NEUROCCINO

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Grab a coffee and an interesting paper from the last week and join us for a discussion of exciting science.

Every Monday morning

9:30 - 10:30AM UTC+1 (Paris time) 

Join live on Zoom or YouTube

 

Join live on Zoom 

Meeting ID: 895 8114 6322
Passcode: CNS

Zoom Link : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89581146322?pwd=QWp1a0ZqZ1I2bk9OUktDOVMrd3BKQT09

Or via the CNSeminars 

YouTube Channel

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How to prepare for a Neuroccino:

1. Try and summarise the main points of the paper (no need to prepare a presentation) and tell us why the paper got you excited.

2. What's the take-home message?

3. What did the authors do (e.g. what methods/analysis etc.)?

4. Who was the study cohort (e.g. volunteers, patients)?

5. Why did this paper capture your attention?

Most recent Neuroccino:

Neuroccino 30 May 2022 - Emergent reliability in sensory cortical coding and interarea communication
29:49

Neuroccino 30 May 2022 - Emergent reliability in sensory cortical coding and interarea communication

Reliable sensory discrimination must arise from high-fidelity neural representations and communication between brain areas. However, how neocortical sensory processing overcomes the substantial variability of neuronal sensory responses remains undetermined1,2,3,4,5,6. Here we imaged neuronal activity in eight neocortical areas concurrently and over five days in mice performing a visual discrimination task, yielding longitudinal recordings of more than 21,000 neurons. Analyses revealed a sequence of events across the neocortex starting from a resting state, to early stages of perception, and through the formation of a task response. At rest, the neocortex had one pattern of functional connections, identified through sets of areas that shared activity cofluctuations7,8. Within about 200 ms after the onset of the sensory stimulus, such connections rearranged, with different areas sharing cofluctuations and task-related information. During this short-lived state (approximately 300 ms duration), both inter-area sensory data transmission and the redundancy of sensory encoding peaked, reflecting a transient increase in correlated fluctuations among task-related neurons. By around 0.5 s after stimulus onset, the visual representation reached a more stable form, the structure of which was robust to the prominent, day-to-day variations in the responses of individual cells. About 1 s into stimulus presentation, a global fluctuation mode conveyed the upcoming response of the mouse to every area examined and was orthogonal to modes carrying sensory data. Overall, the neocortex supports sensory performance through brief elevations in sensory coding redundancy near the start of perception, neural population codes that are robust to cellular variability, and widespread inter-area fluctuation modes that transmit sensory data and task responses in non-interfering channels. Paper link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04724-y
Neuroccino 23 May 2022 - Validation of diffusion tractography with postmortem methods
32:23

Neuroccino 23 May 2022 - Validation of diffusion tractography with postmortem methods

Post mortem mapping of connectional anatomy for the validation of diffusion MRI Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a unique tool for the study of brain circuitry, as it allows us to image both the macroscopic trajectories and the microstructural properties of axon bundles in vivo. The Human Connectome Project ushered in an era of impressive advances in dMRI acquisition and analysis. As a result of these efforts, the quality of dMRI data that could be acquired in vivo improved substantially, and large collections of such data became widely available. Despite this progress, the main limitation of dMRI remains: it does not image axons directly, but only provides indirect measurements based on the diffusion of water molecules. Thus, it must be validated by methods that allow direct visualization of axons but that can only be performed in post mortem brain tissue. In this review, we discuss methods for validating the various features of connectional anatomy that are extracted from dMRI, both at the macro-scale (trajectories of axon bundles), and at micro-scale (axonal orientations and other microstructural properties). We present a range of validation tools, including anatomic tracer studies, Klingler's dissection, myelin stains, label-free optical imaging techniques, and others. We provide an overview of the basic principles of each technique, its limitations, and what it has taught us so far about the accuracy of different dMRI acquisition and analysis approaches. Paper link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811922002737?via%3Dihub
Neuroccino 9th May 2022 - Functional anatomy of idiomatic expressions
34:38

