Publications by authors named "Sophia I Thomopoulos"

29 Publications

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The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Consortium: 10 Years of Global Collaborations in Human Brain Mapping.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Oct 6. Epub 2021 Oct 6.

Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

This Special Issue of Human Brain Mapping is dedicated to a 10-year anniversary of the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium. It reports updates from a broad range of international neuroimaging projects that pool data from around the world to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience. Since ENIGMA was formed in December 2009, the initiative grew into a worldwide effort with over 2,000 participating scientists from 45 countries, and over 50 working groups leading large-scale studies of human brain disorders. Over the last decade, many lessons were learned on how best to pool brain data from diverse sources. Working groups were created to develop methods to analyze worldwide data from anatomical and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), resting state and task-based functional MRI, electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The quest to understand genetic effects on human brain development and disease also led to analyses of brain scans on an unprecedented scale. Genetic roadmaps of the human cortex were created by researchers worldwide who collaborated to perform statistically well-powered analyses of common and rare genetic variants on brain measures and rates of brain development and aging. Here, we summarize the 31 papers in this Special Issue, covering: (a) technical approaches to harmonize analysis of different types of brain imaging data, (b) reviews of the last decade of work by several of ENIGMA's clinical and technical working groups, and (c) new empirical papers reporting large-scale international brain mapping analyses in patients with substance use disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, epilepsy, and stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25672DOI Listing
October 2021

Cortical and subcortical brain structure in generalized anxiety disorder: findings from 28 research sites in the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 10 1;11(1):502. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

Center Of Excellence On Mood Disorders, Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

The goal of this study was to compare brain structure between individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and healthy controls. Previous studies have generated inconsistent findings, possibly due to small sample sizes, or clinical/analytic heterogeneity. To address these concerns, we combined data from 28 research sites worldwide through the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group, using a single, pre-registered mega-analysis. Structural magnetic resonance imaging data from children and adults (5-90 years) were processed using FreeSurfer. The main analysis included the regional and vertex-wise cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and subcortical volume as dependent variables, and GAD, age, age-squared, sex, and their interactions as independent variables. Nuisance variables included IQ, years of education, medication use, comorbidities, and global brain measures. The main analysis (1020 individuals with GAD and 2999 healthy controls) included random slopes per site and random intercepts per scanner. A secondary analysis (1112 individuals with GAD and 3282 healthy controls) included fixed slopes and random intercepts per scanner with the same variables. The main analysis showed no effect of GAD on brain structure, nor interactions involving GAD, age, or sex. The secondary analysis showed increased volume in the right ventral diencephalon in male individuals with GAD compared to male healthy controls, whereas female individuals with GAD did not differ from female healthy controls. This mega-analysis combining worldwide data showed that differences in brain structure related to GAD are small, possibly reflecting heterogeneity or those structural alterations are not a major component of its pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01622-1DOI Listing
October 2021

Brain Structure and Degeneration Staging in Friedreich Ataxia: Magnetic Resonance Imaging Volumetrics from the ENIGMA-Ataxia Working Group.

Ann Neurol 2021 Oct 17;90(4):570-583. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

NSRO Department, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.

Objective: Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an inherited neurological disease defined by progressive movement incoordination. We undertook a comprehensive characterization of the spatial profile and progressive evolution of structural brain abnormalities in people with FRDA.

Methods: A coordinated international analysis of regional brain volume using magnetic resonance imaging data charted the whole-brain profile, interindividual variability, and temporal staging of structural brain differences in 248 individuals with FRDA and 262 healthy controls.

Results: The brainstem, dentate nucleus region, and superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles showed the greatest reductions in volume relative to controls (Cohen d = 1.5-2.6). Cerebellar gray matter alterations were most pronounced in lobules I-VI (d = 0.8), whereas cerebral differences occurred most prominently in precentral gyri (d = 0.6) and corticospinal tracts (d = 1.4). Earlier onset age predicted less volume in the motor cerebellum (r  = 0.35) and peduncles (r  = 0.36). Disease duration and severity correlated with volume deficits in the dentate nucleus region, brainstem, and superior/inferior cerebellar peduncles (r  = -0.49); subgrouping showed these to be robust and early features of FRDA, and strong candidates for further biomarker validation. Cerebral white matter abnormalities, particularly in corticospinal pathways, emerge as intermediate disease features. Cerebellar and cerebral gray matter loss, principally targeting motor and sensory systems, preferentially manifests later in the disease course.

Interpretation: FRDA is defined by an evolving spatial profile of neuroanatomical changes beyond primary pathology in the cerebellum and spinal cord, in line with its progressive clinical course. The design, interpretation, and generalization of research studies and clinical trials must consider neuroanatomical staging and associated interindividual variability in brain measures. ANN NEUROL 2021;90:570-583.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26200DOI Listing
October 2021

The ENIGMA Toolbox: multiscale neural contextualization of multisite neuroimaging datasets.

