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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Psychiatry

PI: Kelvin O. Lim

White Matter Abnormalities in Brain Disorders

The objective of this study is to examine structural neuroimaging metrics and neurocognitive assessments within several populations with brain disorders including schizophrenia, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, pediatric traumatic brain injury, myotonic dystrophy, binge-eating disorder, cocaine users, and drug users who are currently abstinent and enrolled in a drug-treatment program. All of these studies also recruit matched control subjects. The researchers are currently examining these subjects’ white matter microstructure and fiber connectivity in a variety of ways. The researchers are also studying brain morphometrics using the automated brain segmentation software FreeSurfer, which can be used to generate volumes of neuroanatomical regions, segment white matter and gray matter from surrounding tissues, and compute the thickness of the cerebral cortex across the brain. For one major analysis the researchers combine the FreeSurfer anatomical information with their white-matter metrics to obtain valuable information about the brain’s long-range connectivity patterns. The FreeSurfer anatomical regions are used as seeds and targets. The white matter is prepared using and FMRIB Software Library’s (FSL) Bedpost (Bayesian Estimation of Diffusion Parameters Obtained using Sampling Techniques) program. After this, FSL’s Probtrack program is run using the Freesurfer seeds/targets. All of these programs are very computationally intensive and take many hours per subject.

Group Members

Christopher J. Bell, Staff
Jazmin Camchong, Research Associate
Daniel Franc, Graduate Student
Mark Elias Kersten, Staff
Christophe Lenglet, Research Associate
Bryon A. Mueller, Research Associate
Ryan L. Muetzel, Staff
Brent G. Nelson, Graduate Student
Paul Robinson, Staff