Neuroccino 9th May 2022 - Functional anatomy of idiomatic expressions

Idiomatic expressions (IE) are groups of words whose meaning is different from the sum of their components. Neural mechanisms underlying their processing are still debated, especially regarding lateralization, structures involved, and whether this neural network is independent of the spoken language. To investigate the neural correlates of IE processing in healthy Spanish speakers. 21 native speakers of Spanish were asked to select one of 4 possible meanings for IE or literal sentences. fMRI scans were performed in a 3.0T scanner and processed by SPM 12 comparing IE vs. literal sentences. Laterality indices were calculated at the group level. IE activated a bilateral, slightly right-sided network comprising the pars triangularis and areas 9 and 10. In the left hemisphere (LH): the pars orbitalis, superior frontal, angular and fusiform gyrus. In the right hemisphere (RH): anterior insula, middle frontal, and superior temporal gyrus. This network reveals the importance of the RH, besides traditional LH areas, to comprehend IE. This agrees with the semantic coding model: the LH activates narrow semantic fields choosing one single meaning and ignoring others, and the RH detects distant semantic relationships, activating diffuse semantic fields. It is also in line with the configuration hypothesis: both meanings, literal and figurative, are executed simultaneously, until the literal meaning is definitively rejected and the figurative one is accepted. Processing IE requires the activation of fronto-temporal networks in both hemispheres. The results concur with previous studies in other languages, so these networks are independent from the spoken language. Understanding these mechanisms sheds light on IE processing difficulties in different clinical populations and must be considered when planning resective surgery. #language #semantic #laterality
Neuroccino 11 April 2022 - GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigation
43:13

Neuroccino 11 April 2022 - GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigation

Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigation Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices and applications have become ubiquitous over the last decade. However, it is unclear whether using GPS affects our own internal navigation system, or spatial memory, which critically relies on the hippocampus. We assessed the lifetime GPS experience of 50 regular drivers as well as various facets of spatial memory, including spatial memory strategy use, cognitive mapping, and landmark encoding using virtual navigation tasks. We first present cross-sectional results that show that people with greater lifetime GPS experience have worse spatial memory during self-guided navigation, i.e. when they are required to navigate without GPS. In a follow-up session, 13 participants were retested three years after initial testing. Although the longitudinal sample was small, we observed an important effect of GPS use over time, whereby greater GPS use since initial testing was associated with a steeper decline in hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. Importantly, we found that those who used GPS more did not do so because they felt they had a poor sense of direction, suggesting that extensive GPS use led to a decline in spatial memory rather than the other way around. These findings are significant in the context of society’s increasing reliance on GPS. Paper link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-62877-0 #memory #navigation #visual
Neuroccino 4th April 2022 - Reproducible brain-wide association studies require 1000s of individuals
35:46

Neuroccino 4th April 2022 - Reproducible brain-wide association studies require 1000s of individuals

Reproducible brain-wide association studies require thousands of individuals Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has transformed our understanding of the human brain through well-replicated mapping of abilities to specific structures (for example, lesion studies) and functions1,2,3 (for example, task functional MRI (fMRI)). Mental health research and care have yet to realize similar advances from MRI. A primary challenge has been replicating associations between inter-individual differences in brain structure or function and complex cognitive or mental health phenotypes (brain-wide association studies (BWAS)). Such BWAS have typically relied on sample sizes appropriate for classical brain mapping4 (the median neuroimaging study sample size is about 25), but potentially too small for capturing reproducible brain–behavioural phenotype associations5,6. Here we used three of the largest neuroimaging datasets currently available—with a total sample size of around 50,000 individuals—to quantify BWAS effect sizes and reproducibility as a function of sample size. BWAS associations were smaller than previously thought, resulting in statistically underpowered studies, inflated effect sizes and replication failures at typical sample sizes. As sample sizes grew into the thousands, replication rates began to improve and effect size inflation decreased. More robust BWAS effects were detected for functional MRI (versus structural), cognitive tests (versus mental health questionnaires) and multivariate methods (versus univariate). Smaller than expected brain–phenotype associations and variability across population subsamples can explain widespread BWAS replication failures. In contrast to non-BWAS approaches with larger effects (for example, lesions, interventions and within-person), BWAS reproducibility requires samples with thousands of individuals. Paper link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04492-9
Neuroccino 21st March 2022 - The Digital Brain Bank, open access post mortem platform
24:07

Neuroccino 21st March 2022 - The Digital Brain Bank, open access post mortem platform