Nat Methods 2021 07;18(7):698-700

Multimodal Imaging and Connectome Analysis Laboratory, McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41592-021-01186-4DOI Listing
July 2021

Sex is a defining feature of neuroimaging phenotypes in major brain disorders.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 May 5. Epub 2021 May 5.

Imaging Genetics Center, Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Marina del Rey, California, USA.

Sex is a biological variable that contributes to individual variability in brain structure and behavior. Neuroimaging studies of population-based samples have identified normative differences in brain structure between males and females, many of which are exacerbated in psychiatric and neurological conditions. Still, sex differences in MRI outcomes are understudied, particularly in clinical samples with known sex differences in disease risk, prevalence, and expression of clinical symptoms. Here we review the existing literature on sex differences in adult brain structure in normative samples and in 14 distinct psychiatric and neurological disorders. We discuss commonalities and sources of variance in study designs, analysis procedures, disease subtype effects, and the impact of these factors on MRI interpretation. Lastly, we identify key problems in the neuroimaging literature on sex differences and offer potential recommendations to address current barriers and optimize rigor and reproducibility. In particular, we emphasize the importance of large-scale neuroimaging initiatives such as the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analyses consortium, the UK Biobank, Human Connectome Project, and others to provide unprecedented power to evaluate sex-specific phenotypes in major brain diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25438DOI Listing
May 2021

Effects of copy number variations on brain structure and risk for psychiatric illness: Large-scale studies from the ENIGMA working groups on CNVs.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 21. Epub 2021 Feb 21.

Center for Neuroimaging, Genetics and Genomics, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland.

The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis copy number variant (ENIGMA-CNV) and 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Working Groups (22q-ENIGMA WGs) were created to gain insight into the involvement of genetic factors in human brain development and related cognitive, psychiatric and behavioral manifestations. To that end, the ENIGMA-CNV WG has collated CNV and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from ~49,000 individuals across 38 global research sites, yielding one of the largest studies to date on the effects of CNVs on brain structures in the general population. The 22q-ENIGMA WG includes 12 international research centers that assessed over 533 individuals with a confirmed 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, 40 with 22q11.2 duplications, and 333 typically developing controls, creating the largest-ever 22q11.2 CNV neuroimaging data set. In this review, we outline the ENIGMA infrastructure and procedures for multi-site analysis of CNVs and MRI data. So far, ENIGMA has identified effects of the 22q11.2, 16p11.2 distal, 15q11.2, and 1q21.1 distal CNVs on subcortical and cortical brain structures. Each CNV is associated with differences in cognitive, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric traits, with characteristic patterns of brain structural abnormalities. Evidence of gene-dosage effects on distinct brain regions also emerged, providing further insight into genotype-phenotype relationships. Taken together, these results offer a more comprehensive picture of molecular mechanisms involved in typical and atypical brain development. This "genotype-first" approach also contributes to our understanding of the etiopathogenesis of brain disorders. Finally, we outline future directions to better understand effects of CNVs on brain structure and behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25354DOI Listing
February 2021

Cortical thickness across the lifespan: Data from 17,075 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 17. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, Departamento e Instituto de Psiquiatria, Hospital das Clinicas HCFMUSP, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Delineating the association of age and cortical thickness in healthy individuals is critical given the association of cortical thickness with cognition and behavior. Previous research has shown that robust estimates of the association between age and brain morphometry require large-scale studies. In response, we used cross-sectional data from 17,075 individuals aged 3-90 years from the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to infer age-related changes in cortical thickness. We used fractional polynomial (FP) regression to quantify the association between age and cortical thickness, and we computed normalized growth centiles using the parametric Lambda, Mu, and Sigma method. Interindividual variability was estimated using meta-analysis and one-way analysis of variance. For most regions, their highest cortical thickness value was observed in childhood. Age and cortical thickness showed a negative association; the slope was steeper up to the third decade of life and more gradual thereafter; notable exceptions to this general pattern were entorhinal, temporopolar, and anterior cingulate cortices. Interindividual variability was largest in temporal and frontal regions across the lifespan. Age and its FP combinations explained up to 59% variance in cortical thickness. These results may form the basis of further investigation on normative deviation in cortical thickness and its significance for behavioral and cognitive outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25364DOI Listing
February 2021

Subcortical volumes across the lifespan: Data from 18,605 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 11. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Psychology, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Age has a major effect on brain volume. However, the normative studies available are constrained by small sample sizes, restricted age coverage and significant methodological variability. These limitations introduce inconsistencies and may obscure or distort the lifespan trajectories of brain morphometry. In response, we capitalized on the resources of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to examine age-related trajectories inferred from cross-sectional measures of the ventricles, the basal ganglia (caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens), the thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala using magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from 18,605 individuals aged 3-90 years. All subcortical structure volumes were at their maximum value early in life. The volume of the basal ganglia showed a monotonic negative association with age thereafter; there was no significant association between age and the volumes of the thalamus, amygdala and the hippocampus (with some degree of decline in thalamus) until the sixth decade of life after which they also showed a steep negative association with age. The lateral ventricles showed continuous enlargement throughout the lifespan. Age was positively associated with inter-individual variability in the hippocampus and amygdala and the lateral ventricles. These results were robust to potential confounders and could be used to examine the functional significance of deviations from typical age-related morphometric patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25320DOI Listing
February 2021

Comparison of regional brain deficit patterns in common psychiatric and neurological disorders as revealed by big data.

