Centre for Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 86
Effectiveness of Workplace Interventions in Return-to-Work for Musculoskeletal, Pain-Related and Mental Health Conditions: An Update of the Evidence and Messages for Practitioners
(SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2018-03-01)
Purpose The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize evidence on the effectiveness of workplace-based return-to-work (RTW) interventions and work disability management (DM) interventions that assist workers with musculoskeletal (MSK) and pain-related conditions and mental health (MH) conditions with RTW. Methods We followed a systematic review process developed by the Institute for Work & Health and an adapted best evidence synthesis that ranked evidence as strong, moderate, limited, or insufficient. Results Seven electronic databases were searched from January 1990 until April 2015, yielding 8898 non-duplicate references. Evidence from 36 medium and high quality studies were synthesized on 12 different intervention categories across three broad domains: health-focused, service coordination, and work modification interventions. There was strong evidence that duration away from work from both MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions were significantly reduced by multi-domain interventions encompassing at least two of the three domains. There was moderate evidence that these multi-domain interventions had a positive impact on cost outcomes. There was strong evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy interventions that do not also include workplace modifications or service coordination components are not effective in helping workers with MH conditions in RTW. Evidence for the effectiveness of other single-domain interventions was mixed, with some studies reporting positive effects and others reporting no effects on lost time and work functioning. Conclusions While there is substantial research literature focused on RTW, there are only a small number of quality workplace-based RTW intervention studies that involve workers with MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions. We recommend implementing multi-domain interventions (i.e. with healthcare provision, service coordination, and work accommodation components) to help reduce lost time for MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions. Practitioners should also consider implementing these programs to help improve work functioning and reduce costs associated with work disability.
Automated segmentation of the substantia nigra, subthalamic nucleus and red nucleus in 7T data at young and old age.
(Elsevier BV, 2016-10-01)
With recent developments in MR acquisition at 7T, smaller brainstem structures such as the red nuclei, substantia nigra and subthalamic nuclei can be imaged with good contrast and resolution. These structures have important roles both in the study of the healthy brain and in diseases such as Parkinson's disease, but few methods have been described to automatically segment them. In this paper, we extend a method that we have previously proposed for segmentation of the striatum and globus pallidus to segment these deeper and smaller structures. We modify the method to allow more direct control over segmentation smoothness by using a Markov random field prior. We investigate segmentation performance in three age groups and show that the method produces consistent results that correspond well with manual segmentations. We perform a vertex-based analysis to identify changes with age in the shape of the structures and present results suggesting that the method may be at least as effective as manual delineation in capturing differences between subjects.
Quantitative assessment of the susceptibility artefact and its interaction with motion in diffusion MRI.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2017)
In this paper we evaluate the three main methods for correcting the susceptibility-induced artefact in diffusion-weighted magnetic-resonance (DW-MR) data, and assess how correction is affected by the susceptibility field's interaction with motion. The susceptibility artefact adversely impacts analysis performed on the data and is typically corrected in post-processing. Correction strategies involve either registration to a structural image, the application of an acquired field-map or the use of additional images acquired with different phase-encoding. Unfortunately, the choice of which method to use is made difficult by the absence of any systematic comparisons of them. In this work we quantitatively evaluate these methods, by extending and employing a recently proposed framework that allows for the simulation of realistic DW-MR datasets with artefacts. Our analysis separately evaluates the ability for methods to correct for geometric distortions and to recover lost information in regions of signal compression. In terms of geometric distortions, we find that registration-based methods offer the poorest correction. Field-mapping techniques are better, but are influenced by noise and partial volume effects, whilst multiple phase-encode methods performed best. We use our simulations to validate a popular surrogate metric of correction quality, the comparison of corrected data acquired with AP and LR phase-encoding, and apply this surrogate to real datasets. Furthermore, we demonstrate that failing to account for the interaction of the susceptibility field with head movement leads to increased errors when analysing DW-MR data. None of the commonly used post-processing methods account for this interaction, and we suggest this may be a valuable area for future methods development.
Image processing and Quality Control for the first 10,000 brain imaging datasets from UK Biobank.
