The aim of this project is to provide anatomical delineation of functionally differentiated areas of the human cortex, using non-invasive MR imaging techniques to visualise the myeloarchitecture of the cortical regions. This will allow association to be made between the physical characteristics of grey matter cortical areas, as represented in MR images, and the computational tasks attributed to them, eliminating the requirement for drastic smoothing of data from individual brains in order to achieve overlap of specific areas when averaged. This proposal will explore a wide range of sources of MR image contrast, some novel, at high spatial resolution using a 4.7T scanner, undertake a careful analysis of the biophysical characteristics of neuronal tissue, and perform detail statistical comparisons between the MRI characteristics of distinguishable cortical areas, in order to create in vivo percolations based on objectively definable differences in cortical tissue, in this respect comparable to Roadman areas. Specifically, the proposal will study the feasibility of identifying myeloarchitectonic characteristics of V5/MT (the visual motion area) and A1 (the primary auditory cortex), using a number of MR imaging sequences, first in cadaver brain and subsequently in vivo. Comparisons of the signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios achievable with these different sequences at the required high-resolution will be performed. The results will be validated by careful comparisons of MR images of cadaver brain with the results of traditional myelin staining. Functional MRI studies will be carried out in parallel, choosing adequate task paradigms to provide activation of the cortical areas of interest. Detailed comparisons of anatomically and functionally defined regions will be made, after registration of the anatomical and functional images.
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