Stork: Next-generation optical brain functional imaging platform

QIANQIAN FANG (2018-09-21 to 2020-07-31) Next-generation optical brain functional imaging platform. Amount: $869972



A more thorough understanding of human brain function has profound implications for advancing neuroscience research and combatting neurological disease. Despite tremendous progress towards this goal through contemporary neuroimaging techniques, a number of challenges remain unaddressed, such as a lack of safe and non-invasive imaging modalities for continuous brain function assessments, limited spatiotemporal resolution in in vivo imaging of human brain dynamics, and suboptimal accuracy due to improper consideration of complex 3D brain anatomy. Moreover, human brain functions exhibit complex and hierarchical patterns ranging from basic motor/sensory responses to advanced cognitive processes. Restricted by the poor portability of fMRI, MEG, and PET, as well as the low spatial resolution in EEG, conventional neuroimaging paradigms predominantly involve in-lab experiments with limited types of stimuli and interactions. This limited exploration of brain functions hinders our progress in understanding the brain. As strongly echoed in the BRAIN 2025 Scientific Vision, innovations in flexible, wearable and quantitative neuroimaging techniques that impose minimal restrictions to the subject will enable studies of advanced brain dynamics that are only apparent when measured in a natural environment. In the past decade, an emerging neuroimaging technique ? functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) ? has shown great promise for safe and long-term monitoring of brain activity using low-power light. However, most existing fNIRS systems require the use of a headgear attached to a cart-sized optical unit via numerous and fragile optical fibers and output only topographic (instead of tomographic) images of limited spatial resolution. These limitations greatly hinder fNIRS?s widespread use. In this proposal, we aim to advance optical brain imaging to the next generation by developing a wireless, ultra-portable, modular, and fiberless advanced optical brain imaging platform (AOBI). By using innovative flexible-circuit based modular optical circuits, the proposed imaging system is light-weight, wearable, and safe for long-term monitoring. Our specific aims are 1) develop full-head-conforming 3D- aware optical brain imaging headgear using flex-circuit and reconfigurable optical modules, 2) develop high- resolution optical brain image processing pipelines using prior-guided reconstruction algorithms, and 3) run a small-scale clinical validation (N=15) to show proof-of-concept of monitoring post-stroke rehabilitation using the proposed system. If successfully developed, the proposed AOBI imaging platform will deliver several orders of magnitude reduction in cost and weight, 5 to 10-fold higher in imaging contrast, and 2-3 times better in resolution compared to conventional fNIRS techniques. This new platform may play an important role in monitoring post-stroke rehabilitation, assessing visual impairment, intracranial hypertension, insomnia, depression, head injuries, and behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress.

项目摘要/摘要更深入地了解人类大脑功能对推动神经科学研究和对抗神经疾病具有深远意义。尽管通过当代神经影像学技术在实现这一目标方面取得了巨大进步,但仍存在许多挑战尚待解决,例如缺乏连续脑功能评估的安全和非侵入性成像模式,人脑动力学体内成像的时空分辨率有限,以及次优由于不正确地考虑复杂的3D大脑解剖结构而导致的准确性。此外,人类大脑功能表现出复杂和等级的模式,从基本的运动/感觉反应到高级认知过程。由于fMRI,MEG和PET的可移植性差,以及EEG中的低空间分辨率,传统的神经影像学范例主要涉及具有有限类型的刺激和相互作用的实验室内实验。这种对脑功能的有限探索阻碍了我们理解大脑的进展。正如在BRAIN 2025科学愿景中强烈呼应的那样,对受试者施加最小限制的灵活,可穿戴和定量神经成像技术的创新将使高级脑动力学的研究能够在自然环境中测量时才显现出来。在过去的十年中,一种新兴的神经影像技术?功能性近红外光谱(fNIRS)?已经显示出使用低功率灯安全和长期监测大脑活动的巨大希望。然而,大多数现有的fNIRS系统需要使用通过多个脆弱的光纤连接到推车大小的光学单元的头带,并且仅输出有限空间分辨率的地形(而不是断层摄影)图像。这些限制极大地阻碍了fNIRS的广泛使用。在此提案中,我们的目标是通过开发无线,超便携,模块化和无光纤的先进光学脑成像平台(AOBI),将光学脑成像推向下一代。通过使用创新的基于柔性电路的模块化光学电路,所提出的成像系统重量轻,可穿戴且对于长期监测是安全的。我们的具体目标是:1)使用柔性电路和可重新配置的光学模块开发符合全脑标准的3D感知光学脑成像头盔; 2)使用先前引导的重建算法开发高分辨率光学脑图像处理管道,以及3)运行小规模临床验证(N = 15),以显示使用所提出的系统监测中风后康复的概念验证。如果成功开发,与传统的fNIRS技术相比,拟议的AOBI成像平台将成本和重量降低几个数量级,成像对比度提高5到10倍,分辨率提高2-3倍。这个新平台可能在监测卒中后康复,评估视力损害,颅内高压,失眠,抑郁,头部损伤和精神分裂症,双相情感和创伤后压力等行为障碍方面发挥重要作用。

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