Neuroimage Clin 2021 26;29:102574. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Neurological and psychiatric illnesses are associated with regional brain deficit patterns that bear unique signatures and capture illness-specific characteristics. The Regional Vulnerability Index (RVI) was developed toquantify brain similarity by comparing individual white matter microstructure, cortical gray matter thickness and subcortical gray matter structural volume measures with neuroanatomical deficit patterns derived from large-scale meta-analytic studies. We tested the specificity of the RVI approach for major depressive disorder (MDD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a large epidemiological sample of UK Biobank (UKBB) participants (N = 19,393; 9138 M/10,255F; age = 64.8 ± 7.4 years). Compared to controls free of neuropsychiatric disorders, participants with MDD (N = 2,248; 805 M/1443F; age = 63.4 ± 7.4) had significantly higher RVI-MDD values (t = 5.6, p = 1·10), but showed no detectable difference in RVI-AD (t = 2.0, p = 0.10). Subjects with dementia (N = 7; 4 M/3F; age = 68.6 ± 8.6 years) showed significant elevation in RVI-AD (t = 4.2, p = 3·10) but not RVI-MDD (t = 2.1, p = 0.10) compared to controls. Even within affective illnesses, participants with bipolar disorder (N = 54) and anxiety disorder (N = 773) showed no significant elevation in whole-brain RVI-MDD. Participants with Parkinson's disease (N = 37) showed elevation in RVI-AD (t = 2.4, p = 0.01) while subjects with stroke (N = 247) showed no such elevation (t = 1.1, p = 0.3). In summary, we demonstrated elevation in RVI-MDD and RVI-AD measures in the respective illnesses with strong replicability that is relatively specific to the respective diagnoses. These neuroanatomic deviation patterns offer a useful biomarker for population-wide assessments of similarity to neuropsychiatric illnesses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102574DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851406PMC
June 2021

Ten years of enhancing neuro-imaging genetics through meta-analysis: An overview from the ENIGMA Genetics Working Group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Dec 10. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Imaging Genetics Center, Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine of USC, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, California, USA.

Here we review the motivation for creating the enhancing neuroimaging genetics through meta-analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium and the genetic analyses undertaken by the consortium so far. We discuss the methodological challenges, findings, and future directions of the genetics working group. A major goal of the working group is tackling the reproducibility crisis affecting "candidate gene" and genome-wide association analyses in neuroimaging. To address this, we developed harmonized analytic methods, and support their use in coordinated analyses across sites worldwide, which also makes it possible to understand heterogeneity in results across sites. These efforts have resulted in the identification of hundreds of common genomic loci robustly associated with brain structure. We have found both pleiotropic and specific genetic effects associated with brain structures, as well as genetic correlations with psychiatric and neurological diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25311DOI Listing
December 2020

Cortical volume abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder: an ENIGMA-psychiatric genomics consortium PTSD workgroup mega-analysis.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 Dec 7. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA.

Studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report volume abnormalities in multiple regions of the cerebral cortex. However, findings for many regions, particularly regions outside commonly studied emotion-related prefrontal, insular, and limbic regions, are inconsistent and tentative. Also, few studies address the possibility that PTSD abnormalities may be confounded by comorbid depression. A mega-analysis investigating all cortical regions in a large sample of PTSD and control subjects can potentially provide new insight into these issues. Given this perspective, our group aggregated regional volumes data of 68 cortical regions across both hemispheres from 1379 PTSD patients to 2192 controls without PTSD after data were processed by 32 international laboratories using ENIGMA standardized procedures. We examined whether regional cortical volumes were different in PTSD vs. controls, were associated with posttraumatic stress symptom (PTSS) severity, or were affected by comorbid depression. Volumes of left and right lateral orbitofrontal gyri (LOFG), left superior temporal gyrus, and right insular, lingual and superior parietal gyri were significantly smaller, on average, in PTSD patients than controls (standardized coefficients = -0.111 to -0.068, FDR corrected P values < 0.039) and were significantly negatively correlated with PTSS severity. After adjusting for depression symptoms, the PTSD findings in left and right LOFG remained significant. These findings indicate that cortical volumes in PTSD patients are smaller in prefrontal regulatory regions, as well as in broader emotion and sensory processing cortical regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00967-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8180531PMC
December 2020

In vivo hippocampal subfield volumes in bipolar disorder-A mega-analysis from The Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Bipolar Disorder Working Group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Oct 19. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

