Brain Imaging: Localisation of Brain Functions

Abstract

Neuroimaging provides a method to locate areas of the brain active when organisms perceive or respond to sensory events or carry out a wide variety of tasks. The methods have made it possible to examine where in the brain cognitive and emotional systems are located, thus providing new approaches to understanding normal and pathological human information processing. Positron emission tomography accomplishes this by detecting concentrations of radioactive oxygen, glucose, or neurotransmitter molecules in the brain. High‐density multichannel electrical activity recorded from the scalp electroencephalogram supplements important information about the time course of these neurophysiological events. Functional magnetic resonance imaging allows to measure the blood oxygenation level in the brain during carrying out a wide variety of tasks. Recent methodological advances are moving beyond the localisation of task‐related activations to functional connectivity of remote brain areas and detection of patterns of remote brain areas in a variety of states and tasks.

Key Concepts:

  • Neuroimaging provides methods to locate areas of the human brain that are active during certain tasks or behaviours.

  • PET and functional MRI allow to map functional anatomy of the human brain noninvasively in healthy volunteers.

  • Mapping electrical activity of the human brain can supply important additional information about the time course of these local brain activations in various tasks or behaviours.

  • Later approaches to functional mapping of the human brain function by fMRI have focussed on the connectivity of remote brain areas.

  • Newest approaches to the functional mapping of the human brain focus on multiple pattern recognition algorithms to try to characterise each task or behavioural act by a pattern or set of multiple remote brain areas active at the moment.

Keywords: neuroimaging; human brain; cognitive functions; functional magnetic resonance imaging; positron emission tomography

Figure 1.

Brain networks involved in understanding the meaning of words. Left side: Upper row shows PET images in three slices obtained from subtraction of brain activity during reading words from the brain activity during generating a use for the same words. From left to right, the three slices show activations in the anterior cingulate, left prefrontal and left temporoparietal areas. Second row shows maps of electrical activity recorded from multichannel event‐related brain potentials in the same use generation‐minus‐reading subtraction, providing a fine time course of these activations. From left to right, the three different times of the surface map show the involvement of anterior frontal midline at approximately 200 ms, left prefrontal location at approximately 250 ms and left temporoparietal region at approximately 650 ms after the stimulus onset. The third row shows the results of dipole localisation of the sources of scalp‐recorded electrical fields within the three‐dimensional brain space for the same generation‐minus‐reading condition. From left to right, the dipole sources are in the anterior cingulate at approximately 200 ms, in the left prefrontal cortex at approximately 250 ms, and in the left temporoparietal cortex at approximately 650 ms (Abdullaev and Posner, ). The lower row shows the fMRI images in three slices obtained from statistical comparison of brain activity during the use generation task to the brain activity during reading the same words. From left to right, the three slices show activations in the same regions of the anterior cingulate, left prefrontal cortex and the left temporoparietal cortex (Abdullaev et al., ). Functional MRI has a greater spatial resolution and shows some smaller additional activations, including in some subcortical areas. All images were obtained from averaging across many healthy volunteer human subjects. Right side: Upper graphs represent peristimulus time histograms of firing rate of neurons in the head of the caudate nucleus recorded from depth electrodes in a patient with Parkinson's disease in a similar semantic task. Horizontal axis represents time; each dot under the graphs represents 100 ms. Vertical axis shows changes of the neuronal firing rate from average prestimulus level, statistically significant changes of firing rate are coloured in black. First vertical line shows the onset of stimulus (single words presented visually), the second vertical line shows the onset of a cue allowing the subject to respond. The lower map is drawn from a stereotaxic atlas, letters a, b, c and d show the localisation of recording electrodes in the head of the caudate nucleus in three patients (Abdullaev et al., ).

close

References

Abdullaev Y, Bechtereva NP and Melnichuk KV (1998) Activity of human caudate nucleus and prefrontal cortex in cognitive tasks. Behavioural Brain Research 97: 159–177.

Abdullaev Y and Posner MI (1997) Time course of activating brain areas in generating verbal associations. Psychological Science 8: 56–59.

Abdullaev Y and Posner MI (1998) Event-related brain potential imaging of semantic encoding during processing single words. NeuroImage 7: 1–13.

Abdullaev Y, Posner MI, Nunnally R and Dishion TJ (2010) Functional MRI evidence for inefficient attentional control in adolescent chronic cannabis abuse. Behavioural Brain Research 215: 45–57.

Badgaiyan RD (2013) Detection of dopamine neurotransmission in “real time”. Frontiers in Neuroscience 7: 385–403.

Bechtereva NP and Abdullaev Y (2000) Depth electrodes in clinical neurophysiology: neuronal activity and human cognitive function. International Journal of Psychophysiology 37: 11–29.

