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Nat Rev Neurol. 2011 Jul 5;7(8):429-38. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2011.99.

Virtual imaging laboratories for marker discovery in neurodegenerative diseases.

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IRCCS Fatebenefratelli, Via Pilastroni 4, 25125 Brescia, Italy.


The unprecedented growth, availability and accessibility of imaging data from people with neurodegenerative conditions has led to the development of computational infrastructures, which offer scientists access to large image databases and e-Science services such as sophisticated image analysis algorithm pipelines and powerful computational resources, as well as three-dimensional visualization and statistical tools. Scientific e-infrastructures have been and are being developed in Europe and North America that offer a suite of services for computational neuroscientists. The convergence of these initiatives represents a worldwide infrastructure that will constitute a global virtual imaging laboratory. This will provide computational neuroscientists with a virtual space that is accessible through an ordinary web browser, where image data sets and related clinical variables, algorithm pipelines, computational resources, and statistical and visualization tools will be transparently accessible to users irrespective of their physical location. Such an experimental environment will be instrumental to the success of ambitious scientific initiatives with high societal impact, such as the prevention of Alzheimer disease. In this article, we provide an overview of the currently available e-infrastructures and consider how computational neuroscience in neurodegenerative disease might evolve in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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