Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series: Simultaneous Brain and the Spinal Cord fMRI to Investigate the Sensorimotor System

Monday, December 4, 2023 13:00to14:00
Montreal Neurological Institute De Grandpre Communications Centre, 3801 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, CA

Registration here

Stream via Vimeo here

Caroline Landelle

Post-doctoral fellow, The Neuro, McGill University

Abstract: The spinal cord is an essential central nervous system component, transmitting and integrating sensorimotor information between the periphery and the brain. Despite its pivotal role in sensorimotor processes, mapping the functional organization of the spinal cord in vivo in humans, either alone or in combination with the brain, has been a long-standing challenge. In recent years, our group has pioneered spinal fMRI techniques that can be used by themselves or simultaneously with cerebral fMRI allowing the in vivo functional investigation at the two different levels of the central nervous system. The first part of my talk will focus on spinal fMRI that we recently combined with data-driven connectivity approaches to provide insight into the segmental organization of the cervical spinal resting-state networks. Our results demonstrate that one can capture effectively the spinal cord functional levels in healthy young adults. By employing similar spinal resting-state approaches, in a clinical population of Parkinson’s disease patients, we provided the first evidence of cervical spinal cord functional changes associated with the severity of upper-limb motor symptoms. The second part will concentrate on the simultaneous spinal cord and brain fMRI techniques. Our recent findings reveal the existence of functional topographical communication between the cervical spinal cord and brain. They constitute the first demonstration of a somatotopic connectivity pattern between the two structures in agreement with homunculi representations. These results also suggest that simultaneous brain-spinal cord fMRI acquisitions hold great potential to improve the characterization of sensorimotor integration in vivo at multiple levels of the human central nervous system.

The Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series will advance the vision of Dr. William Feindel (1918–2014), Former Director of the Neuro (1972–1984), to constantly bridge the clinical and research realms. The talks will highlight the latest advances and discoveries in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroimaging.

Speakers will include scientists from across The Neuro, as well as colleagues and collaborators locally and from around the world. The series is intended to provide a virtual forum for scientists and trainees to continue to foster interdisciplinary exchanges on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of brain and cognitive disorders.


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