Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) has been widely used for the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With rs-fMRI, the functional connectivity networks (FCNs) are usually constructed for representing each subject, with each element representing the pairwise relationship between brain region-of-interests (ROIs). Previous studies often first extract handcrafted network features (such as node degree and clustering coefficient) from FCNs and then construct a prediction model for ASD diagnosis, which largely requires expert knowledge. Graph convolutional networks (GCNs) have recently been employed to jointly perform FCNs feature extraction and ASD identification in a data-driven manner. However, existing studies tend to focus on the single-scale topology of FCNs by using one single atlas for ROI partition, thus ignoring potential complementary topology information of FCNs at different spatial scales. In this paper, we develop a multi-scale graph representation learning (MGRL) framework for rs-fMRI based ASD diagnosis. The MGRL consists of three major components: (1) multi-scale FCNs construction using multiple brain atlases for ROI partition, (2) FCNs representation learning via multi-scale GCNs, and (3) multi-scale feature fusion and classification for ASD diagnosis. The proposed MGRL is evaluated on 184 subjects from the public Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) database with rs-fMRI scans. Experimental results suggest the efficacy of our MGRL in FCN feature extraction and ASD identification, compared with several state-of-the-art methods.
Analyses of brain function and anatomy using shared neuroimaging data is an important development, and have acquired the potential to be scaled up with the specification of a new Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) standard. To date, a variety of software tools help researchers in converting their source data to BIDS but often require programming skills or are tailored to specific institutes, data sets, or data formats. In this paper, we introduce BIDScoin, a cross-platform, flexible, and user-friendly converter that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to help users finding their way in BIDS standard. BIDScoin does not require programming skills to be set up and used and supports plugins to extend their functionality. In this paper, we show its design and demonstrate how it can be applied to a downloadable tutorial data set. BIDScoin is distributed as free and open-source software to foster the community-driven effort to promote and facilitate the use of BIDS standard.
Intracranial stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is broadly used in the presurgical evaluation of intractable epilepsy, due to its high temporal resolution in neural activity recording and high spatial resolution within suspected epileptogenic zones. Neurosurgeons or technicians face the challenge of conducting a workflow of post-processing operations with the multimodal data (e.g., MRI, CT, and EEG) after the implantation surgery, such as brain surface reconstruction, electrode contact localization, and SEEG data analysis. Several software or toolboxes have been developed to take one or more steps in the workflow but without an end-to-end solution. In this study, we introduced BrainQuake, an open-source Python software for the SEEG spatiotemporal analysis, integrating modules and pipelines in surface reconstruction, electrode localization, seizure onset zone (SOZ) prediction based on ictal and interictal SEEG analysis, and final visualizations, each of which is highly automated with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). BrainQuake also supports remote communications with a public server, which is facilitated with automated and standardized preprocessing pipelines, high-performance computing power, and data curation management to provide a time-saving and compatible platform for neurosurgeons and researchers.
Age-specific resources in human MRI mitigate processing biases that arise from structural changes across the lifespan. There are fewer age-specific resources for preclinical imaging, and they only represent developmental periods rather than adulthood. Since rats recapitulate many facets of human aging, it was hypothesized that brain volume and each tissue's relative contribution to total brain volume would change with age in the adult rat. Data from a longitudinal study of rats at 3, 5, 11, and 17 months old were used to test this hypothesis. Tissue volume was estimated from high resolution structural images using a priori information from tissue probability maps. However, existing tissue probability maps generated inaccurate gray matter probabilities in subcortical structures, particularly the thalamus. To address this issue, gray matter, white matter, and CSF tissue probability maps were generated by combining anatomical and signal intensity information. The effects of age on volumetric estimations were then assessed with mixed-effects models. Results showed that herein estimation of gray matter volumes better matched histological evidence, as compared to existing resources. All tissue volumes increased with age, and the tissue proportions relative to total brain volume varied across adulthood. Consequently, a set of rat brain templates and tissue probability maps from across the adult lifespan is released to expand the preclinical MRI community's fundamental resources.
Computational tools can transform the manner by which neuroscientists perform their experiments. More than helping researchers to manage the complexity of experimental data, these tools can increase the value of experiments by enabling reproducibility and supporting the sharing and reuse of data. Despite the remarkable advances made in the Neuroinformatics field in recent years, there is still a lack of open-source computational tools to cope with the heterogeneity and volume of neuroscientific data and the related metadata that needs to be collected during an experiment and stored for posterior analysis. In this work, we present the Neuroscience Experiments System (NES), a free software to assist researchers in data collecting routines of clinical, electrophysiological, and behavioral experiments. NES enables researchers to efficiently perform the management of their experimental data in a secure and user-friendly environment, providing a unified repository for the experimental data of an entire research group. Furthermore, its modular software architecture is aligned with several initiatives of the neuroscience community and promotes standardized data formats for experiments and analysis reporting.
An open challenge on the road to unraveling the brain's multilevel organization is establishing techniques to research connectivity and dynamics at different scales in time and space, as well as the links between them. This work focuses on the design of a framework that facilitates the generation of multiscale connectivity in large neural networks using a symbolic visual language capable of representing the model at different structural levels—ConGen. This symbolic language allows researchers to create and visually analyze the generated networks independently of the simulator to be used, since the visual model is translated into a simulator-independent language. The simplicity of the front end visual representation, together with the simulator independence provided by the back end translation, combine into a framework to enhance collaboration among scientists with expertise at different scales of abstraction and from different fields. On the basis of two use cases, we introduce the features and possibilities of our proposed visual language and associated workflow. We demonstrate that ConGen enables the creation, editing, and visualization of multiscale biological neural networks and provides a whole workflow to produce simulation scripts from the visual representation of the model.
