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Herman T.,Movement Disorders Unit | Herman T.,Tel Aviv University | Rosenberg-Katz K.,Movement Disorders Unit | Rosenberg-Katz K.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | And 7 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Objectives: The pathophysiology underlying freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease (PD) is poorly understood. We tested whether gray matter (GM) atrophy contributes to FOG in PD. Methods: Voxel-based morphometry quantified GM atrophy in 106 patients who were classified as freezers (n=30) or nonfreezers (n=76). Well-matched smaller subgroups were also studied. Balance, gait, and cognitive function were assessed, and we evaluated the relationship between GM, FOG severity, and symptoms associated with FOG. Results: GM was significantly reduced in the inferior parietal lobe and angular gyrus in the matched freezers (n=22), compared to nonfreezers (n=22; P<0.015, cluster-level corrected). In the entire cohort, FOG severity was related to bilateral caudate volumes. Conclusions: GM atrophy in cortical (i.e., parietal lobe and angular gyrus) and subcortical areas (i.e., caudate) are related to FOG. Disparities among the existing findings suggest that inferences regarding specific brain regions should be made with caution. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.

Perry D.,Haifa University | Walder K.,Haifa University | Hendler T.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Hendler T.,Tel Aviv University | Shamay-Tsoory S.G.,Haifa University
Brain Research | Year: 2013

Background Empathy relates to the ability to share the emotions and understand the intentions and emotions of the other. Although it has been suggested that women have superior empathic abilities as compared to men, it is unknown whether it is the gender or the sexual preference of the individual that affects empathy. Given that sexual attraction has been reported to affect social behavior, the present study explored the possibility that sexual orientation affects behavioral measures of empathy as well as empathy related activations. Methods Fifty two heterosexual and homosexual women and men were scanned while performing an emotional judgment task involving emotional understanding of a protagonist. Results The behavioral and neuroimaging results indicate that empathy is related to the gender as well as the sexual preference of the participant. Individuals sexually attracted to men (heterosexual women and homosexual men) showed greater empathy than subjects attracted to women (heterosexual men and homosexual women). Furthermore, brain imaging data reveal that regions within the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), showed sensitivity to the sexual orientation of the individual, such that it was activated more in subjects attracted to men than in subjects attracted to women while evaluating the emotional state of the other. Moreover, the activation in the TPJ was found to be correlated with the degree to which subjects were empathizing. Conclusions These results suggest that individual differences in empathy are related to the gender as well as the sexual orientation of the subject. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Admon R.,Harvard University | Milad M.R.,Harvard University | Hendler T.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Hendler T.,Tel Aviv University
Trends in Cognitive Sciences | Year: 2013

Discriminating neural abnormalities into the causes versus consequences of psychopathology would enhance the translation of neuroimaging findings into clinical practice. By regarding the traumatic encounter as a reference point for disease onset, neuroimaging studies of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can potentially allocate PTSD neural abnormalities to either predisposing (pre-exposure) or acquired (post-exposure) factors. Based on novel research strategies in PTSD neuroimaging, including genetic, environmental, twin, and prospective studies, we provide a causal model that accounts for neural abnormalities in PTSD, and outline its clinical implications. Current data suggest that abnormalities within the amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex represent predisposing risk factors for developing PTSD, whereas dysfunctional hippocampal-ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) interactions may become evident only after having developed the disorder. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Elkana O.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Elkana O.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Frost R.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Kramer U.,Sourasky Medical Center | And 2 more authors.
Cortex | Year: 2013

The goal of the present study was to investigate whether spontaneous functional recovery following insult to the language-dominant hemisphere continues in the so-called " chronic stage," and if so, to examine its neuro-functional correlates. We used a longitudinal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) block design, where each young patient served as his/her own control. Specifically, we examined whether language functions differed significantly in two monitoring sessions conducted years apart, both in the chronic stage, where almost no functional changes are expected. We focused on a unique cohort of young brain damaged patients with aphasiogenic lesions occurring after normal language acquisition, in order to maximize the potential of plasticity for language reorganization following brain damage. The most striking finding was that the linguistic recovery of our patients was significant not just relative to their linguistic scores on initial testing (T1), but also in absolute terms, relative to the respective age-matched normal population. Such improvement, therefore, cannot be simply attributed to the natural process of development. Overall, we found that right hemisphere (RH) activation was associated with better recovery in the chronic stage. Our longitudinal findings may challenge the view of recovery as ending within the first year following onset, suggesting that the RH may provide the substrate for ongoing plasticity in the damaged brain. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Dvash J.,Haifa University | Gilam G.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Ben-Ze'ev A.,Haifa University | Hendler T.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Shamay-Tsoory S.G.,Haifa University
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2010

