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See detailMultiple sparse priors for the M/EEG inverse problem.
Friston, Karl; Harrison, Lee; Daunizeau, Jean et al

in NeuroImage (2008), 39(3), 1104-20

This paper describes an application of hierarchical or empirical Bayes to the distributed source reconstruction problem in electro- and magnetoencephalography (EEG and MEG). The key contribution is the ... [more ▼]

This paper describes an application of hierarchical or empirical Bayes to the distributed source reconstruction problem in electro- and magnetoencephalography (EEG and MEG). The key contribution is the automatic selection of multiple cortical sources with compact spatial support that are specified in terms of empirical priors. This obviates the need to use priors with a specific form (e.g., smoothness or minimum norm) or with spatial structure (e.g., priors based on depth constraints or functional magnetic resonance imaging results). Furthermore, the inversion scheme allows for a sparse solution for distributed sources, of the sort enforced by equivalent current dipole (ECD) models. This means the approach automatically selects either a sparse or a distributed model, depending on the data. The scheme is compared with conventional applications of Bayesian solutions to quantify the improvement in performance. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen thoughts become action: An fMRI paradigm to study volitional brain activity in non-communicative brain injured patients
Boly, Mélanie ULg; Coleman, M. R.; Davis, M. H. et al

in NeuroImage (2007), 36(3), 979-992

The assessment of voluntary behavior in non-communicative brain injured patients is often challenging due to the existence of profound motor impairment. In the absence of a full understanding of the ... [more ▼]

The assessment of voluntary behavior in non-communicative brain injured patients is often challenging due to the existence of profound motor impairment. In the absence of a full understanding of the neural correlates of consciousness, even a normal activation in response to passive sensory stimulation cannot be considered as proof of the presence of awareness in these patients. In contrast, predicted activation in response to the instruction to perform a mental imagery task would provide evidence of voluntary task-dependent brain activity, and hence of consciousness, in non-communicative patients. However, no data yet exist to indicate which imagery instructions would yield reliable single subject activation. The aim of the present study was to establish such a paradigm in healthy volunteers. Two exploratory experiments evaluated the reproducibility of individual brain activation elicited by four distinct mental imagery tasks. The two most robust mental imagery tasks were found to be spatial navigation and motor imagery. In a third experiment, where these two tasks were directly compared, differentiation of each task from one another and from rest periods was assessed blindly using a priori criteria and was correct for every volunteer. The spatial navigation and motor imagery tasks described here permit the identification of volitional brain activation at the single subject level, without a motor response. Volunteer as well as patient data [Owen, A. M., Coleman, M.R., Boly, M., Davis, M.H., Laureys, S., Pickard J.D., 2006. Detecting awareness in the vegetative state. Science 313, 1402] strongly suggest that this' paradigm may provide a method for assessing the presence of volitional brain activity, and thus of consciousness, in non-communicative brain-injured patients. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailShort-term memory and the left intraparietal sulcus: Focus of attention? Further evidence from a face short-term memory paradigm
Majerus, Steve ULg; Bastin, Christine ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2007), 35(1), 353-367

This study explored the validity of an attentional account for the involvement of the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS) in visual STM tasks. This account considers that during STM tasks, the IPS acts as an ... [more ▼]

This study explored the validity of an attentional account for the involvement of the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS) in visual STM tasks. This account considers that during STM tasks, the IPS acts as an attentional modulator, maintaining activation in long-term memory networks that underlie the initial perception and processing of the specific information to be retained. In a recognition STM paradigm, we presented sequences of unfamiliar faces and instructed the participants to remember different types of information: either the identity of the faces or their order of presentation. We hypothesized that, if the left IPS acts as an attentional modulator, it should be active in both conditions, but connected to different neural networks specialized in serial order or face identity processing. Our results showed that the left IPS was activated during both order and identity encoding conditions, but for different reasons. During order encoding, the left IPS showed functional connectivity with order processing areas in the right IPS, bilateral premotor and cerebellar cortices, reproducing earlier results obtained in a verbal STM experiment. During identity encoding, the left IPS showed preferential functional connectivity with right temporal, inferior parietal and medial frontal areas involved in detailed face processing. These results not only support an attentional account of left IPS involvement in visual STM, but given their similarity with previous results obtained for a verbal STM task, they further highlight the importance of the left IPS as an attentional modulator in a variety of STM tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailIn vivo MR imaging of the seasonal volumetric and functional plasticity of song control nuclei in relation to song output in a female songbird
Van Meir, V.; Pavlova, D.; Verhoye, M. et al

in Neuroimage (2006), 31(3), 981-992

In temperate zone songbird species, seasonal plasticity in the morphological and functional state of brain regions involved in song production occurs in association with seasonal changes in song output ... [more ▼]

