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Resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) has recently revealed correlated signals in the spinal cord horns of monkeys and humans. However, the interpretation of these rsfMRI correlations as indicators of functional connectivity in the spinal cord remains unclear. Here, we recorded stimulus-evoked and spontaneous spiking activity and local field potentials (LFPs) from monkey spinal cord in order to validate fMRI measures. We found that both BOLD and electrophysiological signals elicited by tactile stimulation co-localized to the ipsilateral dorsal horn. Temporal profiles of stimulus-evoked BOLD signals covaried with LFP and multiunit spiking in a similar way to those observed in the brain. Functional connectivity of dorsal horns exhibited a U-shaped profile along the dorsal-intermediate-ventral axis. Overall, these results suggest that there is an intrinsic functional architecture within the gray matter of a single spinal segment, and that rsfMRI signals at high field directly reflect this underlying spontaneous neuronal activity.
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) fiber tractography has become a pillar of the neuroimaging community due to its ability to noninvasively map the structural connectivity of the brain. Despite widespread use in clinical and research domains, these methods suffer from several potential drawbacks or limitations. Thus, validating the accuracy and reproducibility of techniques is critical for sound scientific conclusions and effective clinical outcomes. Towards this end, a number of international benchmark competitions, or "challenges", has been organized by the diffusion MRI community in order to investigate the reliability of the tractography process by providing a platform to compare algorithms and results in a fair manner, and evaluate common and emerging algorithms in an effort to advance the state of the field. In this paper, we summarize the lessons from a decade of challenges in tractography, and give perspective on the past, present, and future "challenges" that the field of diffusion tractography faces.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bcl-2 family proteins reorganize mitochondrial membranes during apoptosis, to form pores and rearrange cristae. In vitro and in vivo analysis integrated with human genetics reveals a novel homeostatic mitochondrial function for Bcl-2 family protein Bid. Loss of full-length Bid results in apoptosis-independent, irregular cristae with decreased respiration. mice display stress-induced myocardial dysfunction and damage. A gene-based approach applied to a biobank, validated in two independent GWAS studies, reveals that decreased genetically determined BID expression associates with myocardial infarction (MI) susceptibility. Patients in the bottom 5% of the expression distribution exhibit >4 fold increased MI risk. Carrier status with nonsynonymous variation in Bid's membrane binding domain, Bid, associates with MI predisposition. Furthermore, Bid but not Bid associates with Mcl-1, previously implicated in cristae stability; decreased MCL-1 expression associates with MI. Our results identify a role for Bid in homeostatic mitochondrial cristae reorganization, that we link to human cardiac disease.
© 2018, Salisbury-Ruf et al.
For two decades diffusion fiber tractography has been used to probe both the spatial extent of white matter pathways and the region to region connectivity of the brain. In both cases, anatomical accuracy of tractography is critical for sound scientific conclusions. Here we assess and validate the algorithms and tractography implementations that have been most widely used - often because of ease of use, algorithm simplicity, or availability offered in open source software. Comparing forty tractography results to a ground truth defined by histological tracers in the primary motor cortex on the same squirrel monkey brains, we assess tract fidelity on the scale of voxels as well as over larger spatial domains or regional connectivity. No algorithms are successful in all metrics, and, in fact, some implementations fail to reconstruct large portions of pathways or identify major points of connectivity. The accuracy is most dependent on reconstruction method and tracking algorithm, as well as the seed region and how this region is utilized. We also note a tremendous variability in the results, even though the same MR images act as inputs to all algorithms. In addition, anatomical accuracy is significantly decreased at increased distances from the seed. An analysis of the spatial errors in tractography reveals that many techniques have trouble properly leaving the gray matter, and many only reveal connectivity to adjacent regions of interest. These results show that the most commonly implemented algorithms have several shortcomings and limitations, and choices in implementations lead to very different results. This study should provide guidance for algorithm choices based on study requirements for sensitivity, specificity, or the need to identify particular connections, and should serve as a heuristic for future developments in tractography.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVES - Hospitalisations for serious infections are common among middle age and older adults and frequently used as study outcomes. Yet, few studies have evaluated the performance of diagnosis codes to identify serious infections in this population. We sought to determine the positive predictive value (PPV) of diagnosis codes for identifying hospitalisations due to serious infections among middle age and older adults.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS - We identified hospitalisations for possible infection among adults >=50 years enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid healthcare programme (2008-2012) using International Classifications of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis codes for pneumonia, meningitis/encephalitis, bacteraemia/sepsis, cellulitis/soft-tissue infections, endocarditis, pyelonephritis and septic arthritis/osteomyelitis.
