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Reassessing associations between white matter and behaviour with multimodal microstructural imaging

Lazari, A; Salvan, P; Cottaar, M; Papp, D; Jens van der Werf, O; Johnstone, A; Sanders, Z-B; ... Johansen-Berg, H; + view all (2021) Reassessing associations between white matter and behaviour with multimodal microstructural imaging. Cortex , 145 pp. 187-200. 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.08.017. Green open access

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Abstract

Several studies have established specific relationships between White Matter (WM) and behaviour. However, these studies have typically focussed on fractional anisotropy (FA), a neuroimaging metric that is sensitive to multiple tissue properties, making it difficult to identify what biological aspects of WM may drive such relationships. Here, we carry out a pre-registered assessment of WM-behaviour relationships in 50 healthy individuals across multiple behavioural and anatomical domains, and complementing FA with myelin-sensitive quantitative MR modalities (MT, R1, R2∗). Surprisingly, we only find support for predicted relationships between FA and behaviour in one of three pre-registered tests. For one behavioural domain, where we failed to detect an FA-behaviour correlation, we instead find evidence for a correlation between behaviour and R1. This hints that multimodal approaches are able to identify a wider range of WM-behaviour relationships than focusing on FA alone. To test whether a common biological substrate such as myelin underlies WM-behaviour relationships, we then ran joint multimodal analyses, combining across all MRI parameters considered. No significant multimodal signatures were found and power analyses suggested that sample sizes of 40-200 may be required to detect such joint multimodal effects, depending on the task being considered. These results demonstrate that FA-behaviour relationships from the literature can be replicated, but may not be easily generalisable across domains. Instead, multimodal microstructural imaging may be best placed to detect a wider range of WM-behaviour relationships, as different MRI modalities provide distinct biological sensitivities. Our findings highlight a broad heterogeneity in WM's relationship with behaviour, suggesting that variable biological effects may be shaping their interaction.

Type: Article
Title: Reassessing associations between white matter and behaviour with multimodal microstructural imaging
Location: Italy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.08.017
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.08.017
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Bimanual coordination, Cognitive control, Microstructural imaging, Multimodal imaging, Myelin, White matter
UCL classification: UCL
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138659
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