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Jing Ming, Keith R. Thulborn, Janet P. Szlyk; Reproducibility of Activation Maps for Longitudinal Studies of Visual Function by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(10):6153-6163. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8375.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To test the intra- and intersubject reproducibility of brain activation patterns that underlie visually guided saccades and word recognition in normally sighted subjects and patients with macular degeneration using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Ten normally sighted subjects and five patients with macular degeneration were asked to perform two visually guided saccade tasks and two word-recognition tasks during fMRI with behavioral monitoring. The fMRI measurements were repeated three times at intervals of at least 4 weeks between sessions. The intrasubject reproducibility of the brain activation patterns was examined in a model-independent manner by comparing the distributions of activation across the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital brain lobes using Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICCs). Intersubject reproducibility was examined by repeated-measure ANOVA.
Control subjects showed overall higher intrasubject reproducibility of brain activation patterns (75% ICCs > 0.5) than that of patients with macular degeneration (56% ICCs > 0.5). The intrasubject reproducibility for the patients improved when the target location was fixed, as in the word-recognition tasks (75% ICCs > 0.5), compared with the visually saccade tasks (37% ICCs > 0.5). Intersubject variability of brain activation patterns was strikingly high for both the control and patient groups.
The fMRI method can serve as a reliable within-subjects measure of brain activation that has potential for measuring longitudinal changes in brain networks associated with rehabilitation training. Striking intersubject variability reflected at the level of lobes of the brain among control subjects with similar behavioral performance, suggests individual analysis is necessary when implementing longitudinal brain activation studies.
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