DESIGN - Medical records were systematically obtained from hospitals randomly selected from a stratified sampling framework based on geographical region and hospital discharge volume.
MEASURES - Two trained clinical reviewers used a standardised extraction form to abstract information from medical records. Predefined algorithms served as reference to adjudicate confirmed infection-specific hospitalisations. We calculated the PPV of diagnosis codes using confirmed hospitalisations as reference. Sensitivity analyses determined the robustness of the PPV to definitions that required radiological or microbiological confirmation. We also determined inter-rater reliability between reviewers.
RESULTS - The PPV of diagnosis codes for hospitalisations for infection (n=716) was 90.2% (95% CI 87.8% to 92.2%). The PPV was highest for pneumonia (96.5% (95% CI 93.9% to 98.0%)) and cellulitis (91.1% (95% CI 84.7% to 94.9%)), and lowest for meningitis/encephalitis (50.0% (95% CI 23.7% to 76.3%)). The adjudication reliability was excellent (92.7% agreement; first agreement coefficient: 0.91). The overall PPV was lower when requiring microbiological confirmation (45%) and when requiring radiological confirmation for pneumonia (79%).
CONCLUSIONS - Discharge diagnosis codes have a high PPV for identifying hospitalisations for common, serious infections among middle age and older adults. PPV estimates for rare infections were imprecise.
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.
OBJECTIVE - Changes in microvascular perfusion have been reported in many diseases, yet the functional significance of altered perfusion is often difficult to determine. This is partly because commonly used techniques for perfusion measurement often rely on either indirect or by-hand approaches.
METHODS - We developed and validated a fully automated software technique to measure microvascular perfusion in videos acquired by fluorescence microscopy in the mouse gastrocnemius. Acute perfusion responses were recorded following intravenous injections with phenylephrine, SNP, or saline.
RESULTS - Software-measured capillary flow velocity closely correlated with by-hand measured flow velocity (R = 0.91, P < 0.0001). Software estimates of capillary hematocrit also generally agreed with by-hand measurements (R = 0.64, P < 0.0001). Detection limits range from 0 to 2000 μm/s, as compared to an average flow velocity of 326 ± 102 μm/s (mean ± SD) at rest. SNP injection transiently increased capillary flow velocity and hematocrit and made capillary perfusion more steady and homogenous. Phenylephrine injection had the opposite effect in all metrics. Saline injection transiently decreased capillary flow velocity and hematocrit without influencing flow distribution or stability. All perfusion metrics were temporally stable without intervention.
CONCLUSIONS - These results demonstrate a novel and sensitive technique for reproducible, user-independent quantification of microvascular perfusion.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
BACKGROUND - Pulmonary transit time (PTT) obtained from contrast echocardiography is a marker of global cardiopulmonary function. Pulmonary blood volume (PBV), derived from PTT, may be a noninvasive surrogate for left-sided filling pressures, such as pulmonary artery wedge pressure (PAWP). We sought to assess the relationship between PBV obtained from contrast echocardiography and PAWP.
METHODS - Participants were adult survivors of childhood cancer that had contrast echocardiography performed nearly simultaneously with right-heart catheterization. PTT was derived from time-intensity curves of contrast passage through the right ventricle (RV) and left atrium (LA). PBV relative to overall stroke volume (rPBV) was estimated from the product of PTT and heart rate during RV-LA transit. PAWP was obtained during standard right-heart catheterization. The Spearman correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between rPBV and PAWP.
RESULTS - The study population consisted of 7 individuals who had contrast echocardiography and right-heart catheterization within 3 hours of each other. There was a wide range of right atrial (1-17 mm Hg), mean pulmonary artery (18-42 mm Hg), and PAW pressures (4-26 mm Hg) as well as pulmonary vascular resistance (<1-6 Wood Units). We observed a statistically significant correlation between rPBV and PAWP (r = .85; P = .02).