We reviewed the preprint a year ago (Links to preprint discussion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoOl5R9_7C8) now the paper was just published! Here is the update on it. Post-mortem MRI provides the opportunity to acquire high-resolution datasets to investigate neuroanatomy, and validate the origins of image contrast through microscopy comparisons. We introduce the Digital Brain Bank (open.win.ox.ac.uk/DigitalBrainBank), a data release platform providing open access to curated, multimodal post-mortem neuroimaging datasets. Datasets span three themes - Digital Neuroanatomist: datasets for detailed neuroanatomical investigations; Digital Brain Zoo: datasets for comparative neuroanatomy; Digital Pathologist: datasets for neuropathology investigations. The first Digital Brain Bank release includes twenty-one distinctive whole-brain diffusion MRI datasets for structural connectivity investigations, alongside microscopy and complementary MRI modalities. This includes one of the highest-resolution whole-brain human diffusion MRI datasets ever acquired, whole-brain diffusion MRI in fourteen non-human primate species, and one of the largest post-mortem whole-brain cohort imaging studies in neurodegeneration. The Digital Brain Bank is the culmination of our lab's investment into post-mortem MRI methodology and MRI-microscopy analysis techniques. This manuscript provides a detailed overview of our work with post-mortem imaging to date, including the development of diffusion MRI methods to image large post-mortem samples, including whole, human brains. Taken together, the Digital Brain Bank provides cross-scale, cross-species datasets facilitating the incorporation of post-mortem data into neuroimaging studies. Paper link: https://elifesciences.org/articles/73153 The other preprint we mentioned about tissue optimisation can be found here: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.13.472113v1.full.pdf #diffusion #MRI #comparative #postmortem
Neuroccino 14th March 2022 - A connectomics-based taxonomy of mammals
25:02

Neuroccino 14th March 2022 - A connectomics-based taxonomy of mammals

Mammalian taxonomies are conventionally defined by morphological traits and genetics. How species differ in terms of neural circuits and whether inter-species differences in neural circuit organization conform to these taxonomies is unknown. The main obstacle for the comparison of neural architectures have been differences in network reconstruction techniques, yielding species-specific connectomes that are not directly comparable to one another. Here we comprehensively chart connectome organization across the mammalian phylogenetic spectrum using a common reconstruction protocol. We analyze the mammalian MRI (MaMI) data set, a database that encompasses high-resolution ex vivo structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 124 species across 12 taxonomic orders and 5 superorders, collected using a single protocol on a single scanner. We assess similarity between species connectomes using two methods: similarity of Laplacian eigenspectra and similarity of multiscale topological features. We find greater inter-species similarities among species within the same taxonomic order, suggesting the connectome organization recapitulates traditional taxonomies defined by morphology and genetics. While all connectomes retain hallmark global features and relative proportions of connection classes, inter-species variation is driven by local regional connectivity profiles. By encoding connectomes into a common frame of reference, these findings establish a foundation for investigating how neural circuits change over phylogeny, forging a link from genes to circuits to behaviour. Preprint in BioRxiv: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.03.11.483995v1 #evolution #tractography #interspecies #connectomics #connectomes #comparative #neuroimaging #anatomy
Neuroccino 21st February 2022 - Neurobiology of plants?
37:03

Neuroccino 21st February 2022 - Neurobiology of plants?

Paperlink: https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcs.1578 Are trees like cortical areas and roots like a neuronal network? Find out more: Consciousness and cognition in plants Unlike animal behavior, behavior in plants is traditionally assumed to be completely determined either genetically or environmentally. Under this assumption, plants are usually considered to be noncognitive organisms. This view nonetheless clashes with a growing body of empirical research that shows that many sophisticated cognitive capabilities traditionally assumed to be exclusive to animals are exhibited by plants too. Yet, if plants can be considered cognitive, even in a minimal sense, can they also be considered conscious? Some authors defend that the quest for plant consciousness is worth pursuing, under the premise that sentience can play a role in facilitating plant's sophisticated behavior. The goal of this article is not to provide a positive argument for plant cognition and consciousness, but to invite a constructive, empirically informed debate about it. After reviewing the empirical literature concerning plant cognition, we introduce the reader to the emerging field of plant neurobiology. Research on plant electrical and chemical signaling can help shed light into the biological bases for plant sentience. To conclude, we shall present a series of approaches to scientifically investigate plant consciousness. In sum, we invite the reader to consider the idea that if consciousness boils down to some form of biological adaptation, we should not exclude a priori the possibility that plants have evolved their own phenomenal experience of the world. #cognition #plants #neurobiology #Consciousness