The hippocampus consists of anatomically and functionally distinct subfields that may be differentially involved in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). Here we, the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Bipolar Disorder workinggroup, study hippocampal subfield volumetry in BD. T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans from 4,698 individuals (BD = 1,472, healthy controls [HC] = 3,226) from 23 sites worldwide were processed with FreeSurfer. We used linear mixed-effects models and mega-analysis to investigate differences in hippocampal subfield volumes between BD and HC, followed by analyses of clinical characteristics and medication use. BD showed significantly smaller volumes of the whole hippocampus (Cohen's d = -0.20), cornu ammonis (CA)1 (d = -0.18), CA2/3 (d = -0.11), CA4 (d = -0.19), molecular layer (d = -0.21), granule cell layer of dentate gyrus (d = -0.21), hippocampal tail (d = -0.10), subiculum (d = -0.15), presubiculum (d = -0.18), and hippocampal amygdala transition area (d = -0.17) compared to HC. Lithium users did not show volume differences compared to HC, while non-users did. Antipsychotics or antiepileptic use was associated with smaller volumes. In this largest study of hippocampal subfields in BD to date, we show widespread reductions in nine of 12 subfields studied. The associations were modulated by medication use and specifically the lack of differences between lithium users and HC supports a possible protective role of lithium in BD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25249DOI Listing
October 2020

Greater male than female variability in regional brain structure across the lifespan.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Oct 12. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

FIDMAG Germanes Hospitalàries Research Foundation, Barcelona, Spain.

For many traits, males show greater variability than females, with possible implications for understanding sex differences in health and disease. Here, the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium presents the largest-ever mega-analysis of sex differences in variability of brain structure, based on international data spanning nine decades of life. Subcortical volumes, cortical surface area and cortical thickness were assessed in MRI data of 16,683 healthy individuals 1-90 years old (47% females). We observed significant patterns of greater male than female between-subject variance for all subcortical volumetric measures, all cortical surface area measures, and 60% of cortical thickness measures. This pattern was stable across the lifespan for 50% of the subcortical structures, 70% of the regional area measures, and nearly all regions for thickness. Our findings that these sex differences are present in childhood implicate early life genetic or gene-environment interaction mechanisms. The findings highlight the importance of individual differences within the sexes, that may underpin sex-specific vulnerability to disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25204DOI Listing
October 2020

Intelligence, educational attainment, and brain structure in those at familial high-risk for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Oct 7. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, Australia.

First-degree relatives of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (SZ-FDRs) show similar patterns of brain abnormalities and cognitive alterations to patients, albeit with smaller effect sizes. First-degree relatives of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD-FDRs) show divergent patterns; on average, intracranial volume is larger compared to controls, and findings on cognitive alterations in BD-FDRs are inconsistent. Here, we performed a meta-analysis of global and regional brain measures (cortical and subcortical), current IQ, and educational attainment in 5,795 individuals (1,103 SZ-FDRs, 867 BD-FDRs, 2,190 controls, 942 schizophrenia patients, 693 bipolar patients) from 36 schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder family cohorts, with standardized methods. Compared to controls, SZ-FDRs showed a pattern of widespread thinner cortex, while BD-FDRs had widespread larger cortical surface area. IQ was lower in SZ-FDRs (d = -0.42, p = 3 × 10 ), with weak evidence of IQ reductions among BD-FDRs (d = -0.23, p = .045). Both relative groups had similar educational attainment compared to controls. When adjusting for IQ or educational attainment, the group-effects on brain measures changed, albeit modestly. Changes were in the expected direction, with less pronounced brain abnormalities in SZ-FDRs and more pronounced effects in BD-FDRs. To conclude, SZ-FDRs and BD-FDRs show a differential pattern of structural brain abnormalities. In contrast, both had lower IQ scores and similar school achievements compared to controls. Given that brain differences between SZ-FDRs and BD-FDRs remain after adjusting for IQ or educational attainment, we suggest that differential brain developmental processes underlying predisposition for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are likely independent of general cognitive impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25206DOI Listing
October 2020

Intracranial and subcortical volumes in adolescents with early-onset psychosis: A multisite mega-analysis from the ENIGMA consortium.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Oct 5. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Hurvitz Brain Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Early-onset psychosis disorders are serious mental disorders arising before the age of 18 years. Here, we investigate the largest neuroimaging dataset, to date, of patients with early-onset psychosis and healthy controls for differences in intracranial and subcortical brain volumes. The sample included 263 patients with early-onset psychosis (mean age: 16.4 ± 1.4 years, mean illness duration: 1.5 ± 1.4 years, 39.2% female) and 359 healthy controls (mean age: 15.9 ± 1.7 years, 45.4% female) with magnetic resonance imaging data, pooled from 11 clinical cohorts. Patients were diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia (n = 183), affective psychosis (n = 39), or other psychotic disorders (n = 41). We used linear mixed-effects models to investigate differences in intracranial and subcortical volumes across the patient sample, diagnostic subgroup and antipsychotic medication, relative to controls. We observed significantly lower intracranial (Cohen's d = -0.39) and hippocampal (d = -0.25) volumes, and higher caudate (d = 0.25) and pallidum (d = 0.24) volumes in patients relative to controls. Intracranial volume was lower in both early-onset schizophrenia (d = -0.34) and affective psychosis (d = -0.42), and early-onset schizophrenia showed lower hippocampal (d = -0.24) and higher pallidum (d = 0.29) volumes. Patients who were currently treated with antipsychotic medication (n = 193) had significantly lower intracranial volume (d = -0.42). The findings demonstrate a similar pattern of brain alterations in early-onset psychosis as previously reported in adult psychosis, but with notably low intracranial volume. The low intracranial volume suggests disrupted neurodevelopment in adolescent early-onset psychosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25212DOI Listing
October 2020

Virtual Histology of Cortical Thickness and Shared Neurobiology in 6 Psychiatric Disorders.

