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Progressive brain structural MRI changes are described in schizophrenia and have been ascribed to both illness progression and antipsychotic treatment. We investigated treatment effects, in terms of total cumulative antipsychotic dose, efficacy and tolerability, on brain structural changes over the first 24 months of treatment in schizophrenia.
A prospective, 24-month, single-site cohort study in 99 minimally treated patients with first-episode schizophrenia, schizophreniform and schizoaffective disorder, and 98 matched healthy controls. We treated the patients according to a fixed protocol with flupenthixol decanoate, a long-acting injectable antipsychotic. We assessed psychopathology, cognition, extrapyramidal symptoms and BMI, and acquired MRI scans at months 0, 12 and 24. We selected global cortical thickness, white matter volume and basal ganglia volume as the regions of interest.
The only significant group × time interaction was for basal ganglia volumes. However, patients, but not controls, displayed cortical thickness reductions and increases in white matter and basal ganglia volumes. Cortical thickness reductions were unrelated to treatment. White matter volume increases were associated with lower cumulative antipsychotic dose, greater improvements in psychopathology and cognition, and more extrapyramidal symptoms. Basal ganglia volume increases were associated with greater improvements in psychopathology, greater increases in BMI and more extrapyramidal symptoms.
We provide evidence for plasticity in white matter and basal ganglia associated with antipsychotic treatment in schizophrenia, most likely linked to the dopamine blocking actions of these agents. Cortical changes may be more closely related to the neurodevelopmental, non-dopaminergic aspects of the illness.
Exercise has been found to be important in maintaining neurocognitive health. However, the effect of exercise intensity level remains relatively underexplored. Thus, to test the hypothesis that self-paced high-intensity exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness (peak aerobic capacity; VO2peak) increase grey matter (GM) volume, we examined the effect of a 6-month exercise intervention on frontal lobe GM regions that support the executive functions in older adults.
Ninety-eight cognitively normal participants (age = 69.06 ± 5.2 years; n = 54 female) were randomised into either a self-paced high- or moderate-intensity cycle-based exercise intervention group, or a no-intervention control group. Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging and fitness assessment pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention, and 12-months post-intervention.
The intervention was found to increase fitness in the exercise groups, as compared with the control group (F = 9.88, p = <0.001). Changes in pre-to-post-intervention fitness were associated with increased volume in the right frontal lobe (β = 0.29, p = 0.036, r = 0.27), right supplementary motor area (β = 0.30, p = 0.031, r = 0.29), and both right (β = 0.32, p = 0.034, r = 0.30) and left gyrus rectus (β = 0.30, p = 0.037, r = 0.29) for intervention, but not control participants. No differences in volume were observed across groups.
At an aggregate level, six months of self-paced high- or moderate-intensity exercise did not increase frontal GM volume. However, experimentally-induced changes in individual cardiorespiratory fitness was positively associated with frontal GM volume in our sample of older adults. These results provide evidence of individual variability in exercise-induced fitness on brain structure.
The aim of this systematic review was to synthesise and summarise evidence surrounding the clinical use of fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for target volume delineation (TVD) in rectal cancer radiotherapy planning.
PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane library, CINAHL, Web of Science and Scopus databases and other sources were systematically queried using keywords and relevant synonyms. Eligible full-text studies were assessed for methodological quality using the QUADAS-2 tool.
Eight of the 1448 studies identified met the inclusion criteria. Findings showed that MRI significantly delineate larger tumour volumes (TVs) than FDG-PET/CT while diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) defined smaller gross tumour volumes (GTVs) compared to T2 weighted-Magnetic Resonance Image. CT-based GTVs were found to be larger compared to FDG-PET/CT. FDG-PET/CT also identified new lesions in 15–17% patients and TVs extending outside the routinely used clinical standard CT TV in 29–83% patients. Between observers, delineated volumes were similar and consistent between MRI sequences, whereas interobserver agreement was significantly improved with FDG-PET/CT than CT.
