- Different patterns of white matter degeneration using multiple diffusion indices and volumetric data in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer patients (2012)
- Alzheimeŕs disease (AD) represents the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder that causes cognitive decline in old age. In its early stages, AD is associated with microstructural abnormalities in white matter (WM). In the current study, multiple indices of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and brain volumetric measurements were employed to comprehensively investigate the landscape of AD pathology. The sample comprised 58 individuals including cognitively normal subjects (controls), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD patients. Relative to controls, both MCI and AD subjects showed widespread changes of anisotropic fraction (FA) in the corpus callosum, cingulate and uncinate fasciculus. Mean diffusivity and radial changes were also observed in AD patients in comparison with controls. After controlling for the gray matter atrophy the number of regions of significantly lower FA in AD patients relative to controls was decreased; nonetheless, unique areas of microstructural damage remained, e.g., the corpus callosum and uncinate fasciculus. Despite sample size limitations, the current results suggest that a combination of secondary and primary degeneration occurrs in MCI and AD, although the secondary degeneration appears to have a more critical role during the stages of disease involving dementia.
- Methods for dichoptic stimulus presentation in functional magnetic resonance imaging : a review (2009)
- Dichoptic stimuli (different stimuli displayed to each eye) are increasingly being used in functional brain imaging experiments using visual stimulation. These studies include investigation into binocular rivalry, interocular information transfer, three-dimensional depth perception as well as impairments of the visual system like amblyopia and stereodeficiency. In this paper, we review various approaches of displaying dichoptic stimulus used in functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments. These include traditional approaches of using filters (red-green, red-blue, polarizing) with optical assemblies as well as newer approaches of using bi-screen goggles.
- Neurobiological correlates of orientation-specific interocular transfer in humans (2008)
- Visual information is processed hierarchically in the human visual system. Early during processing basic features are analysed separately while at later stages of processing, they are integrated into a unified percept. By investigating a basic visual feature and following its integration at different levels of processing one can identify specific patterns. In certain visual impairments, these patterns can function defectively and their detailed study can clarify the cause of the visual deficit. Here we investigate orientation as a basic feature and use a property of the visual system called adaptation. Adaptation occurs as a decrease in the level of neural activity during repetitive presentation of the same stimulus. Psychophysical studies have shown that adaptation transfers interocularly, meaning that if only one eye is adapted the other eye shows also adaptation effects. Our aim was to investigate interocular transfer by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Even though adaptation was demonstrated in the fMRI environment, the interocular transfer was never investigated in such a setup. First, we developed a method to measure interocular transfer of adaptation to gratings with fMRI. We then went further to test it in various groups of subjects. In normally sighted humans interocular transfer was present both in early (striate) as well as later visual areas (extrastriate). In subjects with impaired stereovision (with or without normal visual acuity) interocular transfer was absent in the investigated regions. Detailed analysis of the recorded differences between subjects with and subjects without stereovision was performed. The results of this analysis are presented in detail in this book. These results suggest that the neuronal mechanisms involved in the interocular transfer of pattern adaptation share, at least in part, the neural circuitry underlying binocular functions and stereopsis. We conclude that fMRI adaptation can be used for the assessment of cortical binocularity in humans with normal and impaired stereopsis. Further investigations are needed to address more subtle aspects of the lack of interocular transfer. Towards this purpose, through a fourth experiment we propose further directions that might shed more light on the issue of stereovision and its clinical implications. We show that carefully tuned variations in our experimental procedure might reveal other aspects of binocularity in the human visual system. We believe that the method we developed, apart from the interesting results shown here, has a high potential to be further used for other research questions. Following the above summarized ideas, the thesis comprises of three parts (chapters). The first chapter provides the main theoretical backgrounds of the visual system and of the MRI imaging technique, chapter two describes the experimental procedures while the results and their detailed discussion are detailed in chapter three.