The overall goal of our research program is the development of a comprehensive experimental and analytical framework for spatiotemporal imaging and modeling of the neural basis of perception, cognition and action. According to our general model, complex behavior results from the coordinated activity of spatially distributed neural systems rather than specific anatomical sites, giving rise to brain-behavior relationships that are distributed in space and time. To date, we have developed a range of spatiotemporal imaging methods that have enabled innovative, non-invasive studies of the human visual system at higher spatial and temporal resolution than previously achieved. We now propose to carry forward the development of our spatiotemporal imaging approach by exploring methods for acquiring functional brain imaging data at ever higher sampling rates, probing the brain mechanisms for long-range spatial synchronization and achieving a better understanding of information flow during perceptual and visuomotor processing by establishing a robust framework for causal modeling. To these ends we have developed novel methods combining functional MRI (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography / electroencephalography (MEG/EEG) data to obtain noninvasive spatiotemporal maps of cerebral activity with both high temporal (millisecond) and spatial (millimeter) resolution. We propose to continue and extend this technical development. Specifically, we will further improve fMRI and MEG/EEG data acquisition and analysis methods and develop new methods to explore mechanisms of oscillatory brain activity by combining fMRI, MEG and EEG data sources, thereby increasing the accuracy and sensitivity of the spatiotemporal brain imaging approach. Further, we will continue development of causal modeling approaches, allowing for the study of how large-scale distributed neuronal interactions give rise to perception and cognition. Finally, we will apply these technical advances to studies of human higher visual and visuomotor processing, including studies of the neural mechanisms of feature-based attention and interhemispheric information transfer. Given the increasing availability of both MRI and EEG/MEG, our approach of combining information from multiple imaging modalities should have significant impact on advancing the understanding of the neural bases of complex behavior. The neuroimaging techniques developed during the course of our research may help the investigation of a variety of clinical abnormalities, such as those associated with stroke, brain tumors, Alzheimer's disease, and developmental disorders.

Public Health Relevance

We will develop spatiotemporal brain imaging methods that will enable non-invasive studies of the human visual system at a higher resolution than previously achieved. These techniques may also help studies on various clinical abnormalities and developmental disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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Babcock, Debra J
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Massachusetts General Hospital
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Gow Jr, David W; Ahlfors, Seppo P (2017) Tracking reorganization of large-scale effective connectivity in aphasia following right hemisphere stroke. Brain Lang 170:12-17
Ahveninen, Jyrki; Chang, Wei-Tang; Huang, Samantha et al. (2016) Intracortical depth analyses of frequency-sensitive regions of human auditory cortex using 7TfMRI. Neuroimage 143:116-127
Sun, Limin; Ahlfors, Seppo P; Hinrichs, Hermann (2016) Removing Cardiac Artefacts in Magnetoencephalography with Resampled Moving Average Subtraction. Brain Topogr 29:783-790
Meeren, Hanneke K M; Hadjikhani, Nouchine; Ahlfors, Seppo P et al. (2016) Early Preferential Responses to Fear Stimuli in Human Right Dorsal Visual Stream--A Meg Study. Sci Rep 6:24831
Jääskeläinen, Iiro P; Halme, Hanna-Leena; Agam, Yigal et al. (2016) Neural mechanisms supporting evaluation of others' errors in real-life like conditions. Sci Rep 6:18714
Ahveninen, Jyrki; Huang, Samantha; Ahlfors, Seppo P et al. (2016) Interacting parallel pathways associate sounds with visual identity in auditory cortices. Neuroimage 124:858-868
Ahlfors, Seppo P; Jones, Stephanie R; Ahveninen, Jyrki et al. (2015) Direction of magnetoencephalography sources associated with feedback and feedforward contributions in a visual object recognition task. Neurosci Lett 585:149-54
Chang, Wei-Tang; Jääskeläinen, Iiro P; Belliveau, John W et al. (2015) Combined MEG and EEG show reliable patterns of electromagnetic brain activity during natural viewing. Neuroimage 114:49-56
Ahlfors, Seppo P; Wreh 2nd, Christopher (2015) Modeling the effect of dendritic input location on MEG and EEG source dipoles. Med Biol Eng Comput 53:879-87
Rossi, Stephanie; Huang, Samantha; Furtak, Sharon C et al. (2014) Functional connectivity of dorsal and ventral frontoparietal seed regions during auditory orienting. Brain Res 1583:159-68

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