JAMA Psychiatry 2021 Jan;78(1):47-63

Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Importance: Large-scale neuroimaging studies have revealed group differences in cortical thickness across many psychiatric disorders. The underlying neurobiology behind these differences is not well understood.

Objective: To determine neurobiologic correlates of group differences in cortical thickness between cases and controls in 6 disorders: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Profiles of group differences in cortical thickness between cases and controls were generated using T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. Similarity between interregional profiles of cell-specific gene expression and those in the group differences in cortical thickness were investigated in each disorder. Next, principal component analysis was used to reveal a shared profile of group difference in thickness across the disorders. Analysis for gene coexpression, clustering, and enrichment for genes associated with these disorders were conducted. Data analysis was conducted between June and December 2019. The analysis included 145 cohorts across 6 psychiatric disorders drawn from the ENIGMA consortium. The numbers of cases and controls in each of the 6 disorders were as follows: ADHD: 1814 and 1602; ASD: 1748 and 1770; BD: 1547 and 3405; MDD: 2658 and 3572; OCD: 2266 and 2007; and schizophrenia: 2688 and 3244.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Interregional profiles of group difference in cortical thickness between cases and controls.

Results: A total of 12 721 cases and 15 600 controls, ranging from ages 2 to 89 years, were included in this study. Interregional profiles of group differences in cortical thickness for each of the 6 psychiatric disorders were associated with profiles of gene expression specific to pyramidal (CA1) cells, astrocytes (except for BD), and microglia (except for OCD); collectively, gene-expression profiles of the 3 cell types explain between 25% and 54% of variance in interregional profiles of group differences in cortical thickness. Principal component analysis revealed a shared profile of difference in cortical thickness across the 6 disorders (48% variance explained); interregional profile of this principal component 1 was associated with that of the pyramidal-cell gene expression (explaining 56% of interregional variation). Coexpression analyses of these genes revealed 2 clusters: (1) a prenatal cluster enriched with genes involved in neurodevelopmental (axon guidance) processes and (2) a postnatal cluster enriched with genes involved in synaptic activity and plasticity-related processes. These clusters were enriched with genes associated with all 6 psychiatric disorders.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, shared neurobiologic processes were associated with differences in cortical thickness across multiple psychiatric disorders. These processes implicate a common role of prenatal development and postnatal functioning of the cerebral cortex in these disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450410PMC
January 2021

Challenges and opportunities for neuroimaging in young patients with traumatic brain injury: a coordinated effort towards advancing discovery from the ENIGMA pediatric moderate/severe TBI group.

Brain Imaging Behav 2021 Apr;15(2):555-575

TBI and Concussion Center, Department of Neurology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in children in both developed and developing nations. Children and adolescents suffer from TBI at a higher rate than the general population, and specific developmental issues require a unique context since findings from adult research do not necessarily directly translate to children. Findings in pediatric cohorts tend to lag behind those in adult samples. This may be due, in part, both to the smaller number of investigators engaged in research with this population and may also be related to changes in safety laws and clinical practice that have altered length of hospital stays, treatment, and access to this population. The ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Pediatric Moderate/Severe TBI (msTBI) group aims to advance research in this area through global collaborative meta-analysis of neuroimaging data. In this paper, we discuss important challenges in pediatric TBI research and opportunities that we believe the ENIGMA Pediatric msTBI group can provide to address them. With the paucity of research studies examining neuroimaging biomarkers in pediatric patients with TBI and the challenges of recruiting large numbers of participants, collaborating to improve statistical power and to address technical challenges like lesions will significantly advance the field. We conclude with recommendations for future research in this field of study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11682-020-00363-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7855317PMC
April 2021

What we learn about bipolar disorder from large-scale neuroimaging: Findings and future directions from the ENIGMA Bipolar Disorder Working Group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Jul 29. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Mental Health and Addicition, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