In temperate zone songbird species, seasonal plasticity in the morphological and functional state of brain regions involved in song production occurs in association with seasonal changes in song output. Following MHCl2-injections in HVC (used as proper name) of female starlings, in vivo tract-tracing by Manganese Enhanced-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ME-MRI) provided repeated measures of the volume of two HVC targets, the nucleus robustus arcopallii (RA) and area X, along with measures of the activity of the caudal motor pathway and rostral basal-ganglia pathway that control singing. Mn2+- labeling (volume labeled and signal intensity) of both nuclei was dramatically reduced in July (post-breeding season) when birds did not sing, compared to March (breeding season) when birds produced song. Seasonal changes in telencephalon volume did not exceed 4% and were not significant but were surprisingly correlated with individual measures of song rate and song bout length. Although individual song rates were variable in March, all MnCl2-injections led to a reliable labeling of area X and RA. In July, delineation of area X was only possible in two birds and RA could be delineated in 50% of the population; its volume had decreased by 46% as compared to March. The birds in which RA could be delineated in July had in March a higher activity of the HVC to area X projection as reflected by the total amount of Mn2+ accumulated in area X, which suggests unexpected relationships between the two types of HVC projection neurons. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailMEG source localization under multiple constraints: An extended Bayesian framework
Mattout, J.; Phillips, Christophe ULg; Penny, W. D. et al

in Neuroimage (2006), 30(3), 753-767

To use Electroencephalography (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) as functional brain 3D imaging techniques, identifiable distributed source models are required. The reconstruction of EEG/MEG sources ... [more ▼]

To use Electroencephalography (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) as functional brain 3D imaging techniques, identifiable distributed source models are required. The reconstruction of EEG/MEG sources rests on inverting these models and is ill-posed because the solution does not depend continuously on the data and there is no unique solution in the absence of prior in formation or constraints. We have described a general framework that can account for several priors in a common inverse solution. An empirical Bayesian framework based on hierarchical linear models was proposed for the analysis of functional neuroimaging data [Friston, K., Penny, W, Phillips, C., Kiebel, S., Hinton, G., Ashburner, J., 2002. Classical and BaN inference in neuroitnaging: theory. Neurolmage 16, 465-483] and was evaluated recently in the context of EEG [Phillips, C., Mattout, J., Rugg, M.D., Maquet, P., Friston, K., 2005. An empirical Bayesian solution to the source reconstruction problem in EEG. Neurolmage 24, 997-1011]. The approach consists of estimating the expected source distribution and its conditional variance that is constrained by an empirically determined mixture of prior variance components. Estimation uses Expectation-Maximization (EM) to give the Restricted Maximum Likelihood (ReML) estimate of the variance components (in terms of hyperparameters) and the Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) estimate of the source parameters. In this paper, we extend the framework to compare different combinations of priors, using a second level of inference based on Bayesian model selection. Using Monte- Carlo simulations, ReML is first compared to a classic Weighted Minimum Norm (WMN) solution under a single constraint. Then, the ReML estimates are evaluated using various combinations of priors. Both standard criterion and ROC-based measures were used to assess localization and detection performance. The empirical Bayes approach proved useful as: (1) ReML was significantly better than WMN for single priors; (2) valid location priors improved ReML source localization; (3) invalid location priors did not significantly impair performance. Finally, we show how model selection, using the log-evidence, can be used to select file best combination of priors. This enables a global strategy for multiple prior-based regularization of the MEG/EEG source reconstruction. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailDecomposition of metabolic brain clusters in the frontal variant of frontotemporal dementia
Salmon, Eric ULg; Kerrouche, Nacer; Herholz, Karl et al

in NeuroImage (2006), 30(3), 871-878

Previous studies that measured brain activity in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) used univariate analyses, examining each region of interest separately. We explored in a multicenter European research ... [more ▼]

