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Neuroimage Clin. 2020 Mar 12;26:102244. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102244. [Epub ahead of print]

Connectome-wide search for functional connectivity locus associated with pathological rumination as a target for real-time fMRI neurofeedback intervention.

Author information

1
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 6655 South Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, United States. Electronic address: mmisaki@laureateinstitute.org.
2
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 6655 South Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, United States; Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan.
3
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 6655 South Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, United States; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States.
4
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 6655 South Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, United States.
5
Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 6655 South Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, United States; Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, United States. Electronic address: jbodurka@laureateinstitute.org.

Abstract

Real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) enables noninvasive targeted intervention in brain activation with high spatial specificity. To achieve this promise of rtfMRI-nf, we introduced and demonstrated a data-driven framework to design a rtfMRI-nf intervention through the discovery of precise target location associated with clinical symptoms and neurofeedback signal optimization. Specifically, we identified the functional connectivity locus associated with rumination symptoms, utilizing a connectome-wide search in resting-state fMRI data from a large cohort of mood and anxiety disorder individuals (N = 223) and healthy controls (N = 45). Then, we performed a rtfMRI simulation analysis to optimize the online functional connectivity neurofeedback signal for the identified functional connectivity. The connectome-wide search was performed in the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus brain regions to identify the precise location of the functional connectivity associated with rumination severity as measured by the ruminative response style (RRS) scale. The analysis found that the functional connectivity between the loci in the precuneus (-6, -54, 48 mm in MNI) and the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ; 49, -49, 23 mm) was positively correlated with RRS scores (depressive, p < 0.001; brooding, p < 0.001; reflective, p = 0.002) in the mood and anxiety disorder group. We then performed a rtfMRI processing simulation to optimize the online computation of the precuneus-RTPJ connectivity. We determined that the two-point method without a control region was appropriate as a functional connectivity neurofeedback signal with less dependence on signal history and its accommodation of head motion. The present study offers a discovery framework for the precise location of functional connectivity targets for rtfMRI-nf intervention, which could help directly translate neuroimaging findings into clinical rtfMRI-nf interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Connectome-wide analysis; Mood and anxiety disorder; Precuneus; Real-time fMRI; Rumination; Temporo-parietal junction

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