Task-related brain activity and functional connectivity

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Task-related brain activity and functional connectivity in upper limb dystonia: a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study.

Abstract
Significance: Dystonia is a dynamic and complex disorder. Real-time analysis of brain activity during motor tasks may increase our knowledge on its pathophysiology. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a noninvasive method that enables the measurement of cortical hemodynamic activity in unconstrained environments. Aim: We aimed to explore the feasibility of using fNIRS for the study of task-related brain activity in dystonia. Task-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and resting-state functional connectivity were also analyzed. Approach: Patients with idiopathic right-upper limb dystonia and controls were assessed through nonsimultaneous fMRI and fNIRS during a finger-tapping task. Seed-based connectivity analysis of resting-state fMRI was performed in both groups. Results: The fMRI results suggest nonspecific activation of the cerebellum and occipital lobe in dystonia patients during the finger-tapping task with the affected hand. Moreover, fNIRS data show lower activation in terms of oxyhemoglobin and total hemoglobin in the frontal, ipsilateral cortex, and somatosensory areas during this task. In dystonia, both fMRI and fNIRS data resulted in hypoactivation of the frontal cortex during finger tapping with both hands simultaneously. Resting-state functional connectivity analysis suggests that the cerebellar somatomotor network in dystonia has an increased correlation with the medial prefrontal cortex and the paracingulate gyrus. Conclusions: These data suggest that unbalanced activation of the cerebellum, somatosensory, and frontal cortical areas are associated with dystonia. To our knowledge, this is the first study using fNIRS to explore the pathophysiology of dystonia. We show that fNIRS and fMRI are complementary methods and highlight the potential of fNIRS for the study of dystonia and other movement disorders as it can overcome movement restrictions, enabling experiments in more naturalistic conditions.

PMID: 33094125 [PubMed]

Neurophotonics. 2020 Oct;7(4):045004

Authors: de Faria DD, Paulo AJM, Balardin J, Sato JR, Junior EA, Baltazar CA, Lucca RPD, Borges V, Silva SMCA, Ferraz HB, de Carvalho Aguiar P

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