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2022
Farahani, FV, Karwowski W, D'Esposito M, Betzel RF, Douglas PK, Sobczak AM, Bohaterewicz B, Marek T, Fafrowicz M.  2022.  Diurnal variations of resting-state fMRI data: A graph-based analysis., 2022 Apr 24. NeuroImage. :119246. Abstract

Circadian rhythms (lasting approximately 24 hours) control and entrain various physiological processes, ranging from neural activity and hormone secretion to sleep cycles and eating habits. Several studies have shown that time of day (TOD) is associated with human cognition and brain functions. In this study, utilizing a chronotype-based paradigm, we applied a graph theory approach on resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data to compare whole-brain functional network topology between morning and evening sessions and between morning-type (MT) and evening-type (ET) participants. Sixty-two individuals (31 MT and 31 ET) underwent two fMRI sessions, approximately 1 hour (morning) and 10 hours (evening) after their wake-up time, according to their declared habitual sleep-wake pattern on a regular working day. In the global analysis, the findings revealed the effect of TOD on functional connectivity (FC) patterns, including increased small-worldness, assortativity, and synchronization across the day. However, we identified no significant differences based on chronotype categories. The study of the modular structure of the brain at mesoscale showed that functional networks tended to be more integrated with one another in the evening session than in the morning session. Local/regional changes were affected by both factors (i.e., TOD and chronotype), mostly in areas associated with somatomotor, attention, frontoparietal, and default networks. Furthermore, connectivity and hub analyses revealed that the somatomotor, ventral attention, and visual networks covered the most highly connected areas in the morning and evening sessions: the latter two were more active in the morning sessions, and the first was identified as being more active in the evening. Finally, we performed a correlation analysis to determine whether global and nodal measures were associated with subjective assessments across participants. Collectively, these findings contribute to an increased understanding of diurnal fluctuations in resting brain activity and highlight the role of TOD in future studies on brain function and the design of fMRI experiments.

Newton, M, Cookson SL, D'Esposito M, Kayser A.  2022.  Connectivity-Defined Subdivisions of the Intraparietal Sulcus Respond Differentially to Abstraction during Decision Making., 2022 Aug 29. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Abstract

The intraparietal sulcus (IPS) has been implicated in numerous functions that range from representation of visual stimuli to action planning, but its role in abstract decision-making has been unclear, in part because low-level functions often act as confounds. Here, we address this problem using a task that dissociates abstract decision-making from sensory salience, attentional control, motor planning, and motor output. Functional MRI data were collected from healthy female and male human subjects while they performed a policy abstraction task requiring use of a more abstract (second-order) rule to select between two less abstract (first order) rules that informed the motor response. By identifying IPS subdivisions with preferential connectivity to prefrontal regions that are differentially responsive to task abstraction, we found that a caudal IPS (cIPS) subregion with strongest connectivity to the pre-premotor cortex was preferentially active for second-order cues, whereas a rostral IPS subregion (rIPS) with strongest connectivity to the dorsal premotor cortex was active during attentional control over first-order cues. These effects for abstraction were seen in addition to cIPS activity that was specific to sensory salience, and rIPS activity that was specific to motor output. Notably, topographic responses to the second-order cue were detected along the caudal-rostral axis of IPS, mirroring the broader organization seen in lateral prefrontal cortex (Badre and D'Esposito, 2007). Together, these data demonstrate that subregions within IPS exhibit activity responsive to policy abstraction, and they suggest that IPS may be organized into frontoparietal subnetworks that support hierarchical cognitive control.Abstract decision-making allows us to flexibly adapt our behavior to new contexts. Although much previous work has focused on the role of lateral prefrontal cortex in such decisions, the contributions of parietal cortex have been relatively understudied. Here, we demonstrate that spatially segregated subregions of human IPS with strong functional connections to lateral prefrontal cortex demonstrate activity selective for abstract decisions. This activity can be distinguished from responses because of cognitive processes related to sensory salience, attentional control, motor planning, and movement. Together, these findings indicate that different task demands are reflected in the topography of IPS, and they explicitly reveal a role in abstract decision-making.

Toker, D, Pappas I, Lendner JD, Frohlich J, Mateos DM, Muthukumaraswamy S, Carhart-Harris R, Paff M, Vespa PM, Monti MM, Sommer FT, Knight RT, D'Esposito M.  2022.  Consciousness is supported by near-critical slow cortical electrodynamics., 2022 Feb 15. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 119(7) Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that during conscious states, the electrodynamics of the cortex are poised near a critical point or phase transition and that this near-critical behavior supports the vast flow of information through cortical networks during conscious states. Here, we empirically identify a mathematically specific critical point near which waking cortical oscillatory dynamics operate, which is known as the edge-of-chaos critical point, or the boundary between stability and chaos. We do so by applying the recently developed modified 0-1 chaos test to electrocorticography (ECoG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings from the cortices of humans and macaques across normal waking, generalized seizure, anesthesia, and psychedelic states. Our evidence suggests that cortical information processing is disrupted during unconscious states because of a transition of low-frequency cortical electric oscillations away from this critical point; conversely, we show that psychedelics may increase the information richness of cortical activity by tuning low-frequency cortical oscillations closer to this critical point. Finally, we analyze clinical electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) and show that assessing the proximity of slow cortical oscillatory electrodynamics to the edge-of-chaos critical point may be useful as an index of consciousness in the clinical setting.

