Article prepared by Ferath Kherif – Head of methods group-Artificial and cognitive anatomy of the brain functions and diseases. 

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vadois (CHUV).

A new study examining the role of cortical and subcortical brain regions in force modulation was featured on the cover of Neuroimage’s latest issue. Motor Network mapping can provide key diagnostic information and predict the recovery of patients with brain lesions and motor deficits. 

The international team from multiple labs in Germany and Switzerland who conducted this study used a new method strategy for mapping grip force to motor networks across the whole brain and used data of over a thousand participants.

First, they identified candidate neural seed regions in a data set of MRI images of stroke survivors with motor deficits. They then explored and validated the relationship between the seeds regions and the cortical and subcortical regions in a large cohort of 997 subjects. 

As a method, they used the classical measure based on gray matter volume estimated from T1w MRI images, but they also used quantitative measurements of iron in the brain, which opened new opportunities to understand stroke, as well as other diseases.  

The network analysis revealed significant involvement of many gray matters and white matter regions including the cortico-spinal tract, basal ganglia, thalamus, cerebellum, and sensorimotor cortex. 

A comprehensive system approach to data extraction and analysis was employed based on network analysis, the integration of diverse types of image modalities, and the aggregation of large diverse datasets. This approach provided novel information that goes beyond the simple one-to-one mapping. The study demonstrated the heterogeneity of recovery by the many-to-many mapping as the result of a brain injury and the compensatory mechanisms the brain employed to maintain its function. 

The study is also computationally intensive, in order to combine large data sets as required here at low running costs, cloud-based technology is needed. To reduce the running cost even further, multi-cloud technology is explored by partners in the MORPHEMIC project. 

For Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vadois (CHUV) MORPHEMIC will give a further added value through the capability to deploy software-as-a-service in the community (public cloud) and private (private cloud) execution environment. This possibility will combine potentially unlimited data processing capabilities with the desired privacy level.

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