Automated method maps neuronal connections specific to autism
A new software package identifies nerve-fiber bundles in imaging data and maps the microstructure, length and trajectory of those ‘tracts’. The software can spot differences between people with autism and controls.
Scientists can visualize neural connections using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technique tracks the direction and speed of water molecules as they flow through the brain, and then computer software translates those measurements into pictures of the brain’s wiring.
Scientists can use diffusion MRI to test, for example, whether specific fiber tracts are unusual in autism. But this hypothesis-driven approach can miss alterations in other tracts. The new method automates the analysis to objectively illuminate differences in multiple fiber tracts.
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- 1st December 2017