Realistic single-cell neuronal dynamics are typically obtained by solving models that involve solving a set of differential equations similar to the Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) system. However, realistic simulations of neuronal tissue dynamics —especially at the organ level, the brain— can become intractable due to an explosion in the number of equations to be solved simultaneously. Consequently, such efforts of modeling tissue- or organ-level systems require a lot of computational time and the need for large computational resources. Here, we propose to utilize a cellular automata (CA) model as an efficient way of modeling a large number of neurons reducing both the computational time and memory requirement. First, a first-order approximation of the response function of each HH neuron is obtained and used as the response-curve automaton rule. We then considered a system where an external input is in a few cells. We utilize a Moore neighborhood (both totalistic and outer-totalistic rules) for the CA system used. The resulting steady-state dynamics of a two-dimensional (2D) neuronal patch of size 1, 024 × 1, 024 cells can be classified into three classes: (1) Class 0–inactive, (2) Class 1–spiking, and (3) Class 2–oscillatory. We also present results for different quasi-3D configurations starting from the 2D lattice and show that this classification is robust. The numerical modeling approach can find applications in the analysis of neuronal dynamics in mesoscopic scales in the brain (patch or regional). The method is applied to compare the dynamical properties of the young and aged population of neurons. The resulting dynamics of the aged population shows higher average steady-state activity 〈a(t → ∞)〉 than the younger population. The average steady-state activity 〈a(t → ∞)〉 is significantly simplified when the aged population is subjected to external input. The result conforms to the empirical data with aged neurons exhibiting higher firing rates as well as the presence of firing activity for aged neurons stimulated with lower external current.
High-resolution functional 2-photon microscopy of neural activity is a cornerstone technique in current neuroscience, enabling, for instance, the image-based analysis of relations of the organization of local neuron populations and their temporal neural activity patterns. Interpreting local image intensity as a direct quantitative measure of neural activity presumes, however, a consistent within- and across-image relationship between the image intensity and neural activity, which may be subject to interference by illumination artifacts. In particular, the so-called vignetting artifact—the decrease of image intensity toward the edges of an image—is, at the moment, widely neglected in the context of functional microscopy analyses of neural activity, but potentially introduces a substantial center-periphery bias of derived functional measures. In the present report, we propose a straightforward protocol for single image-based vignetting correction. Using immediate-early gene-based 2-photon microscopic neural image data of the mouse brain, we show the necessity of correcting both image brightness and contrast to improve within- and across-image intensity consistency and demonstrate the plausibility of the resulting functional data.
Brain complexity has traditionally fomented the division of neuroscience into somehow separated compartments; the coexistence of the anatomical, physiological, and connectomics points of view is just a paradigmatic example of this situation. However, there are times when it is important to combine some of these standpoints for getting a global picture, like for fully analyzing the morphological and topological features of a specific neuronal circuit. Within this framework, this article presents SynCoPa, a tool designed for bridging gaps among representations by providing techniques that allow combining detailed morphological neuron representations with the visualization of neuron interconnections at the synapse level. SynCoPa has been conceived for the interactive exploration and analysis of the connectivity elements and paths of simple to medium complexity neuronal circuits at the connectome level. This has been done by providing visual metaphors for synapses and interconnection paths, in combination with the representation of detailed neuron morphologies. SynCoPa could be helpful, for example, for establishing or confirming a hypothesis about the spatial distributions of synapses, or for answering questions about the way neurons establish connections or the relationships between connectivity and morphological features. Last, SynCoPa is easily extendable to include functional data provided, for example, by any of the morphologically-detailed simulators available nowadays, such as Neuron and Arbor, for providing a deep insight into the circuits features prior to simulating it, in particular any analysis where it is important to combine morphology, network topology, and physiology.
Background: fMRI data is inherently high-dimensional and difficult to visualize. A recent trend has been to find spaces of lower dimensionality where functional brain networks can be projected onto manifolds as individual data points, leading to new ways to analyze and interpret the data. Here, we investigate the potential of two powerful non-linear manifold learning techniques for functional brain networks representation: (1) T-stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE) and (2) Uniform Manifold Approximation Projection (UMAP) a recent breakthrough in manifold learning.Methods: fMRI data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an independent study of aging were used to generate functional brain networks. We used fMRI data collected during resting state data and during a working memory task. The relative performance of t-SNE and UMAP were investigated by projecting the networks from each study onto 2D manifolds. The levels of discrimination between different tasks and the preservation of the topology were evaluated using different metrics.Results: Both methods effectively discriminated the resting state from the memory task in the embedding space. UMAP discriminated with a higher classification accuracy. However, t-SNE appeared to better preserve the topology of the high-dimensional space. When networks from the HCP and aging studies were combined, the resting state and memory networks in general aligned correctly.Discussion: Our results suggest that UMAP, a more recent development in manifold learning, is an excellent tool to visualize functional brain networks. Despite dramatic differences in data collection and protocols, networks from different studies aligned correctly in the embedding space.