- A method for improving the performance of gradient systems for diffusion-weighted MRI (2007)
- The MR signal is sensitive to diffusion. This effect can be increased by the use of large, balanced bipolar gradients. The gradient systems of MR scanners are calibrated at installation and during regular servicing visits. Because the measured apparent diffusion constant (ADC) depends on the square of the amplitude of the diffusion sensitizing gradients, errors in the gradient calibration are exaggerated. If the error is varying among the different gradient axes, it will affect the estimated degree of anisotropy. To assess the gradient calibration accuracy in a whole-body MRI scanner, ADC values were calculated for a uniform water phantom along each gradient direction while monitoring the temperature. Knowledge of the temperature allows the expected diffusion constant of water to be calculated independent of the MRI measurement. It was found that the gradient axes (±x, ±y, ±z) were calibrated differently, resulting in offset ADC values. A method is presented to rescale the amplitude of each of the six principal gradient axes within the MR pulse sequence. The scaling factor is the square root of the ratio of the expected and observed diffusion constants. In addition, fiber tracking results in the human brain were noticeably affected by improving the gradient system calibration. Magn Reson Med 58:763–768, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Keywords: diffusion tensor imaging, apparent diffusion constant, magnetic field gradient, fibre tracking, anisotropy
- Studying the role of human parietal cortex in visuospatial attention with concurrent TMS-fMRI (2010)
- Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows study of how local brain stimulation may causally affect activity in remote brain regions. Here, we applied bursts of high- or low-intensity TMS over right posterior parietal cortex, during a task requiring sustained covert visuospatial attention to either the left or right hemifield, or in a neutral control condition, while recording blood oxygenation-level–dependent signal with a posterior MR surface coil. As expected, the active attention conditions activated components of the well-described “attention network,” as compared with the neutral baseline. Also as expected, when comparing left minus right attention, or vice versa, contralateral occipital visual cortex was activated. The critical new finding was that the impact of high- minus low-intensity parietal TMS upon these visual regions depended on the currently attended side. High- minus low-intensity parietal TMS increased the difference between contralateral versus ipsilateral attention in right extrastriate visual cortex. A related albeit less pronounced pattern was found for left extrastriate visual cortex. Our results confirm that right human parietal cortex can exert attention-dependent influences on occipital visual cortex and provide a proof of concept for the use of concurrent TMS–fMRI in studying how remote influences can vary in a purely top–down manner with attentional demands. Key words: concurrent TMS--fMRI, posterior parietal cortex, statedependence, visuospatial attention
- Distinct causal influences of parietal versus frontal areas on human visual cortex: evidence from concurrent TMS-fMRI (2007)
- It has often been proposed that regions of the human parietal and/or frontal lobe may modulate activity in visual cortex, for example, during selective attention or saccade preparation. However, direct evidence for such causal claims is largely missing in human studies, and it remains unclear to what degree the putative roles of parietal and frontal regions in modulating visual cortex may differ. Here we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) concurrently, to show that stimulating right human intraparietal sulcus (IPS, at a site previously implicated in attention) elicits a pattern of activity changes in visual cortex that strongly depends on current visual context. Increased intensity of IPS TMS affected the blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) signal in V5/MT+ only when moving stimuli were present to drive this visual region, whereas TMS-elicited BOLD signal changes were observed in areas V1–V4 only during the absence of visual input. These influences of IPS TMS upon remote visual cortex differed significantly from corresponding effects of frontal (eye field) TMS, in terms of how they related to current visual input and their spatial topography for retinotopic areas V1–V4. Our results show directly that parietal and frontal regions can indeed have distinct patterns of causal influence upon functional activity in human visual cortex. Key words: attention, frontal cortex, functional magnetic resonance imaging, parietal cortex, top--down, transcranial magnetic stimulation
- The human operculo-insular cortex is pain-preferentially but not pain-exclusively activated by trigeminal and olfactory stimuli (2012)
- Increasing evidence about the central nervous representation of pain in the brain suggests that the operculo-insular cortex is a crucial part of the pain matrix. The pain-specificity of a brain region may be tested by administering nociceptive stimuli while controlling for unspecific activations by administering non-nociceptive stimuli. We applied this paradigm to nasal chemosensation, delivering trigeminal or olfactory stimuli, to verify the pain-specificity of the operculo-insular cortex. In detail, brain activations due to intranasal stimulation induced by non-nociceptive olfactory stimuli of hydrogen sulfide (5 ppm) or vanillin (0.8 ppm) were used to mask brain activations due to somatosensory, clearly nociceptive trigeminal stimulations with gaseous carbon dioxide (75% v/v). Functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) images were recorded from 12 healthy volunteers in a 3T head scanner during stimulus administration using an event-related design. We found that significantly more activations following nociceptive than non-nociceptive stimuli were localized bilaterally in two restricted clusters in the brain containing the primary and secondary somatosensory areas and the insular cortices consistent with the operculo-insular cortex. However, these activations completely disappeared when eliminating activations associated with the administration of olfactory stimuli, which were small but measurable. While the present experiments verify that the operculo-insular cortex plays a role in the processing of nociceptive input, they also show that it is not a pain-exclusive brain region and allow, in the experimental context, for the interpretation that the operculo-insular cortex splay a major role in the detection of and responding to salient events, whether or not these events are nociceptive or painful.