FDG-PET/CT and DW-MRI appear to delineate smaller rectal TVs and show improved interobserver variability. Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the amount of attention in the research literature that has been paid to imaging for TVD in rectal cancer.
Machine learning has increasingly been applied to classification of psychosis spectrum in neuroimaging research. However, a number of multimodal studies using MRI and electroencephalography (EEG) is quite limited.
To assess the power of multimodal structural MRI (sMRI) and EEG data to provide pairwise discrimination between first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients, individuals at ultra-high-risk of psychosis (UHR), and healthy controls (HC) using machine learning algorithms.
46 FES male patients, 39 UHR individuals, and 54 matched HC underwent sMRI (3T Philips scanner) and electroencephalography. T1-weighted images were processed via FreeSurfer to obtain cortical and subcortical measures. L2 regularized logistic regression was used to evaluate the efficacy of diagnostic prediction.
The accuracies of pairwise discriminations were: 87% for FES vs HC (specificity 83%, sensitivity 91%); 77% for FES vs UHR (specificity 76%, sensitivity 79%); 75% for UHR vs HC (specificity 77%, sensitivity 73%).
Current findings suggest that the patterns of anatomical and functional variability have potential as biomarkers for discrimination between schizophrenia, UHR, and healthy subjects. Furthermore, results show that the selection and multimodality of feature types are important. Specifically, adding EEG data to morphometric measures improved accuracy rates in FES vs HC and FES vs UHR contrasts, whereas standalone EEG data provided higher accuracy compared with morphometric or multimodal data in UHR vs HC discrimination. Expectedly, predictive power for the UHR was smaller than for the FES due to its intermediate anatomical features, located between those observed in healthy controls and those found in patients. The work was supported by RFBR grant 20-013-00748
Nut-based products may aid low-glycaemic dietary strategies that are important for diabetes prevention in populations at increased risk of dysglycaemia, such as Asian Chinese. This randomised cross-over trial assessed the postprandial glycaemic response (0–120 min) of a higher-protein nut-based (HP-NB) snack formulation, in bar format (1009 kJ, Nutrient Profiling Score, NPS, −2), when compared with an iso-energetic higher-carbohydrate (CHO) cereal-based bar (HC-CB, 985 kJ, NPS +3). It also assessed the ability to suppress glucose response to a typical CHO-rich food (white bread, WB), when co-ingested. Ten overweight prediabetic Chinese adults (mean, sd: age 47⋅9, 15⋅7 years; BMI 25⋅5, 1⋅6 kg/m2), with total body fat plus ectopic pancreas and liver fat quantified using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, received the five meal treatments in random order: HP-NB, HC-CB, HP-NB + WB (50 g available CHO), HC-CB + WB and WB only. Compared with HC-CB, HP-NB induced a significantly lower 30–120 min glucose response (P < 0⋅05), with an approximately 10-fold lower incremental area under the glucose curve (iAUC0–120; P < 0⋅001). HP-NB also attenuated glucose response by approximately 25 % when co-ingested with WB (P < 0⋅05). Half of the cohort had elevated pancreas and/or liver fat, with 13–21 % greater suppression of iAUC0–120 glucose in the low v. high organ fat subgroups across all five treatments. A nut-based snack product may be a healthier alternative to an energy equivalent cereal-based product with evidence of both a lower postprandial glycaemic response and modulation of CHO-induced hyperglycaemia even in high-risk, overweight, pre-diabetic adults.
Delineating the proximal urethra can be critical for radiotherapy planning but is challenging on computerised tomography (CT) imaging.
Materials and methods:
We trialed a novel non-invasive technique to allow visualisation of the proximal urethra using a rapid sequence magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol to visualise the urinary flow in patients voiding during the simulation scan.
