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Functional Connectivity ToolKit

Principal Investigator:
James
Pekar

Functional connectivity (FC) is defined as synchrony between neural signals from different locations; collections of regions displaying consistent synchrony are referred to as networks. Spontaneous fluctuations throughout distributed intrinsic networks (INs) modulate BOLD fMRI data acquired from participants at “rest” (lying in a scanner). The opportunity to study brain function at “rest” reduces demands on participant compliance, allowing studies in populations who would have difficulties with conventional fMRI tasks. A growing literature reports on changes in resting FC with brain state, development, aging, disorders, and therapy. However, using FC in a quantitative manner to yield potential disease biomarkers will require fundamental improvements in data acquisition and analysis, which relate to concerns about the interpretation of fc-MRI results due to nuisances, modulators, and lags.

Nuisances of physiological origin, including respiration and cardiac pulsations, can yield synchronous signals that could be mistaken for FC; modulators of BOLD signals are physiological parameters linking neuronal activity with deoxyhemoglobin concentration; lags are the (spatially non-uniform) delays between neuronal activity and hemodynamic responses. The goal of this study is to develop advanced approaches to the acquisition and analysis of FC data.

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