Deformable Registration to Create Cytoarchitectonic Probability Maps for Functional Analysis of Primary Auditory Cortex

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Bailey, Lara
Computer Science , Neuroscience , Medical Image Processing , Brain , Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Auditory Cortex , Region of Interest Analysis , Primate Homologies , Cytoarchitecture
A novel method is presented for analyzing fMRI data, which relies on probabilistic estimates of microanatomically defined regions in individual fMRI volunteers. Postmortem structural and cytoarchitectonic information from the Julich/Dusseldorf group in Germany is aligned to the high-resolution structural MR images of functional MRI volunteers. This is achieved using nonlinear registration, which is applied only to the region of interest. The registered postmortem datasets are then combined into probability maps for microanatomically defined regions that are tailored to the anatomy of individual fMRI volunteers. These are then used as weighted spatial filters on functional MR data. In this thesis, three regions of the primary auditory cortex (located on Heschl's gyrus) have been targeted, and the analysis method is used to explore how these three areas respond to different kinds of sound. Regions Te1.0 and Te1.2 both demonstrate pitch sensitivity, consistent with published observations of the functional response of homologous regions in nonhuman primates. Area Te1.1 displayed sensitivity to both noise and pitch, consistent with the theory that it is homologous with the microanatomically similar area CM in nonhuman primates. Furthermore, the custom probability maps are much less diffuse and anatomically more precise than previous versions generated using the same postmortem data, and therefore permit a more sensitive and anatomically precise analysis of functional activity. This method could be applied to any other microanatomically defined region that has been characterized in the Julich postmortem dataset.
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