Special Issue "Functional Neuroimaging of the Spinal Cord"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jane M Lawrence-Dewar

Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, Lakehead University
E-Mail
Interests: functional magnetic resonance imaging, neuroimaging, sensory processing, motor processing, sensorimotor integration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of functional neuroimaging has greatly advanced our knowledge of spinal cord physiology. Foundational work has relied on invasive electrophysiological methods and animal models to gain an understanding of the complicated networks that exist within the cord and their connections with the brain and the periphery. The study of the human spinal cord has, until recently, been more limited to clinical studies of lesions, as well as recordings from the periphery. These fields have provided important contributions to our understanding of these networks and their function in humans. However, more recent developments in neuroimaging now allow non-invasive visualization of spinal cord function in humans.

Imaging the function of the spinal cord presents several unique challenges. Several groups have aimed to overcome difficulties such as the smaller cross-sectional size of the neural tissue, spatial distortions due to the imaging environment, and the presence of physiological noise. Over the last two decades, steady progress has been made that has seen advances in the development and application of imaging techniques and investigations ranging from simple sensory and motor tasks to more complicated designs to study of descending influences including alterations in attention and emotion as well as changes associated with motor learning.

This Special Issue will highlight different approaches to imaging spinal cord function, the challenges and advances of these techniques, and the current and potential applications that advance our understanding of spinal cord processing in both basic research and clinical settings.

Dr. Jane M Lawrence-Dewar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Spinal Cord
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neurophysiology  
  • Neural function
  • MRI
  • Electrophysiology

Published Papers (3 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-3
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Lateralized Brainstem and Cervical Spinal Cord Responses to Aversive Sounds: A Spinal fMRI Study
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(9), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8090165
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 25 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
PDF Full-text (1510 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous research has delineated the networks of brain structures involved in the perception of emotional auditory stimuli. These include the amygdala, insula, and auditory cortices, as well as frontal-lobe, basal ganglia, and cerebellar structures involved in the planning and execution of motoric behaviors.
[...] Read more.
Previous research has delineated the networks of brain structures involved in the perception of emotional auditory stimuli. These include the amygdala, insula, and auditory cortices, as well as frontal-lobe, basal ganglia, and cerebellar structures involved in the planning and execution of motoric behaviors. The aim of the current research was to examine whether emotional sounds also influence activity in the brainstem and cervical spinal cord. Seventeen undergraduate participants completed a spinal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study consisting of two fMRI runs. One run consisted of three one-minute blocks of aversive sounds taken from the International Affective Digitized Sounds (IADS) stimulus set; these blocks were interleaved by 40-s rest periods. The other block consisted of emotionally neutral stimuli also drawn from the IADS. The results indicated a stark pattern of lateralization. Aversive sounds elicited greater activity than neutral sounds in the right midbrain and brainstem, and in right dorsal and ventral regions of the cervical spinal cord. Neutral stimuli, on the other hand, elicited less neural activity than aversive sounds overall; these responses were left lateralized and were found in the medial midbrain and the dorsal sensory regions of the cervical spinal cord. Together, these results demonstrate that aversive auditory stimuli elicit increased sensorimotor responses in brainstem and cervical spinal cord structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Neuroimaging of the Spinal Cord)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Neural Responses to Consciously and Unconsciously Perceived Emotional Faces: A Spinal fMRI Study
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(8), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8080156
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1936 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emotional stimuli modulate activity in brain areas related to attention, perception, and movement. Similar increases in neural activity have been detected in the spinal cord, suggesting that this understudied component of the central nervous system is an important part of our emotional responses.
[...] Read more.
Emotional stimuli modulate activity in brain areas related to attention, perception, and movement. Similar increases in neural activity have been detected in the spinal cord, suggesting that this understudied component of the central nervous system is an important part of our emotional responses. To date, previous studies of emotion-dependent spinal cord activity have utilized long presentations of complex emotional scenes. The current study differs from this research by (1) examining whether emotional faces will lead to enhanced spinal cord activity and (2) testing whether these stimuli require conscious perception to influence neural responses. Fifteen healthy undergraduate participants completed six spinal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) runs in which three one-minute blocks of fearful, angry, or neutral faces were interleaved with 40-s rest periods. In half of the runs, the faces were clearly visible while in the other half, the faces were displayed for only 17 ms. Spinal fMRI consisted of half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo (HASTE) sequences targeting the cervical spinal cord. The results indicated that consciously perceived faces expressing anger elicited significantly more activity than fearful or neutral faces in ventral (motoric) regions of the cervical spinal cord. When stimuli were presented below the threshold of conscious awareness, neutral faces elicited significantly more activity than angry or fearful faces. Together, these data suggest that the emotional modulation of spinal cord activity is most impactful when the stimuli are consciously perceived and imply a potential threat toward the observer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Neuroimaging of the Spinal Cord)
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Ten Key Insights into the Use of Spinal Cord fMRI
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(9), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8090173
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
PDF Full-text (1878 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A comprehensive review of the literature-to-date on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the spinal cord is presented. Spinal fMRI has been shown, over more than two decades of work, to be a reliable tool for detecting neural activity. We discuss 10 key
[...] Read more.
A comprehensive review of the literature-to-date on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the spinal cord is presented. Spinal fMRI has been shown, over more than two decades of work, to be a reliable tool for detecting neural activity. We discuss 10 key points regarding the history, development, methods, and applications of spinal fMRI. Animal models have served a key purpose for the development of spinal fMRI protocols and for experimental spinal cord injury studies. Applications of spinal fMRI span from animal models across healthy and patient populations in humans using both task-based and resting-state paradigms. The literature also demonstrates clear trends in study design and acquisition methods, as the majority of studies follow a task-based, block design paradigm, and utilize variations of single-shot fast spin-echo imaging methods. We, therefore, discuss the similarities and differences of these to resting-state fMRI and gradient-echo EPI protocols. Although it is newly emerging, complex connectivity and network analysis is not only possible, but has also been shown to be reliable and reproducible in the spinal cord for both task-based and resting-state studies. Despite the technical challenges associated with spinal fMRI, this review identifies reliable solutions that have been developed to overcome these challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Neuroimaging of the Spinal Cord)
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top