Of the seven patients enrolled, four were able to void during the MRI scan. For these four patients, direct visualisation of urinary flow through the proximal urethra was achieved. The average volume of the proximal urethra contoured on voiding MRI was significantly higher than the proximal urethra contoured on CT, 4·07 and 1·60 cc, respectively (p = 0·02). The proximal urethra location also differed; the Dice coefficient average was 0·28 (range 0–0·62).
In this small, proof-of-concept prospective clinical trial, the volume and location of the proximal urethra differed significantly when contoured on a voiding MRI scan compared to that determined by a conventional CT simulation. The shape of the proximal urethra on voiding MRI may be more anatomically correct compared to the proximal urethra shape determined with a semi-rigid catheter in place.
Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation is an important and effective treatment strategy for many malignancies, marrow failure syndromes, and immunodeficiencies in children, adolescents, and young adults. Despite advances in supportive care, patients undergoing transplant are at increased risk to develop cardiovascular co-morbidities.
This study was performed as a feasibility study of a rapid cardiac MRI protocol to substitute for echocardiography in the assessment of left ventricular size and function, pericardial effusion, and right ventricular hypertension.
A total of 13 patients were enrolled for the study (age 17.5 ± 7.7 years, 77% male, 77% white). Mean study time was 13.2 ± 5.6 minutes for MRI and 18.8 ± 5.7 minutes for echocardiogram (p = 0.064). Correlation between left ventricular ejection fraction by MRI and echocardiogram was good (ICC 0.76; 95% CI 0.47, 0.92). None of the patients had documented right ventricular hypertension. Patients were given a survey regarding their experiences, with the majority both perceiving that the echocardiogram took longer (7/13) and indicating they would prefer the MRI if given a choice (10/13).
A rapid cardiac MRI protocol was shown feasible to substitute for echocardiogram in the assessment of key factors prior to or in follow-up after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Dietary lipids (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3) PUFAs) and saturated fatty acids (SFA) seem to play an important role in brain health. (n-3) PUFAs have been shown to improve cerebral perfusion and to promote synaptogenesis. In this study, we investigated the relationship between dietary fat composition, cognitive performance and brain morphology in cognitively healthy individuals.
A total of 101 cognitively healthy participants (age: 42.3 ± 21.3 years, 62 females) were included in this study. Verbal memory was assessed using the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT). Intake of (n-3) PUFA and SFA was calculated from food-frequency questionnaire-derived data (EPIC-FFQ). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were obtained (Siemens Trio 3T scanner) and grey matter volumes (GMV) were assessed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM/SPM8). We examined the association of SFA/(n-3) PUFA ratio and memory performance as well as GMV using regression models adjusted for age, sex, education, body mass index, apolipoprotein E (APOE) status and alcohol consumption. For VBM data, a multiple regression analysis was performed using the same covariates as mentioned before with intracranial volume as an additional covariate.
A high SFA/(n-3) PUFA ratio was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with poorer verbal memory performance and with lower GMV in areas of the left prefrontal cortex that support memory processes.
These findings suggest that a diet rich in PUFAs is likely to exert favourable effects on brain morphology in brain areas important for memory and executive functions. This could constitute a possible mechanism for maintaining cognitive health in older age.
This study compared the level of education and tests from multiple cognitive domains as proxies for cognitive reserve.
The participants were educationally, ethnically, and cognitively diverse older adults enrolled in a longitudinal aging study. We examined independent and interactive effects of education, baseline cognitive scores, and MRI measures of cortical gray matter change on longitudinal cognitive change.
Baseline episodic memory was related to cognitive decline independent of brain and demographic variables and moderated (weakened) the impact of gray matter change. Education moderated (strengthened) the gray matter change effect. Non-memory cognitive measures did not incrementally explain cognitive decline or moderate gray matter change effects.
