Navigation Links
CU researchers develop new software to advance brain image research
Date:6/27/2011

A University of Colorado Boulder research team has developed a new software program allowing neuroscientists to produce single brain images pulled from hundreds of individual studies, trimming weeks and even months from what can be a tedious, time-consuming research process.

The development of noninvasive neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, spurred a huge amount of scientific research and led to substantial advances in the understanding of the human brain and cognitive function. However, instead of having too little data, researchers are besieged with too much, according to Tal Yarkoni, a postdoctoral fellow in CU-Boulder's psychology and neuroscience department.

The new software developed by Yarkoni and his colleagues can be programmed to comb scientific literature for published articles relevant to a particular topic, and then to extract all of the brain scan images from those articles. Using a statistical process called "meta-analysis," researchers are then able to produce a consensus "brain activation image" reflecting hundreds of studies at a time.

"Because the new approach is entirely automated, it can analyze hundreds of different experimental tasks or mental states nearly instantaneously instead of requiring researchers to spend weeks or months conducting just one analysis," said Yarkoni.

Yarkoni is the lead author on a paper introducing the new approach to analyzing brain imaging data that appears in the June 26 edition of the journal Nature Methods. Russell Poldrack of the University of Texas at Austin, Thomas Nichols of the University of Warwick in England, David Van Essen of Washington University in St. Louis and Tor Wager of CU-Boulder contributed to the paper.

Brain scanning techniques such as fMRI have revolutionized scientists' understanding of the human mind by allowing researchers to peer deep into people's brains as they engage in mental activities as diverse as reciting numbers, making financial decisions or simply daydreaming. But interpreting the results of brain imaging studies is often more difficult, according to Yarkoni.

"There's often the perception that what we're doing when we scan someone's brain is literally seeing their thoughts and feelings in action, but it's actually much more complicated," Yarkoni said. "The colorful images we see are really just estimates, because each study gives us a somewhat different picture. It's only by combining the results of many different studies that we get a really clear picture of what's going on."

The ability to look at many different mental states simultaneously allows researchers to ask interesting new questions. For instance, researchers can pick out a specific brain region they're interested in and determine which mental states are most likely to produce activation in that region, he said. Or they can calculate how likely a person is to be performing a particular task given their pattern of brain activity.

In their study, the research team was able to distinguish people who were experiencing physical pain during brain scanning from people who were performing a difficult memory task or viewing emotional pictures with nearly 80 percent accuracy. The team expects performance levels to improve as their software develops, and believes their tools will improve researchers' ability to decode mental states from brain activity.

"We don't expect to be able to tell what people are thinking or feeling at a very detailed level," Yarkoni said. "But we think we'll be able to distinguish relatively broad mental states from one another. And we're hopeful that might even eventually extend to mental health disorders, so that these tools will be useful for clinical diagnosis."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tal Yarkoni
tal.yarkoni@colorado.edu
303-492-4299
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership ... platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, ... index, and, when they opt in, share them with ... a local retail location at no cost. By leveraging ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 ... report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems ... Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital door lock systems ... Mn in 2014 and is forecast to grow at a ... of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady had ... she tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought the ... central Florida board-certified veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with the ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media ... The new Media Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company ... analysis. The re-branding components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... and LONDON , May 23, 2016 ... Could See Frontage Boost Efficiency by 40% - Frontage ... - Frontage Enforce Quality, Compliance and Traceability Within the Bioanalytical ... with labs in the United States and ... to be deployed across its laboratory facilities. In addition to ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, a leading provider of product ... official 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked hard to build long-term relationships,” ... for the privilege and honor of serving their product design and development needs through ...
Breaking Biology Technology: