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Application of MRI Connectivity in Stereotactic Functional Neurosurgery

Akram, Harith; (2018) Application of MRI Connectivity in Stereotactic Functional Neurosurgery. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access


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This thesis examines potential applications of advanced MRI-connectivity studies in stereotactic functional neurosurgery. Several new analysis methodologies are employed to: (1) build predictive models of DBS surgery outcome; (2) refine the surgical target and (3) help build a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the treated conditions and the mechanism of action of DBS therapy. The experimental component is divided into three main parts focusing on the following pathologies: (1) Parkinson’s disease (PD), (2) tremor and (3) trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TAC). Section I: In the first experiment (chapter 3), resting state fMRI was used to find radiological biomarkers predictive of response to L-DOPA in 19 patients undergoing subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS for PD. A greater improvement in UPDRS-III scores following L-DOPA administration was characterized by higher resting state functional connectivity (fcMRI) between the prefrontal cortex and the striatum (p=0.001) and lower fcMRI between the pallidum (p=0.001), subthalamic nucleus (p=0.003) and the paracentral lobule. In the second experiment (chapter 4), structural (diffusion) connectivity was used to map out the influence of the hyperdirect pathways on outcome and identify the therapeutic ‘sweet spots’ in twenty PD patients undergoing STN-DBS. Clusters corresponding to maximum improvement in symptoms were in the posterior, superior and lateral portion of the STN. Greater connectivity to the primary motor area, supplementary motor area and prefrontal cortex was predictive of higher improvement in tremor, bradykinesia and rigidity, and rigidity respectively. The third experiment (chapter 5) examined pyramidal tract (PT) activation in 20 PD patients with STN-DBS. Volume of tissue activation (VTA) around DBS contacts were modelled in relation to the PT. VTA/ PT overlap predicted EMG activation thresholds. Sections II: Pilot data suggest that probabilistic tractography techniques can be used to segment the ventrolateral (VL) and ventroposterior (VP) thalamus based on cortical and cerebellar connectivity in nine patients who underwent thalamic DBS for tremor (chapter 6). The thalamic area, best representing the ventrointermedialis nucleus (VIM), was connected to the contralateral dentate cerebellar nucleus. Streamlines corresponding to the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract (DRT) connected M1 to the contralateral dentate nucleus via the dentato-thalamic area. Good response was seen when the active contact’s VTA was in the thalamic area with the highest connectivity to the contralateral dentate nucleus. Section III: The efficacy and safety of DBS in the ventral tegmental area (VTa) in the treatment of chronic cluster headache (CH) and short lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks (SUNA) were examined (chapters 7 and 8). The optimum stimulation site within the VTa that best controls symptoms was explored (chapter 9). The average responders’ deep brain stimulation activation volume lay on the trigemino-hypothalamic tract, connecting the trigeminal system and other nociceptive brainstem nuclei, with the hypothalamus, and the prefrontal and mesial temporal areas.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Application of MRI Connectivity in Stereotactic Functional Neurosurgery
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
Keywords: Connectivity, MRI, Diffusion, Tractography, DBS, Parkinson's disease, Essential tremor, Cluster headache, Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia, SUNCT, SUNA.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052005
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