Previous studies that measured brain activity in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) used univariate analyses, examining each region of interest separately. We explored in a multicenter European research program the principal brain clusters characterized by a common variability in cerebral metabolism in FTD. Seventy patients with frontal variant (fv) FTD were selected according to international clinical recommendations; principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on FDG-PET metabolic images, looking for covariance clusters in this large population. A first metabolic cluster included most of the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex, bilaterally; PC1 scores correlated with performances on memory and executive neuropsychological tasks. Moreover, FDG-PET images in fv-FTD were further characterized by a metabolic covariance in two clusters comprising the subcallosal medial frontal region, the temporal pole, medial temporal structures and the striatum, separately in the left and in the right hemisphere. The study provides original data-driven arguments for metabolic involvement of separate brain clusters in the rostral limbic system, corresponding to pathological poles differentially affected in each FTD patient. [less ▲]

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See detailNeural correlates of counting of sequential sensory and motor events in the human brain.
Kansaku, Kenji; Johnson, Ari; Grillon, Marie-Laure et al

in NeuroImage (2006), 31(2), 649-60

Little is known about the ability to enumerate small numbers of successive stimuli and movements. It is possible that there exist neural substrates that are consistently recruited both to count sensory ... [more ▼]

Little is known about the ability to enumerate small numbers of successive stimuli and movements. It is possible that there exist neural substrates that are consistently recruited both to count sensory stimuli from different modalities and for counting movements executed by different effectors. Here, we identify a network of areas that was involved in enumerating small numbers of auditory, visual, and somatosensory stimuli, and in enumerating sequential movements of hands and feet, in the bilateral premotor cortex, presupplementary motor area, posterior temporal cortex, and thalamus. The most significant consistent activation across sensory and motor counting conditions was found in the lateral premotor cortex. Lateral premotor activation was not dependent on movement preparation, stimulus presentation timing, or number word verbalization. Movement counting, but not sensory counting, activated the anterior parietal cortex. This anterior parietal area may correspond to an area recruited for movement counting identified by recent single-neuron studies in monkeys. These results suggest that overlapping but not identical networks of areas are involved in counting sequences of sensory stimuli and sequences of movements in the human brain. [less ▲]

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See detailHippocampal response at training promotes insight after sleep
Darsaud, Annabelle; Balteau, Evelyne ULg; Desseilles, Martin ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2006), 31(Suppl. 1),

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See detailA prominent role for amygdaloid complexes in the Variability in Heart Rate (VHR) during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep relative to wakefulness.
Desseilles, Martin ULg; Dang Vu, Thien Thanh ULg; Laureys, Steven ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2006), 32(3), 1008-1015

Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is associated with intense neuronal activity, rapid eye movements, muscular atonia and dreaming. Another important feature in REMS is the instability in autonomic ... [more ▼]

Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is associated with intense neuronal activity, rapid eye movements, muscular atonia and dreaming. Another important feature in REMS is the instability in autonomic, especially in cardiovascular regulation. The neural mechanisms underpinning the variability in heart rate (VHR) during REMS are not known in detail, especially in humans. During wakefulness, the right insula has frequently been reported as involved in cardiovascular regulation but this might not be the case during REMS. We aimed at characterizing the neural correlates of VHR during REMS as compared to wakefulness and to slow wave sleep (SWS), the other main component of human sleep, in normal young adults, based on the statistical analysis of a set of (H2O)-O-15 positron emission tomography (PET) sleep data acquired during SWS, REMS and wakefulness. The results showed that VHR correlated more tightly during REMS than during wakefulness with the rCBF in the right amygdaloid complex. Moreover, we assessed whether functional relationships between amygdala and any brain area changed depending the state of vigilance. Only the activity within in the insula was found to covary with the amygdala, significantly more tightly during wakefulness than during REMS in relation to the VHR. The functional connectivity between the amygdala and the insular cortex, two brain areas involved in cardiovascular regulation, differs significantly in REMS as compared to wakefulness. This suggests a functional reorganization of central cardiovascular regulation during REMS. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailThe left intraparietal sulcus and verbal short-term memory: Focus of attention or serial order ?
Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg et al

in Neuroimage (2006), 32(2), 880-891

One of the most consistently activated regions during verbal short-term memory (STM) tasks is the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS). However, its precise role remains a matter of debate. While some authors ... [more ▼]