(Elsevier BV, 2018-02-01)
UK Biobank is a large-scale prospective epidemiological study with all data accessible to researchers worldwide. It is currently in the process of bringing back 100,000 of the original participants for brain, heart and body MRI, carotid ultrasound and low-dose bone/fat x-ray. The brain imaging component covers 6 modalities (T1, T2 FLAIR, susceptibility weighted MRI, Resting fMRI, Task fMRI and Diffusion MRI). Raw and processed data from the first 10,000 imaged subjects has recently been released for general research access. To help convert this data into useful summary information we have developed an automated processing and QC (Quality Control) pipeline that is available for use by other researchers. In this paper we describe the pipeline in detail, following a brief overview of UK Biobank brain imaging and the acquisition protocol. We also describe several quantitative investigations carried out as part of the development of both the imaging protocol and the processing pipeline.
BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorithm): A new tool for automated segmentation of white matter hyperintensities.
(Elsevier BV, 2016-11-01)
Reliable quantification of white matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin (WMHs) is increasingly needed, given the presence of these MRI findings in patients with several neurological and vascular disorders, as well as in elderly healthy subjects. We present BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorithm), a fully automated, supervised method for WMH detection, based on the k-nearest neighbour (k-NN) algorithm. Relative to previous k-NN based segmentation methods, BIANCA offers different options for weighting the spatial information, local spatial intensity averaging, and different options for the choice of the number and location of the training points. BIANCA is multimodal and highly flexible so that the user can adapt the tool to their protocol and specific needs. We optimised and validated BIANCA on two datasets with different MRI protocols and patient populations (a "predominantly neurodegenerative" and a "predominantly vascular" cohort). BIANCA was first optimised on a subset of images for each dataset in terms of overlap and volumetric agreement with a manually segmented WMH mask. The correlation between the volumes extracted with BIANCA (using the optimised set of options), the volumes extracted from the manual masks and visual ratings showed that BIANCA is a valid alternative to manual segmentation. The optimised set of options was then applied to the whole cohorts and the resulting WMH volume estimates showed good correlations with visual ratings and with age. Finally, we performed a reproducibility test, to evaluate the robustness of BIANCA, and compared BIANCA performance against existing methods. Our findings suggest that BIANCA, which will be freely available as part of the FSL package, is a reliable method for automated WMH segmentation in large cross-sectional cohort studies.
Evaluating fibre orientation dispersion in white matter: Comparison of diffusion MRI, histology and polarized light imaging.
(Elsevier BV, 2017-08-15)
Diffusion MRI is an exquisitely sensitive probe of tissue microstructure, and is currently the only non-invasive measure of the brain's fibre architecture. As this technique becomes more sophisticated and microstructurally informative, there is increasing value in comparing diffusion MRI with microscopic imaging in the same tissue samples. This study compared estimates of fibre orientation dispersion in white matter derived from diffusion MRI to reference measures of dispersion obtained from polarized light imaging and histology. Three post-mortem brain specimens were scanned with diffusion MRI and analyzed with a two-compartment dispersion model. The specimens were then sectioned for microscopy, including polarized light imaging estimates of fibre orientation and histological quantitative estimates of myelin and astrocytes. Dispersion estimates were correlated on region - and voxel-wise levels in the corpus callosum, the centrum semiovale and the corticospinal tract. The region-wise analysis yielded correlation coefficients of r = 0.79 for the diffusion MRI and histology comparison, while r = 0.60 was reported for the comparison with polarized light imaging. In the corpus callosum, we observed a pattern of higher dispersion at the midline compared to its lateral aspects. This pattern was present in all modalities and the dispersion profiles from microscopy and diffusion MRI were highly correlated. The astrocytes appeared to have minor contribution to dispersion observed with diffusion MRI. These results demonstrate that fibre orientation dispersion estimates from diffusion MRI represents the tissue architecture well. Dispersion models might be improved by more faithfully incorporating an informed mapping based on microscopy data.
Conditioned respiratory threat in the subdivisions of the human periaqueductal gray
(ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2016-02-27)
The sensation of breathlessness is the most threatening symptom of respiratory disease. The different subdivisions of the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) are intricately (and differentially) involved in integrating behavioural responses to threat in animals, while the PAG has previously only been considered as a single entity in human research. Here we investigate how these individual PAG columns are differently involved with respiratory threat. Eighteen healthy subjects were conditioned to associate shapes with certain or uncertain impending respiratory load, and scanned the following day during anticipation and application of inspiratory loading using 7 T functional MRI. We showed activity in the ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) during anticipation of resistive loading, with activity in the lateral PAG (lPAG) during resistive loading, revealing spatially and temporally distinct functions within this structure. We propose that lPAG is involved with sensorimotor responses to breathlessness, while the vlPAG operates within the threat perception network for impending breathlessness.