Episodic memory showed strong construct validity as a measure of cognitive reserve. Education effects on cognitive decline were dependent upon the rate of atrophy, indicating education effectively measures cognitive reserve only when atrophy rate is low. Results indicate that episodic memory has clinical utility as a predictor of future cognitive decline and better represents the neural basis of cognitive reserve than other cognitive abilities or static proxies like education.
This review outlines the current use of magnetic resonance (MR) techniques to study digestion and highlights their potential for providing markers of digestive processes such as texture changes and nutrient breakdown. In vivo digestion research can be challenging due to practical constraints and biological complexity. Therefore, digestion is primarily studied using in vitro models. These would benefit from further in vivo validation. NMR is widely used to characterise food systems. MRI is a related technique that can be used to study both in vitro model systems and in vivo gastro-intestinal processes. MRI allows visualisation and quantification of gastric processes such as gastric emptying and coagulation. Both MRI and NMR scan sequences can be configured to be sensitive to different aspects of gastric or intestinal contents. For example, magnetisation transfer and chemical exchange saturation transfer can detect proton (1H) exchange between water and proteins. MRI techniques have the potential to provide molecular-level and quantitative information on in vivo gastric (protein) digestion. This requires careful validation in order to understand what these MR markers of digestion mean in a specific digestion context. Combined with other measures they can be used to validate and inform in vitro digestion models. This may bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo digestion research and can aid the optimisation of food properties for different applications in health and disease.
Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
Embolic ischemic strokes cause significant mortality and morbidity worldwide. It has been proposed that some of these strokes are due to unstable carotid plaques with intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) but a low overall degree of stenosis. Our aim was to test a fat-saturated T1-weighted (T1WI) black-blood sequence on MRI for the detection of IPH in symptomatic individuals and to quantify the relation between IPH, severity of stenoses, and ischemic brain lesions.
Materials and Methods:
Sixty-two patients were examined by 3T MRI. Sequences included brain diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) as well as 3D turbo spin echo (TSE) fat-saturated black-blood T1 of the carotid bifurcations, to detect IPH as a focal intraplaque hyperintensity. Both carotid arteries were analyzed in each patient. The North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial scale was used for quantification of stenosis degree.
Thirty-six out of 62 patients (mean age, 74) showed brain ischemia on DWI. Fifteen of these 36 patients (42%) had associated ipsilateral IPH at the carotid bifurcation or the proximal internal carotid artery. Mean degree of stenosis in this group was 50%. In 21 patients with ischemia without IPH, the mean degree of stenosis was 44%.
MRI with 3D TSE fat-saturated black-blood T1 technique is a safe, reliable, and noninvasive tool for the detection of IPH. A high percentage (42%) of ischemic events in patients with low- to moderate-degree stenosis were associated with IPH, an easily detectable imaging biomarker of plaque vulnerability. The ability to confirm IPH by MRI may help stratify patients into different risk and treatment groups in the future.
Sex difference in the brain is of great interest, because it is believed to reveal the “real” or biologically predetermined basis for differences between men's and women’s behavior. However, current neuroscience research does not support this conception. First, most male/female brain differences are attributable to body size; thus, all brain structures are 10% larger in males, but after accounting for individuals’ total brain volume, sex/gender explains only ~1% of the variance in structural volumes at both the cortical and subcortical level. Other differences, such as higher ratio of gray:white matter and density of interhemispheric connections in women, are also found to be due to brain size rather than sex per se. Second, functional measures of brain activity (fMRI) have not revealed reliable differences in the neural circuits that process verbal, spatial, and emotional information, even though men and women as groups perform differently on such tasks. Finally, it is important to appreciate that brain structure and function are both influenced by experience, or neuroplasticity, so even when small differences are identified, it is not possible to determine whether they were induced by “Nature” (sexually differentiated genes and hormone levels) or “Nurture” (gender enculturation). Overall, measures of brain structure and function exhibit far more overlap than difference between males and females. In spite of much hype, current brain findings do not explain any of the well-described male/female differences in behavior, interests, or mental health.