Ciampa, CJ, Parent JH, Harrison TM, Fain RM, Betts MJ, Maass A, Winer JR, Baker SL, Janabi M, Furman DJ, D'Esposito M, Jagust WJ, Berry AS.  2022.  Associations among locus coeruleus catecholamines, tau pathology, and memory in aging., 2022 Jan 15. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Abstract

The locus coeruleus (LC) is the brain's major source of the neuromodulator norepinephrine, and is also profoundly vulnerable to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related tau pathology. Norepinephrine plays a role in neuroprotective functions that may reduce AD progression, and also underlies optimal memory performance. Successful maintenance of LC neurochemical function represents a candidate mechanism of protection against the propagation of AD-related pathology and may facilitate the preservation of memory performance despite pathology. Using [F]Fluoro-m-tyrosine ([F]FMT) PET imaging to measure catecholamine synthesis capacity in LC regions of interest, we examined relationships among LC neurochemical function, AD-related pathology, and memory performance in cognitively normal older adults (n = 49). Participants underwent [C]Pittsburgh compound B and [F]Flortaucipir PET to quantify β-amyloid (n = 49) and tau burden (n = 42) respectively. In individuals with substantial β-amyloid, higher LC [F]FMT net tracer influx (Ki) was associated with lower temporal tau. Longitudinal tau-PET analyses in a subset of our sample (n = 30) support these findings to reveal reduced temporal tau accumulation in the context of higher LC [F]FMT Ki. Higher LC catecholamine synthesis capacity was positively correlated with self-reported cognitive engagement and physical activity across the lifespan, established predictors of successful aging measured with the Lifetime Experiences Questionnaire. LC catecholamine synthesis capacity moderated tau's negative effect on memory, such that higher LC catecholamine synthesis capacity was associated with better-than-expected memory performance given an individual's tau burden. These PET findings provide insight into the neurochemical mechanisms of AD vulnerability and cognitive resilience in the living human brain.

Cookson, SL, D'Esposito M.  2022.  Evaluating the reliability, validity, and utility of overlapping networks: Implications for network theories of cognition., 2022 Nov 01. Human brain mapping. Abstract

Brain network definitions typically assume nonoverlap or minimal overlap, ignoring regions' connections to multiple networks. However, new methods are emerging that emphasize network overlap. Here, we investigated the reliability and validity of one assignment method, the mixed membership algorithm, and explored its potential utility for identifying gaps in existing network models of cognition. We first assessed between-sample reliability of overlapping assignments with a split-half design; a bootstrapped Dice similarity analysis demonstrated good agreement between the networks from the two subgroups. Next, we assessed whether overlapping networks captured expected nonoverlapping topographies; overlapping networks captured portions of one to three nonoverlapping topographies, which aligned with canonical network definitions. Following this, a relative entropy analysis showed that a majority of regions participated in more than one network, as is seen biologically, and many regions did not show preferential connection to any one network. Finally, we explored overlapping network membership in regions of the dual-networks model of cognitive control, showing that almost every region was a member of multiple networks. Thus, the mixed membership algorithm produces consistent and biologically plausible networks, which presumably will allow for the development of more complete network models of cognition.

Cookson, SL, D'Esposito M.  2022.  Evaluating the reliability, validity, and utility of overlapping networks: Implications for network theories of cognition., 2022 Nov 01. Human brain mapping. Abstract

Brain network definitions typically assume nonoverlap or minimal overlap, ignoring regions' connections to multiple networks. However, new methods are emerging that emphasize network overlap. Here, we investigated the reliability and validity of one assignment method, the mixed membership algorithm, and explored its potential utility for identifying gaps in existing network models of cognition. We first assessed between-sample reliability of overlapping assignments with a split-half design; a bootstrapped Dice similarity analysis demonstrated good agreement between the networks from the two subgroups. Next, we assessed whether overlapping networks captured expected nonoverlapping topographies; overlapping networks captured portions of one to three nonoverlapping topographies, which aligned with canonical network definitions. Following this, a relative entropy analysis showed that a majority of regions participated in more than one network, as is seen biologically, and many regions did not show preferential connection to any one network. Finally, we explored overlapping network membership in regions of the dual-networks model of cognitive control, showing that almost every region was a member of multiple networks. Thus, the mixed membership algorithm produces consistent and biologically plausible networks, which presumably will allow for the development of more complete network models of cognition.

Miller, JA, Tambini A, Kiyonaga A, D'Esposito M.  2022.  Long-term learning transforms prefrontal cortex representations during working memory., 2022 Oct 07. Neuron. Abstract

The role of the lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC) in working memory (WM) is debated. Non-human primate (NHP) electrophysiology shows that the lPFC stores WM representations, but human neuroimaging suggests that the lPFC controls WM content in sensory cortices. These accounts are confounded by differences in task training and stimulus exposure. We tested whether long-term training alters lPFC function by densely sampling WM activity using functional MRI. Over 3 months, participants trained on both a WM and serial reaction time (SRT) task, wherein fractal stimuli were embedded within sequences. WM performance improved for trained (but not novel) fractals and, neurally, delay activity increased in distributed lPFC voxels across learning. Item-level WM representations became detectable within lPFC patterns, and lPFC activity reflected sequence relationships from the SRT task. These findings demonstrate that human lPFC develops stimulus-selective responses with learning, and WM representations are shaped by long-term experience, which could reconcile competing accounts of WM functioning.