CONCLUSION - Relative PBV derived from contrast echocardiography correlates with PAWP. If validated in larger studies, rPBV could potentially be used as an alternative to invasively determine left-sided filling pressure.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Research on neuroplasticity in recovery from aphasia depends on the ability to identify language areas of the brain in individuals with aphasia. However, tasks commonly used to engage language processing in people with aphasia, such as narrative comprehension and picture naming, are limited in terms of reliability (test-retest reproducibility) and validity (identification of language regions, and not other regions). On the other hand, paradigms such as semantic decision that are effective in identifying language regions in people without aphasia can be prohibitively challenging for people with aphasia. This paper describes a new semantic matching paradigm that uses an adaptive staircase procedure to present individuals with stimuli that are challenging yet within their competence, so that language processing can be fully engaged in people with and without language impairments. The feasibility, reliability and validity of the adaptive semantic matching paradigm were investigated in sixteen individuals with chronic post-stroke aphasia and fourteen neurologically normal participants, in comparison to narrative comprehension and picture naming paradigms. All participants succeeded in learning and performing the semantic paradigm. Test-retest reproducibility of the semantic paradigm in people with aphasia was good (Dice coefficient = 0.66), and was superior to the other two paradigms. The semantic paradigm revealed known features of typical language organization (lateralization; frontal and temporal regions) more consistently in neurologically normal individuals than the other two paradigms, constituting evidence for validity. In sum, the adaptive semantic matching paradigm is a feasible, reliable and valid method for mapping language regions in people with aphasia.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Genome-wide association analysis advanced understanding of blood pressure (BP), a major risk factor for vascular conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Accounting for smoking behavior may help identify BP loci and extend our knowledge of its genetic architecture. We performed genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic and diastolic BP incorporating gene-smoking interactions in 610,091 individuals. Stage 1 analysis examined ∼18.8 million SNPs and small insertion/deletion variants in 129,913 individuals from four ancestries (European, African, Asian, and Hispanic) with follow-up analysis of promising variants in 480,178 additional individuals from five ancestries. We identified 15 loci that were genome-wide significant (p < 5 × 10) in stage 1 and formally replicated in stage 2. A combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analysis identified 66 additional genome-wide significant loci (13, 35, and 18 loci in European, African, and trans-ancestry, respectively). A total of 56 known BP loci were also identified by our results (p < 5 × 10). Of the newly identified loci, ten showed significant interaction with smoking status, but none of them were replicated in stage 2. Several loci were identified in African ancestry, highlighting the importance of genetic studies in diverse populations. The identified loci show strong evidence for regulatory features and support shared pathophysiology with cardiometabolic and addiction traits. They also highlight a role in BP regulation for biological candidates such as modulators of vascular structure and function (CDKN1B, BCAR1-CFDP1, PXDN, EEA1), ciliopathies (SDCCAG8, RPGRIP1L), telomere maintenance (TNKS, PINX1, AKTIP), and central dopaminergic signaling (MSRA, EBF2).
Copyright © 2018 American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.
The purpose of this work was to evaluate the feasibility and reproducibility of the spherical mean technique (SMT), a multi-compartmental diffusion model, in the spinal cord of healthy controls, and to assess its ability to improve spinal cord characterization in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients at 3 T. SMT was applied in the cervical spinal cord of eight controls and six relapsing-remitting MS patients. SMT provides an elegant framework to model the apparent axonal volume fraction v , intrinsic diffusivity D , and extra-axonal transverse diffusivity D (which is estimated as a function of v and D ) without confounds related to complex fiber orientation distribution that reside in diffusion MRI modeling. SMT's reproducibility was assessed with two different scans within a month, and SMT-derived indices in healthy and MS cohorts were compared. The influence of acquisition scheme on SMT was also evaluated. SMT's v , D , and D measurements all showed high reproducibility. A decrease in v was observed at the site of lesions and normal appearing white matter (p < 0.05), and trends towards a decreased D and increased D were seen. Importantly, a twofold reduction in acquisition yielded similarly high accuracy with SMT. SMT provides a fast, reproducible, and accurate method to improve characterization of the cervical spinal cord, and may have clinical potential for MS patients.
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.