Corbetta M, Kincade MJ, Lewis C, Snyder AZ and Sapir A (2005) Neural basis and recovery of spatial attention deficits in spatial neglect. Nature Neuroscience 8: 1603–1610.

Corbetta M, Miezin FM, Dobmeyer S, Shulman GS and Petersen SE (1990) Attentional modulation of neural processing of shape, color, and velocity in humans. Science 248: 1556–1559.

Decety J, Norman GJ, Bernston GG and Cacioppo JT (2012) A neurobehavioral evolutionary perspective on the mechanisms underlying empathy. Progress in Neurobiology 98: 38–48.

Diamond A and Lee K (2011) Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science 333: 959–964.

Editorial (2006) What's on your mind? Nature Neuroscience 9: 981.

Engel AK, Moll CKE, Fried I and Ojemann GA (2005) Invasive recording from the human brain: clinical insights and beyond. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 6: 35–47.

Fox PT, Laird AR, Fox SP et al. (2005) BrainMap taxonomy of experimental design: description and evaluation. Human Brain Mapping 25: 185–198.

Hanke M, Halchenko YO, Sedenberg PB et al. (2009) PyMVPA: a Python toolbox for multivariate pattern analysis of fMRI data. Neuroinformatics 7: 37–53

Heinze HJ, Mangun GR, Burchert W et al. (1994) Combined spatial and temporal imaging of brain activity during visual selective attention in humans. Nature 372: 543–546.

Huettel SA, Song AW and McCarthy G (2008) Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2nd edn. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Kay KN, Naselaris T, Prenger RJ and Gallant JL (2008) Identifying natural images from human brain activity. Nature 452: 352–355.

Kriegeskorte N, Goebel R and Bandettini P (2006) Information‐based functional brain mapping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103: 3863–3868.

Laird AR, Lancaster JL and Fox PT (2009) Lost in localization? The focus is meta‐analysis. NeuroImage 48: 18–20.

Mayberg HS (2003) Modulating dysfunctional limbic‐cortical circuits in depression: towards development of brain‐based algorithms for diagnosis and optimized treatment. British Medical Bulletin 65: 193–207.

Mukamel R and Fried I (2012) Human intracranial recordings and cognitive neuroscience. Annual Review of Psychology 63: 311–337.

Norman KA, Polyn SM, Detre GJ and Haxby JV (2006) Beyond mind reading: multi‐voxel pattern analysis of fMRI data. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10: 424–430.

Ojemann GA, Ojemann SG and Fried I (1998) Lessons from the human brain: neuronal activity related to cognition. Neuroscientist 4: 285–300.

Peran P, Demonet JF and Cardebat D (2008) Paroxetine‐induced modulation of cortical activity supporting language representations of action. Psychopharmacology 195: 487–496.

Petersen SE and Posner MI (2012) The attention system of the human brain: 20 years after. Annual Review of Neuroscience 35: 73–89.

Posner MI (1986) Chronometric Explorations of Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

Posner MI (2012) Attention in a Social World. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. pp 195.

Posner MI, Abdullaev Y, McCandliss BC and Sereno SC (1999) Neuroanatomy, circuitry and plasticity of word reading. NeuroReport 10: R12–R23.

Posner MI and Raichle ME (1997) Images of Mind, 2nd edn. New York: F.H. Freeman (Scientific American Library).

Posner MI, Sheese BE, Abdullaev Y and Tang Y (2006) Analyzing and shaping human attentional networks. Neural Networks 19: 1422–1429.

Raichle ME (2009) A paradigm shift in functional brain imaging. Journal of Neuroscience 29: 12729–12734.

Raichle ME, Fiez JA, Videen TO et al. (1994) Practice‐related changes in human brain functional anatomy during non‐motor learning. Cerebral Cortex 4: 8–26.

Rosen BR, Buckner RL and Dale AM (1998) Event‐related functional MRI: Past, present and future. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 95: 773–780.

Rueda MR, Rothbart MK, McCandliss BD, Saccomanno L and Posner MI (2005) Training, maturation, and genetic influences on the development of executive attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 102: 14931–14936.

Snyder AZ and Raichle ME (2012) A brief history of the resting state: The Washington University perspective. NeuroImage 62: 902–910.

Toga AW and Mazziotta JC (eds) (1996) Brain Mapping: The Methods. New York: Academic Press.

Wolk DA and Detre JA (2012) Arterial spin labeling MRI: An emerging biomarker for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Current Opinion in Neurology 25: 421–428.

Zeki S (1993) A Vision of the Brain. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Abdullaev, Yalchin(May 2014) Brain Imaging: Localisation of Brain Functions. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000095.pub3]