One of the most consistently activated regions during verbal short-term memory (STM) tasks is the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS). However, its precise role remains a matter of debate. While some authors consider the IPS to be a specific store for serial order information, other data suggest that it serves a more general function of attentional focalization. In the current fMRI experiment, we investigated these two hypotheses by presenting different verbal STM conditions that probed recognition for word identity or word order and by assessing functional connectivity of the left IPS with distant brain areas. If the IPS has a role of attentional focalization, then it should be involved in both order and item conditions, but it should be connected to different brain regions, depending on the neural substrates involved in processing the different types of information (order versus phonological/orthographic) to be remembered in the item and order STM conditions. We observed that the left IPS was activated in both order and item STM conditions but for different reasons: during order STM, the left IPS was functionally connected to serial/temporal order processing areas in the right IPS, premotor and cerebellar cortices, while during item STM, the left IPS was connected to phonological and orthographic processing areas in the superior temporal and fusiform gyri. Our data support a position considering that the left IPS acts as an attentional modulator of distant neural networks which themselves are specialized in processing order or language representations. More generally, they strengthen attention-based accounts of verbal STM. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatiotemporal properties of the BOLD response in the songbirds' auditory circuit during a variety of listening tasks
Van Meir, V.; Boumans, T.; De Groof, G. et al

in Neuroimage (2005), 25(4), 1242-1255

Auditory fMRI in humans has recently received increasing attention from cognitive neuroscientists as a tool to understand mental processing of learned acoustic sequences and analyzing speech recognition ... [more ▼]

Auditory fMRI in humans has recently received increasing attention from cognitive neuroscientists as a tool to understand mental processing of learned acoustic sequences and analyzing speech recognition and development of musical skills. The present study introduces this tool in a well-documented animal model for vocal learning, the songbird, and provides fundamental insight in the main technical issues associated with auditory fMRI in these songbirds. Stimulation protocols with various listening tasks lead to appropriate activation of successive relays in the songbirds' auditory pathway. The elicited BOLD response is also region and stimulus specific, and its temporal aspects provide accurate measures of the changes in brain physiology induced by the acoustic stimuli. Extensive repetition of an identical stimulus does not lead to habituation of the response in the primary or secondary telencephalic auditory regions of anesthetized subjects. The BOLD signal intensity changes during a stimulation and subsequent rest period have a very specific time course which shows a remarkable resemblance to auditory evoked BOLD responses commonly observed in human subjects. This observation indicates that auditory fMRI in the songbird may establish a link between auditory related neuro-imaging studies done in humans and the large body of neuro-ethological research on song learning and neuro-plasticity performed in songbirds. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailSelf-referential reflective activity and its relationship with rest : a PET study
D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 25(2), 616-624

This study used positron emission tomography (PET) to identify the brain substrate of self-referential reflective activity and to investigate its relationship with brain areas that are active during the ... [more ▼]

This study used positron emission tomography (PET) to identify the brain substrate of self-referential reflective activity and to investigate its relationship with brain areas that are active during the resting state. Thirteen healthy volunteers performed reflective tasks pertaining to three different matters (the self, another person, and social issues) while they were scanned. Rest scans were also acquired, in which subjects were asked to simply relax and not think in a systematic way. The mental activity experienced during each scan was assessed with rating scales. The results showed that, although self-referential thoughts were most frequent during the self-referential task, some self-referential reflective activity also occurred during rest. Compared to rest, performing the reflective tasks was associated with increased blood flow in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the left anterior middle temporal gyros, the temporal pole bilaterally, and the right cerebellum; there was a decrease of blood flow in right prefrontal regions,and in medial and right lateral parietal regions. In addition, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) (1) was more active during the self-referential reflective task than during the other two reflective tasks, (2) showed common activation during rest and the self-referential task, and (3) showed a correlation between cerebral metabolism and the amount of self-referential processing. It is suggested that the VMPFC is crucial for representing knowledge pertaining to the self and that this is an important function of the resting state. [less ▲]

