Despite the maturing of the methodology of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) based on the endogenous blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast, advances are still being made in a number of aspects, furthering the application and utility of fMRI. This proposal is a competitive renewal of a currently funded project, in which we focused our research on methodological issues in event-related fMRI and characterization of the BOLD response, particularly at very high magnetic fields, along with applications to studying brain cognition. Our effort has resulted in a number of new techniques for data acquisition and analysis, a further understanding of the BOLD response and a contribution to the understanding of brain cognition. In this renewal, we propose to further enhance BOLD based functional imaging by developing new imaging techniques. Furthermore, because recent work has illustrated the feasibility and utility of detecting brain connectivity and the potential of combining connectivity measures with fMRI, we will investigate methods for detecting brain connectivity and combining these measures with BOLD imaging. With this in mind, the first 2 specific aims of this application will focus on the development of approaches for improved BOLD imaging and the development of new methods for measuring anatomic and functional connectivity. Along with these methodological developments, we will demonstrate the utility of these functional and connectivity measures by applying them to study the disruption of language related brain network in autism. The accomplishment of these aims will lead to methodological advances, better characterization of connectivity measures, and better understanding of neurobiological basis of autism and fetal alcohol syndrome. We believe the proposed work is both innovative and scientifically significant.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Research Project (R01)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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Mclaughlin, Alan Charles
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Emory University
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Medicine
United States
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