Humans have a drive to evaluate themselves by examining their abilities and outcomes in comparison to others. The present study examined the emotional and neural correlates of upward social comparison (comparison with those who have more) and downward social comparison (comparison with those who have less). Two experiments were conducted with volunteers in an interactive game of chance, in which a putative player won or lost more money than the participant. The results showed that even when participants lost money, they expressed joy and schadenfreude (gloating) if the other player had lost more money. On the other hand when they actually won money, but the other player had won more they expressed envy. This pattern was also demonstrated in a differential BOLD response in the ventral striatum. Comparing the activations between an actual gain and a relative gain indicated that even when a person loses money, merely adding information about another person's greater loss may increase ventral striatum activations to a point where these activations are similar to those of an actual gain. We suggest that the ventral striatum plays a role in mediating the emotional consequences of social comparison. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ziv M.,Haifa University | Tomer R.,Haifa University | Defrin R.,Tel Aviv University | Hendler T.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Hendler T.,Tel Aviv University
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2010

Anxiety arising during pain expectancy can modulate the subjective experience of pain. However, individuals differ in their sensitivity to pain expectancy. The amygdale and hippocampus were proposed to mediate the behavioral response to aversive stimuli. However, their differential role in mediating anxiety-related individual differences is not clear. Using fMRI, we investigated brain activity during expectancy to cued or uncued thermal pain applied to the wrist. Following each stimulation participants rated the intensity of the painful experience. Activations in the amygdala and hippocampus were examined with respect to individual differences in harm avoidance (HA) personality trait, and individual sensitivity to expectancy, (i.e. response to cued vs. uncued painful stimuli). Only half of the subjects reported on cued pain as being more painful than uncued pain. In addition, we found a different activation profile for the amygdala and hippocampus during pain expectancy and experience. The amygdala was more active during expectancy and this activity was correlated with HA scores. The hippocampal activity was equally increased during both pain expectancy and experience, and correlated with the individual's sensitivity to expectancy. Our findings suggest that the amygdala supports an innate tendency to approach or avoid pain as reflected in HA trait, whereas the hippocampus mediates the effect of context possibly via appraisal of the stimulus value. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Admon R.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Admon R.,Tel Aviv University | Leykin D.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Leykin D.,Tel-Hai Academic College | And 6 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2013

Previous studies have shown that people who develop psychopathology such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following stress exposure are characterized by reduced hippocampal (HC) volume and impaired HC functional connectivity with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Nevertheless, the exact interrelationship between reduced HC volume and HC-vmPFC connectivity deficits in the context of stress has yet to be established. Furthermore, it is still not clear whether such neural abnormalities are stress induced or precursors for vulnerability. In this study, we combined measurements of MRI, functional MRI (fMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to prospectively study 33 a priori healthy Israeli soldiers both pre- and post-exposure to stress during their military service. Thus, we were able to assess the contributions of structural and functional features of the HC and its connectivity to the onset and progression of maladaptive response to stress (i.e., increased PTSD symptoms post-exposure). We found that soldiers with decreased HC volume following military service (i.e., post-exposure) displayed more PTSD-related symptoms post-exposure as well as reduced HC-vmPFC functional and structural connectivity post-exposure, compared to soldiers with increased HC volume following military service. In contrast, initial smaller HC volume pre-exposure did not have an effect on any of these factors. Our results therefore suggest that reduction in HC volume and connectivity with the vmPFC together mark a maladaptive response to stressful military service. As stress-induced HC volume reductions were previously shown to be reversible, these localized biological markers may carry valuable therapeutic potential. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Sadeh B.,Tel Aviv University | Pitcher D.,Laboratory of Brain and Cognition | Brandman T.,Tel Aviv University | Eisen A.,Tel Aviv University | And 2 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2011