MRI-derived brain measures offer a link between genes, the environment and behavior and have been widely studied in bipolar disorder (BD). However, many neuroimaging studies of BD have been underpowered, leading to varied results and uncertainty regarding effects. The Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Bipolar Disorder Working Group was formed in 2012 to empower discoveries, generate consensus findings and inform future hypothesis-driven studies of BD. Through this effort, over 150 researchers from 20 countries and 55 institutions pool data and resources to produce the largest neuroimaging studies of BD ever conducted. The ENIGMA Bipolar Disorder Working Group applies standardized processing and analysis techniques to empower large-scale meta- and mega-analyses of multimodal brain MRI and improve the replicability of studies relating brain variation to clinical and genetic data. Initial BD Working Group studies reveal widespread patterns of lower cortical thickness, subcortical volume and disrupted white matter integrity associated with BD. Findings also include mapping brain alterations of common medications like lithium, symptom patterns and clinical risk profiles and have provided further insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of BD. Here we discuss key findings from the BD working group, its ongoing projects and future directions for large-scale, collaborative studies of mental illness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25098DOI Listing
July 2020

ENIGMA-anxiety working group: Rationale for and organization of large-scale neuroimaging studies of anxiety disorders.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Jul 3. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and disabling but seem particularly tractable to investigation with translational neuroscience methodologies. Neuroimaging has informed our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety disorders, but research has been limited by small sample sizes and low statistical power, as well as heterogenous imaging methodology. The ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group has brought together researchers from around the world, in a harmonized and coordinated effort to address these challenges and generate more robust and reproducible findings. This paper elaborates on the concepts and methods informing the work of the working group to date, and describes the initial approach of the four subgroups studying generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. At present, the ENIGMA-Anxiety database contains information about more than 100 unique samples, from 16 countries and 59 institutes. Future directions include examining additional imaging modalities, integrating imaging and genetic data, and collaborating with other ENIGMA working groups. The ENIGMA consortium creates synergy at the intersection of global mental health and clinical neuroscience, and the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group extends the promise of this approach to neuroimaging research on anxiety disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25100DOI Listing
July 2020

Mega-analysis methods in ENIGMA: The experience of the generalized anxiety disorder working group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Jun 29. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The ENIGMA group on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (ENIGMA-Anxiety/GAD) is part of a broader effort to investigate anxiety disorders using imaging and genetic data across multiple sites worldwide. The group is actively conducting a mega-analysis of a large number of brain structural scans. In this process, the group was confronted with many methodological challenges related to study planning and implementation, between-country transfer of subject-level data, quality control of a considerable amount of imaging data, and choices related to statistical methods and efficient use of resources. This report summarizes the background information and rationale for the various methodological decisions, as well as the approach taken to implement them. The goal is to document the approach and help guide other research groups working with large brain imaging data sets as they develop their own analytic pipelines for mega-analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25096DOI Listing
June 2020

ENIGMA MDD: seven years of global neuroimaging studies of major depression through worldwide data sharing.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 05 29;10(1):172. Epub 2020 May 29.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, USA.

A key objective in the field of translational psychiatry over the past few decades has been to identify the brain correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD). Identifying measurable indicators of brain processes associated with MDD could facilitate the detection of individuals at risk, and the development of novel treatments, the monitoring of treatment effects, and predicting who might benefit most from treatments that target specific brain mechanisms. However, despite intensive neuroimaging research towards this effort, underpowered studies and a lack of reproducible findings have hindered progress. Here, we discuss the work of the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Consortium, which was established to address issues of poor replication, unreliable results, and overestimation of effect sizes in previous studies. The ENIGMA MDD Consortium currently includes data from 45 MDD study cohorts from 14 countries across six continents. The primary aim of ENIGMA MDD is to identify structural and functional brain alterations associated with MDD that can be reliably detected and replicated across cohorts worldwide. A secondary goal is to investigate how demographic, genetic, clinical, psychological, and environmental factors affect these associations. In this review, we summarize findings of the ENIGMA MDD disease working group to date and discuss future directions. We also highlight the challenges and benefits of large-scale data sharing for mental health research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0842-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7260219PMC
May 2020

The ENIGMA-Epilepsy working group: Mapping disease from large data sets.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 May 29. Epub 2020 May 29.

Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Querétaro, Mexico.

Epilepsy is a common and serious neurological disorder, with many different constituent conditions characterized by their electro clinical, imaging, and genetic features. MRI has been fundamental in advancing our understanding of brain processes in the epilepsies. Smaller-scale studies have identified many interesting imaging phenomena, with implications both for understanding pathophysiology and improving clinical care. Through the infrastructure and concepts now well-established by the ENIGMA Consortium, ENIGMA-Epilepsy was established to strengthen epilepsy neuroscience by greatly increasing sample sizes, leveraging ideas and methods established in other ENIGMA projects, and generating a body of collaborating scientists and clinicians to drive forward robust research. Here we review published, current, and future projects, that include structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI), and that employ advanced methods including structural covariance, and event-based modeling analysis. We explore age of onset- and duration-related features, as well as phenomena-specific work focusing on particular epilepsy syndromes or phenotypes, multimodal analyses focused on understanding the biology of disease progression, and deep learning approaches. We encourage groups who may be interested in participating to make contact to further grow and develop ENIGMA-Epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25037DOI Listing
May 2020