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See detailCASL fMRI of subcortico-cortical perfusion changes during memory-guided finger sequences
Garraux, Gaëtan ULg; Hallett, Mark; Talagala, S Lalith

in Neuroimage (2005), 25(1), 122-132

Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is an attractive alternative to BOLD fMRI. Nevertheless, current ASL fMRI techniques are limited by several factors that ... [more ▼]

Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is an attractive alternative to BOLD fMRI. Nevertheless, current ASL fMRI techniques are limited by several factors that hamper more routine applications in humans. One of these factors is restricted brain coverage so that whole-brain ASL fMRI studies have never been reported. The present study tested the ability of a multislice continuous ASL (CASL) fMRI approach using a small surface coil placed on the subject's neck to map changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) throughout the brain while healthy individuals (N = 15) performed memory-guided sequential finger movements at a mean rate of similar to0.5 Hz. As predicted by results from a large number of studies, reliable task-related increases in flow were detected across subjects not only in primary and associative cortical areas but also in subcortical brain regions. When normalized to baseline, rCBF increased 31% in the hand representation area (HRA) of left primary motor cortex (M1) 13% in the left supplementary motor area proper (SMA), 10% in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), 10-18% in the bilateral intraparietal sulci, 6% in the HRA of left putamen, 10% in the left thalamus, and 17% in the right anterior cerebellum. In addition to these increases, 6% and 4% decreases in rCBF were detected in the HRA of the right M1 and the bilateral posterior cingulate sulci, respectively. These results demonstrate that perfusion-based fMRI using CASL with a separate labeling coil can now be used to characterize task-related flow changes in most of the brain volume with adequate accuracy and sensitivity. [less ▲]

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See detailAn empirical Bayesian solution to the source reconstruction problem in EEG
Phillips, Christophe ULg; Mattout Jeremie; Rugg, Michael D et al

in Neuroimage (2005), 24(4), 997-1011

Distributed linear solutions of the EEG source localisation problem are used routinely. In contrast to discrete dipole equivalent models, distributed linear solutions do not assume a fixed number of ... [more ▼]

Distributed linear solutions of the EEG source localisation problem are used routinely. In contrast to discrete dipole equivalent models, distributed linear solutions do not assume a fixed number of active sources and rest on a discretised fully 3D representation of the electrical activity of the brain. The ensuing inverse problem is underdetermined and constraints or priors are required to ensure the uniqueness of the solution. In a Bayesian framework, the conditional expectation of the source distribution, given the data, is attained by carefully balancing the minimisation of the residuals induced by noise and the improbability of the estimates as determined by their priors. This balance is specified by hyperparameters that control the relative importance of fitting and conforming to various constraints. Here we formulate the conventional "Weighted Minimum Norm" (WMN) solution in terms of hierarchical linear models. An "Expectation-Maximisation" (EM) algorithm is used to obtain a "Restricted Maximum Likelihood" (ReML) estimate of the hyperparameters, before estimating the "Maximum a Posteriori" solution itself. This procedure can be considered a generalisation of previous work that encompasses multiple constraints. Our approach was compared with the "classic" WMN and Maximum Smoothness solutions, using a simplified 2D source model with synthetic noisy data. The ReML solution was assessed with four types of source location priors: no priors, accurate priors, inaccurate priors, and both accurate and inaccurate priors. The ReML approach proved useful as: (1) The regularisation (or influence of the a priori source covariance) increased as the noise level increased. (2) The localisation error (LE) was negligible when accurate location priors were used. (3) When accurate and inaccurate location priors were used simultaneously, the solution was not influenced by the inaccurate priors. The ReML solution was then applied to real somatosensory-evoked responses to illustrate the application in an empirical setting. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailNeural Correlates of a Non-Image-Forming Response to Light Exposure During the Daytime: a fMRI Study
Vandewalle, Gilles ULg; Balteau, Evelyne ULg; Moreau, V et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 26(Suppl. 1),

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See detailTime-of-day modulations of rCBF response in functional brain imaging studies: a meta-analysis
Schmidt, Christina ULg; Dang Vu, Thanh; Orban, Pierre et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 26(Suppl. 1),

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See detailCerebral correlates of delta waves during non-REM sleep revisited.
Dang Vu, Thien Thanh ULg; Desseilles, Martin ULg; Laureys, Steven ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 28(1), 14-21

