.

The differential effect of stimulus inversion on face and object recognition suggests that inverted faces are processed by mechanisms for the perception of other objects rather than by face perception mechanisms. We investigated the face inversion using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The principal effect of face inversion on was an increased response in ventral extrastriate regions that respond preferentially to another class of objects (houses). In contrast, house inversion did not produce a similar change in face-selective regions. Moreover, stimulus inversion had equivalent, minimal effects for faces in in face-selective regions and for houses in house-selective regions. The results suggest that the failure of face perception systems with inverted faces leads to the recruitment of processing resources in object perception systems, but this failure is not reflected by altered activity in face perception systems.  (+info)