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Front Neurol. 2015 Nov 2;6:228. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2015.00228. eCollection 2015.

The Virtual Brain: Modeling Biological Correlates of Recovery after Chronic Stroke.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California Irvine School of Medicine , Irvine, CA , USA.
2
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California Irvine School of Medicine , Irvine, CA , USA ; Department of Neurology, University of California Irvine School of Medicine , Irvine, CA , USA.
3
Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, Faculté de Médecine, Aix-Marseille Université , Marseille , France ; INSERM UMR1106, Aix-Marseille Université , Marseille , France.
4
Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto , Toronto, ON , Canada.

Abstract

There currently remains considerable variability in stroke survivor recovery. To address this, developing individualized treatment has become an important goal in stroke treatment. As a first step, it is necessary to determine brain dynamics associated with stroke and recovery. While recent methods have made strides in this direction, we still lack physiological biomarkers. The Virtual Brain (TVB) is a novel application for modeling brain dynamics that simulates an individual's brain activity by integrating their own neuroimaging data with local biophysical models. Here, we give a detailed description of the TVB modeling process and explore model parameters associated with stroke. In order to establish a parallel between this new type of modeling and those currently in use, in this work we establish an association between a specific TVB parameter (long-range coupling) that increases after stroke with metrics derived from graph analysis. We used TVB to simulate the individual BOLD signals for 20 patients with stroke and 10 healthy controls. We performed graph analysis on their structural connectivity matrices calculating degree centrality, betweenness centrality, and global efficiency. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that long-range coupling is negatively correlated with global efficiency (P = 0.038), but is not correlated with degree centrality or betweenness centrality. Our results suggest that the larger influence of local dynamics seen through the long-range coupling parameter is closely associated with a decreased efficiency of the system. We thus propose that the increase in the long-range parameter in TVB (indicating a bias toward local over global dynamics) is deleterious because it reduces communication as suggested by the decrease in efficiency. The new model platform TVB hence provides a novel perspective to understanding biophysical parameters responsible for global brain dynamics after stroke, allowing the design of focused therapeutic interventions.

KEYWORDS:

MRI; brain dynamics; brain networks; computational biophysical modeling; connectome; graph theory; imaging; stroke

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