Study protocol: the Whitehall II imaging sub-study
BACKGROUND: The Whitehall II (WHII) study of British civil servants provides a unique source of longitudinal data to investigate key factors hypothesized to affect brain health and cognitive ageing. This paper introduces the multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol and cognitive assessment designed to investigate brain health in a random sample of 800 members of the WHII study. METHODS/DESIGN: A total of 6035 civil servants participated in the WHII Phase 11 clinical examination in 2012-2013. A random sample of these participants was included in a sub-study comprising an MRI brain scan, a detailed clinical and cognitive assessment, and collection of blood and buccal mucosal samples for the characterisation of immune function and associated measures. Data collection for this sub-study started in 2012 and will be completed by 2016. The participants, for whom social and health records have been collected since 1985, were between 60-85 years of age at the time the MRI study started. Here, we describe the pre-specified clinical and cognitive assessment protocols, the state-of-the-art MRI sequences and latest pipelines for analyses of this sub-study. DISCUSSION: The integration of cutting-edge MRI techniques, clinical and cognitive tests in combination with retrospective data on social, behavioural and biological variables during the preceding 25 years from a well-established longitudinal epidemiological study (WHII cohort) will provide a unique opportunity to examine brain structure and function in relation to age-related diseases and the modifiable and non-modifiable factors affecting resilience against and vulnerability to adverse brain changes.
Target Identification for Stereotactic Thalamotomy Using Diffusion Tractography
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-01-04)
BACKGROUND: Stereotactic targets for thalamotomy are usually derived from population-based coordinates. Individual anatomy is used only to scale the coordinates based on the location of some internal guide points. While on conventional MR imaging the thalamic nuclei are indistinguishable, recently it has become possible to identify individual thalamic nuclei using different connectivity profiles, as defined by MR diffusion tractography. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we investigated the inter-individual variation of the location of target nuclei for thalamotomy: the putative ventralis oralis posterior (Vop) and the ventral intermedius (Vim) nucleus as defined by probabilistic tractography. We showed that the mean inter-individual distance of the peak Vop location is 7.33 mm and 7.42 mm for Vim. The mean overlap between individual Vop nuclei was 40.2% and it was 31.8% for Vim nuclei. As a proof of concept, we also present a patient who underwent Vop thalamotomy for untreatable tremor caused by traumatic brain injury and another patient who underwent Vim thalamotomy for essential tremor. The probabilistic tractography indicated that the successful tremor control was achieved with lesions in the Vop and Vim respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our data call attention to the need for a better appreciation of the individual anatomy when planning stereotactic functional neurosurgery.
Allostatic load as a predictor of grey matter volume and white matter integrity in old age: The Whitehall II MRI study.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-04-23)
The allostatic load index quantifies the cumulative multisystem physiological response to chronic everyday stress, and includes cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory measures. Despite its central role in the stress response, research of the effect of allostatic load on the ageing brain has been limited. We investigated the relation of mid-life allostatic load index and multifactorial predictors of stroke (Framingham stroke risk) and diabetes (metabolic syndrome) with voxelwise structural grey and white matter brain integrity measures in the ageing Whitehall II cohort (N = 349, mean age = 69.6 (SD 5.2) years, N (male) = 281 (80.5%), mean follow-up before scan = 21.4 (SD 0.82) years). Higher levels of all three markers were significantly associated with lower grey matter density. Only higher Framingham stroke risk was significantly associated with lower white matter integrity (low fractional anisotropy and high mean diffusivity). Our findings provide some empirical support for the concept of allostatic load, linking the effect of everyday stress on the body with features of the ageing human brain.
fMRI reveals neural activity overlap between adult and infant pain
(ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2015-04-21)
Limited understanding of infant pain has led to its lack of recognition in clinical practice. While the network of brain regions that encode the affective and sensory aspects of adult pain are well described, the brain structures involved in infant nociceptive processing are completely unknown, meaning we cannot infer anything about the nature of the infant pain experience. Using fMRI we identified the network of brain regions that are active following acute noxious stimulation in newborn infants, and compared the activity to that observed in adults. Significant infant brain activity was observed in 18 of the 20 active adult brain regions but not in the infant amygdala or orbitofrontal cortex. Brain regions that encode sensory and affective components of pain are active in infants, suggesting that the infant pain experience closely resembles that seen in adults. This highlights the importance of developing effective pain management strategies in this vulnerable population.