Neural selectivity to specific object categories has been demonstrated in extrastriate cortex with both functional MRI [1-3] and event-related potential (ERP) [4, 5]. Here we tested for a causal relationship between the activation of category-selective areas and ERP to their preferred categories. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded while participants observed faces and headless bodies. Concurrently with EEG recording, we delivered two pulses of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the right occipital face area (OFA) or extrastriate body area (EBA) at 60 and 100 ms after stimulus onset. Results showed a clear dissociation between the stimulated site and the stimulus category on ERP modulation: stimulation of the OFA significantly increased the N1 amplitude to faces but not to bodies, whereas stimulation of the EBA significantly increased the N1 amplitude to bodies but not to faces. These findings provide the first evidence for a specific and causal link between activity in category-selective networks and scalp-recorded ERP to their preferred categories. This result also demonstrates that the face and body N1 reflects several nonoverlapping neural sources, rather than changes in face-selective mechanisms alone. Lastly, because early stimulation (60-100 ms) affected selectivity of a later ERP component (150-200 ms), the results could imply a feed-forward connection between occipital and temporal category-selective areas. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Kinreich S.,Tel Aviv University | Kinreich S.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Podlipsky I.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Jamshy S.,Tel Aviv University | And 3 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2014

The transition from being fully awake to pre-sleep occurs daily just before falling asleep; thus its disturbance might be detrimental. Yet, the neuronal correlates of the transition remain unclear, mainly due to the difficulty in capturing its inherent dynamics. We used an EEG theta/alpha neurofeedback to rapidly induce the transition into pre-sleep and simultaneous fMRI to reveal state-dependent neural activity. The relaxed mental state was verified by the corresponding enhancement in the parasympathetic response. Neurofeedback sessions were categorized as successful or unsuccessful, based on the known EEG signature of theta power increases over alpha, temporally marked as a distinct "crossover" point. The fMRI activation was considered before and after this point. During successful transition into pre-sleep the period before the crossover was signified by alpha modulation that corresponded to decreased fMRI activity mainly in sensory gating related regions (e.g. medial thalamus). In parallel, although not sufficient for the transition, theta modulation corresponded with increased activity in limbic and autonomic control regions (e.g. hippocampus, cerebellum vermis, respectively). The post-crossover period was designated by alpha modulation further corresponding to reduced fMRI activity within the anterior salience network (e.g. anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula), and in contrast theta modulation corresponded to the increased variance in the posterior salience network (e.g. posterior insula, posterior cingulate cortex). Our findings portray multi-level neural dynamics underlying the mental transition from awake to pre-sleep. To initiate the transition, decreased activity was required in external monitoring regions, and to sustain the transition, opposition between the anterior and posterior parts of the salience network was needed, reflecting shifting from extra- to intrapersonal based processing, respectively. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Liberman G.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Liberman G.,Bar - Ilan University | Louzoun Y.,Bar - Ilan University | Ben Bashat D.,Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging | Ben Bashat D.,Tel Aviv University
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Year: 2014

Purpose To improve the calculation of T1 relaxation time from a set of variable flip-angle (FA) spoiled gradient recalled echo images. Materials and Methods The proposed method: (a) uses a uniform weighting of all FAs, (b) takes into account global inaccuracies in the generation of the prescribed FAs by estimating the actual FAs, and (c) incorporates data-driven local B 1 inhomogeneity corrections. The method was validated and its accuracy tested using simulated data, phantom, and in vivo experiments. Results were compared with existing analysis methods and to inversion recovery (IR). Consistency was assessed by means of repeated scans of two subjects. Reference values were obtained from eight healthy subjects from various brain regions and compared with literature values. Results The method accurately and consistently estimated T1 values in all cases. The method was more robust, in comparison with the standard method, to the choice of FA set; to inaccuracies in generation of the prescribed FAs (in simulated data, T1 estimation error was 12.1 ms versus 235.5 ms); demonstrated greater consistency (in vivo study showed interscan T1 difference of 80 ms versus 356 ms); and achieved a better agreement with IR on phantom (median absolute difference of 123.8 ms versus 790 ms). Reference T1 values were 883/801 ms for female/male in white matter and 1501/1349 ms in gray matter, within the range previously reported. Conclusion The proposed method overcomes some inaccuracies in FA production, providing more accurate estimation of T1 values compared with standard methods, and is applicable for currently available data. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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