Brain aging in major depressive disorder: results from the ENIGMA major depressive disorder working group.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 May 18. Epub 2020 May 18.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with an increased risk of brain atrophy, aging-related diseases, and mortality. We examined potential advanced brain aging in adult MDD patients, and whether this process is associated with clinical characteristics in a large multicenter international dataset. We performed a mega-analysis by pooling brain measures derived from T1-weighted MRI scans from 19 samples worldwide. Healthy brain aging was estimated by predicting chronological age (18-75 years) from 7 subcortical volumes, 34 cortical thickness and 34 surface area, lateral ventricles and total intracranial volume measures separately in 952 male and 1236 female controls from the ENIGMA MDD working group. The learned model coefficients were applied to 927 male controls and 986 depressed males, and 1199 female controls and 1689 depressed females to obtain independent unbiased brain-based age predictions. The difference between predicted "brain age" and chronological age was calculated to indicate brain-predicted age difference (brain-PAD). On average, MDD patients showed a higher brain-PAD of +1.08 (SE 0.22) years (Cohen's d = 0.14, 95% CI: 0.08-0.20) compared with controls. However, this difference did not seem to be driven by specific clinical characteristics (recurrent status, remission status, antidepressant medication use, age of onset, or symptom severity). This highly powered collaborative effort showed subtle patterns of age-related structural brain abnormalities in MDD. Substantial within-group variance and overlap between groups were observed. Longitudinal studies of MDD and somatic health outcomes are needed to further assess the clinical value of these brain-PAD estimates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0754-0DOI Listing
May 2020

Mapping brain asymmetry in health and disease through the ENIGMA consortium.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 May 18. Epub 2020 May 18.

Language and Genetics Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Left-right asymmetry of the human brain is one of its cardinal features, and also a complex, multivariate trait. Decades of research have suggested that brain asymmetry may be altered in psychiatric disorders. However, findings have been inconsistent and often based on small sample sizes. There are also open questions surrounding which structures are asymmetrical on average in the healthy population, and how variability in brain asymmetry relates to basic biological variables such as age and sex. Over the last 4 years, the ENIGMA-Laterality Working Group has published six studies of gray matter morphological asymmetry based on total sample sizes from roughly 3,500 to 17,000 individuals, which were between one and two orders of magnitude larger than those published in previous decades. A population-level mapping of average asymmetry was achieved, including an intriguing fronto-occipital gradient of cortical thickness asymmetry in healthy brains. ENIGMA's multi-dataset approach also supported an empirical illustration of reproducibility of hemispheric differences across datasets. Effect sizes were estimated for gray matter asymmetry based on large, international, samples in relation to age, sex, handedness, and brain volume, as well as for three psychiatric disorders: autism spectrum disorder was associated with subtly reduced asymmetry of cortical thickness at regions spread widely over the cortex; pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder was associated with altered subcortical asymmetry; major depressive disorder was not significantly associated with changes of asymmetry. Ongoing studies are examining brain asymmetry in other disorders. Moreover, a groundwork has been laid for possibly identifying shared genetic contributions to brain asymmetry and disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25033DOI Listing
May 2020

ENIGMA and global neuroscience: A decade of large-scale studies of the brain in health and disease across more than 40 countries.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 03 20;10(1):100. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the human brain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicated genetic loci associated with brain metrics, ENIGMA has diversified into over 50 working groups (WGs), pooling worldwide data and expertise to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology, and genetics. Most ENIGMA WGs focus on specific psychiatric and neurological conditions, other WGs study normal variation due to sex and gender differences, or development and aging; still other WGs develop methodological pipelines and tools to facilitate harmonized analyses of "big data" (i.e., genetic and epigenetic data, multimodal MRI, and electroencephalography data). These international efforts have yielded the largest neuroimaging studies to date in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. More recent ENIGMA WGs have formed to study anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sleep and insomnia, eating disorders, irritability, brain injury, antisocial personality and conduct disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Here, we summarize the first decade of ENIGMA's activities and ongoing projects, and describe the successes and challenges encountered along the way. We highlight the advantages of collaborative large-scale coordinated data analyses for testing reproducibility and robustness of findings, offering the opportunity to identify brain systems involved in clinical syndromes across diverse samples and associated genetic, environmental, demographic, cognitive, and psychosocial factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0705-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083923PMC
March 2020

The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex.

Science 2020 03;367(6484)

The cerebral cortex underlies our complex cognitive capabilities, yet little is known about the specific genetic loci that influence human cortical structure. To identify genetic variants that affect cortical structure, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 51,665 individuals. We analyzed the surface area and average thickness of the whole cortex and 34 regions with known functional specializations. We identified 199 significant loci and found significant enrichment for loci influencing total surface area within regulatory elements that are active during prenatal cortical development, supporting the radial unit hypothesis. Loci that affect regional surface area cluster near genes in Wnt signaling pathways, which influence progenitor expansion and areal identity. Variation in cortical structure is genetically correlated with cognitive function, Parkinson's disease, insomnia, depression, neuroticism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay6690DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295264PMC
March 2020

An overview of the first 5 years of the ENIGMA obsessive-compulsive disorder working group: The power of worldwide collaboration.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Mar 10. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts.