We aimed at characterizing the neural correlates of delta activity during Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep in non-sleep-deprived normal young adults, based on the statistical analysis of a positron ... [more ▼]

We aimed at characterizing the neural correlates of delta activity during Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep in non-sleep-deprived normal young adults, based on the statistical analysis of a positron emission tomography (PET) sleep data set. One hundred fifteen PET scans were obtained using H(2)(15)O under continuous polygraphic monitoring during stages 2-4 of NREM sleep. Correlations between regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and delta power (1.5-4 Hz) spectral density were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM2). Delta power values obtained at central scalp locations negatively correlated during NREM sleep with rCBF in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the basal forebrain, the striatum, the anterior insula, and the precuneus. These regions embrace the set of brain areas in which rCBF decreases during slow wave sleep (SWS) as compared to Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and wakefulness (Maquet, P., Degueldre, C., Delfiore, G., Aerts, J., Peters, J.M., Luxen, A., Franck, G., 1997. Functional neuroanatomy of human slow wave sleep. J. Neurosci. 17, 2807-S2812), supporting the notion that delta activity is a valuable prominent feature of NREM sleep. A strong association was observed between rCBF in the ventromedial prefrontal regions and delta power, in agreement with electrophysiological studies. In contrast to the results of a previous PET study investigating the brain correlates of delta activity (Hofle, N., Paus, T., Reutens, D., Fiset, P., Gotman, J., Evans, A.C., Jones, B.E., 1997. Regional cerebral blood flow changes as a function of delta and spindle activity during slow wave sleep in humans. J. Neurosci. 17, 4800-4808), in which waking scans were mixed with NREM sleep scans, no correlation was found with thalamus activity. This latter result stresses the importance of an extra-thalamic delta rhythm among the synchronous NREM sleep oscillations. Consequently, this rCBF distribution might preferentially reflect a particular modulation of the cellular processes involved in the generation of cortical delta waves during NREM sleep. [less ▲]

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See detailA Prominent Role for Amygdaloïd Complexes in the Variability of Heart Rate during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep
Desseilles, Martin ULg; Dang Vu, Thanh; Laureys, Steven ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 26(Suppl. 1),

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See detailNeural correlates of fast and slow ocular sequence learning
Albouy, Geneviève ULg; Ruby, Perrine; Balteau, Evelyne ULg et al

in NeuroImage (2005), 26(Suppl. 1),

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See detailDifferential effects of testosterone on neuronal populations and their connections in a sensorimotor brain nucleus controlling song production in songbirds: a manganese enhanced-magnetic resonance imaging study
Van Meir, V.; Verhoye, M.; Absil, Philippe ULg et al

in Neuroimage (2004), 21(3), 914-923

Nucleus HVC (formerly called high vocal center) of songbirds contains two types of projecting neurons connecting HVC respectively to the nucleus robustus archistriatalis, RA, or to area X. These two ... [more ▼]

Nucleus HVC (formerly called high vocal center) of songbirds contains two types of projecting neurons connecting HVC respectively to the nucleus robustus archistriatalis, RA, or to area X. These two neuron classes exhibit multiple neurochemical differences and are differentially replaced by new neurons during adult life: high rates of neuronal replacement are observed in RA-projecting neurons only. The activity of these two types of neurons may also be modulated differentially by steroids. We analyzed by magnetic resonance imaging the effect of testosterone on the volume of RA and area X and on the dynamics of Mn2+ accumulation in RA and area X of female starlings that had been injected with MnCl2 through a permanent cannula implanted in HVC. Repeated visualization 6 weeks apart (before and after testosterone treatment) identified a volume increase of both nuclei in testosterone-treated birds associated with a concomitant decrease in controls. Following testosterone treatment, the total amount of Mn2+ transported to RA and area X increased but the dynamics of accumulation, reflecting in part the activity of HVC neurons, was specifically altered in area X but not in RA. These data indicate that testosterone differentially affects the RA- and area X-projecting neurons in HVC. Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (ME-MRI) thus provides repeated measures of connected brain areas and demonstrates testosterone-dependent regionally specific changes in brain activity and functional connectivity. The slow time scales investigated by this technique (compared to functional MRI) appear ideally suited for characterizing slow processes such as those involved in brain plasticity and learning. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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