The goal of this research is to validate the results of an emerging method known as resting state fMRI in understanding human and animal brain connectivity. This method of studying the spatial pattern of connectivity between regions of the brain has recently seen an intensive period of growth. Recent publications indicate the method may be able to give insight into the large scale structure of interactions between brain regions that support the integrated functioning of the brain in human health. There is also a growing body of literature that indicates deviations from the normally observed pattern of connectivity may be a fundamental causative factor in many mental health disorders including schizophrenia, depression, and autism. However, there is currently a lack of knowledge as to the effects of different pre-processing steps on the reliability of functional connections estimated with this new technique. Our findings would serve to enlighten practitioners of the technical requirements for achieving optimal results utilizing resting state fMRI. This proposed research contributes to both basic neuroscience and clinical neuroscience and will provide the foundation for future studies characterizing brain connectivity in normals and disruptions of connectivity in various patient populations.
October 2010 to October 2011
This project led by: Elizabeth Meyerand, PhD