Neuroimaging has played an important part in advancing our understanding of the neurobiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At the same time, neuroimaging studies of OCD have had notable limitations, including reliance on relatively small samples. International collaborative efforts to increase statistical power by combining samples from across sites have been bolstered by the ENIGMA consortium; this provides specific technical expertise for conducting multi-site analyses, as well as access to a collaborative community of neuroimaging scientists. In this article, we outline the background to, development of, and initial findings from ENIGMA's OCD working group, which currently consists of 47 samples from 34 institutes in 15 countries on 5 continents, with a total sample of 2,323 OCD patients and 2,325 healthy controls. Initial work has focused on studies of cortical thickness and subcortical volumes, structural connectivity, and brain lateralization in children, adolescents and adults with OCD, also including the study on the commonalities and distinctions across different neurodevelopment disorders. Additional work is ongoing, employing machine learning techniques. Findings to date have contributed to the development of neurobiological models of OCD, have provided an important model of global scientific collaboration, and have had a number of clinical implications. Importantly, our work has shed new light on questions about whether structural and functional alterations found in OCD reflect neurodevelopmental changes, effects of the disease process, or medication impacts. We conclude with a summary of ongoing work by ENIGMA-OCD, and a consideration of future directions for neuroimaging research on OCD within and beyond ENIGMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24972DOI Listing
March 2020

Altered Cortical Brain Structure and Increased Risk for Disease Seen Decades After Perinatal Exposure to Maternal Smoking: A Study of 9000 Adults in the UK Biobank.

Cereb Cortex 2019 12;29(12):5217-5233

Imaging Genetics Center, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, CA USA.

Secondhand smoke exposure is a major public health risk that is especially harmful to the developing brain, but it is unclear if early exposure affects brain structure during middle age and older adulthood. Here we analyzed brain MRI data from the UK Biobank in a population-based sample of individuals (ages 44-80) who were exposed (n = 2510) or unexposed (n = 6079) to smoking around birth. We used robust statistical models, including quantile regressions, to test the effect of perinatal smoke exposure (PSE) on cortical surface area (SA), thickness, and subcortical volumes. We hypothesized that PSE would be associated with cortical disruption in primary sensory areas compared to unexposed (PSE-) adults. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, SA was significantly lower in the pericalcarine (PCAL), inferior parietal (IPL), and regions of the temporal and frontal cortex of PSE+ adults; these abnormalities were associated with increased risk for several diseases, including circulatory and endocrine conditions. Sensitivity analyses conducted in a hold-out group of healthy participants (exposed, n = 109, unexposed, n = 315) replicated the effect of PSE on SA in the PCAL and IPL. Collectively our results show a negative, long term effect of PSE on sensory cortices that may increase risk for disease later in life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918926PMC
December 2019

Diffusion MRI Indices and Their Relation to Cognitive Impairment in Brain Aging: The Updated Multi-protocol Approach in ADNI3.

Front Neuroinform 2019 19;13. Epub 2019 Feb 19.

Imaging Genetics Center, Mark & Mary Stevens Neuroimaging & Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, CA, United States.

Brain imaging with diffusion-weighted MRI (dMRI) is sensitive to microstructural white matter (WM) changes associated with brain aging and neurodegeneration. In its third phase, the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI3) is collecting data across multiple sites and scanners using different dMRI acquisition protocols, to better understand disease effects. It is vital to understand when data can be pooled across scanners, and how the choice of dMRI protocol affects the sensitivity of extracted measures to differences in clinical impairment. Here, we analyzed ADNI3 data from 317 participants (mean age: 75.4 ± 7.9 years; 143 men/174 women), who were each scanned at one of 47 sites with one of six dMRI protocols using scanners from three different manufacturers. We computed four standard diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indices including fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean, radial, and axial diffusivity, and one FA index based on the tensor distribution function (FA), in 24 bilaterally averaged WM regions of interest. We found that protocol differences significantly affected dMRI indices, in particular FA. We ranked the diffusion indices for their strength of association with four clinical assessments. In addition to diagnosis, we evaluated cognitive impairment as indexed by three commonly used screening tools for detecting dementia and AD: the AD Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale sum-of-boxes (CDR-sob). Using a nested random-effects regression model to account for protocol and site, we found that across all dMRI indices and clinical measures, the hippocampal-cingulum and fornix regions most consistently showed strong associations with clinical impairment. Overall, the greatest effect sizes were detected in the hippocampal-cingulum (CGH) and uncinate fasciculus (UNC) for associations between axial or mean diffusivity and CDR-sob. FA detected robust widespread associations with clinical measures, while FA was the weakest of the five indices for detecting associations. Ultimately, we were able to successfully pool dMRI data from multiple acquisition protocols from ADNI3 and detect consistent and robust associations with clinical impairment and age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fninf.2019.00002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390411PMC
February 2019
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