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Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Nuclear magnetic resonance

517

 To report radiological findings observed in computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the first cases of congenital infection and microcephaly presumably associated with the Zika virus in the current Brazilian epidemic.

Concepts: Brain, Medical imaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Radiography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Radiology, Virtopsy, Case series

382

In today’s healthcare climate, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often perceived as a commodity - a service where there are no meaningful differences in quality and thus an area in which patients can be advised to select a provider based on price and convenience alone. If this prevailing view is correct, then a patient should expect to receive the same radiological diagnosis regardless of which imaging center he or she visits or which radiologist reviews the examination. Based on their extensive clinical experience, the authors believe that this assumption is not correct and that it can negatively impact patient care, outcomes and costs.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, X-ray, Medical imaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Illness, Radiology

318

Background In X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, mutations in ABCD1 lead to loss of function of the ALD protein. Cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy is characterized by demyelination and neurodegeneration. Disease progression, which leads to loss of neurologic function and death, can be halted only with allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Methods We enrolled boys with cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy in a single-group, open-label, phase 2-3 safety and efficacy study. Patients were required to have early-stage disease and gadolinium enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at screening. The investigational therapy involved infusion of autologous CD34+ cells transduced with the elivaldogene tavalentivec (Lenti-D) lentiviral vector. In this interim analysis, patients were assessed for the occurrence of graft-versus-host disease, death, and major functional disabilities, as well as changes in neurologic function and in the extent of lesions on MRI. The primary end point was being alive and having no major functional disability at 24 months after infusion. Results A total of 17 boys received Lenti-D gene therapy. At the time of the interim analysis, the median follow-up was 29.4 months (range, 21.6 to 42.0). All the patients had gene-marked cells after engraftment, with no evidence of preferential integration near known oncogenes or clonal outgrowth. Measurable ALD protein was observed in all the patients. No treatment-related death or graft-versus-host disease had been reported; 15 of the 17 patients (88%) were alive and free of major functional disability, with minimal clinical symptoms. One patient, who had had rapid neurologic deterioration, had died from disease progression. Another patient, who had had evidence of disease progression on MRI, had withdrawn from the study to undergo allogeneic stem-cell transplantation and later died from transplantation-related complications. Conclusions Early results of this study suggest that Lenti-D gene therapy may be a safe and effective alternative to allogeneic stem-cell transplantation in boys with early-stage cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy. Additional follow-up is needed to fully assess the duration of response and long-term safety. (Funded by Bluebird Bio and others; STARBEAM ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01896102 ; ClinicalTrialsRegister.eu number, 2011-001953-10 .).

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Death, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Gene therapy, Adrenoleukodystrophy

299

Generous behaviour is known to increase happiness, which could thereby motivate generosity. In this study, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging and a public pledge for future generosity to investigate the brain mechanisms that link generous behaviour with increases in happiness. Participants promised to spend money over the next 4 weeks either on others (experimental group) or on themselves (control group). Here, we report that, compared to controls, participants in the experimental group make more generous choices in an independent decision-making task and show stronger increases in self-reported happiness. Generous decisions engage the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) in the experimental more than in the control group and differentially modulate the connectivity between TPJ and ventral striatum. Importantly, striatal activity during generous decisions is directly related to changes in happiness. These results demonstrate that top-down control of striatal activity plays a fundamental role in linking commitment-induced generosity with happiness.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Human brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Striatum, Helium

217

In November 2015, a neurologist in the Boston, Massachusetts, area reported four cases of an uncommon amnestic syndrome involving acute and complete ischemia of both hippocampi, as identified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) (1). A subsequent e-mail alert, generated by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and sent to relevant medical specialists (including neurologists, neuroradiologists, and emergency physicians), resulted in the identification of 10 additional cases that had occurred during 2012-2016. All 14 patients (mean and median age = 35 years) had been evaluated at hospitals in eastern Massachusetts. Thirteen of the 14 patients underwent routine clinical toxicology screening at the time of initial evaluation; eight tested positive for opioids, two for cocaine, and two for benzodiazepines. Apart from sporadic cases (2-6), this combination of clinical and imaging findings has been reported rarely. The apparent temporospatial clustering, relatively young age at onset (19-52 years), and associated substance use among these patients should stimulate further case identification to determine whether these observations represent an emerging syndrome related to substance use or other causes (e.g., a toxic exposure).

Concepts: Medicine, Brain, Hospital, Medical imaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Physician, Magnetic resonance imaging, Boston

216

Minimizing the resources required to build logic gates into useful processing circuits is key to realizing quantum computers. Although the salient features of a quantum computer have been shown in proof-of-principle experiments, difficulties in scaling quantum systems have made more complex operations intractable. This is exemplified in the classical Fredkin (controlled-SWAP) gate for which, despite theoretical proposals, no quantum analog has been realized. By adding control to the SWAP unitary, we use photonic qubit logic to demonstrate the first quantum Fredkin gate, which promises many applications in quantum information and measurement. We implement example algorithms and generate the highest-fidelity three-photon Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger states to date. The technique we use allows one to add a control operation to a black-box unitary, something that is impossible in the standard circuit model. Our experiment represents the first use of this technique to control a two-qubit operation and paves the way for larger controlled circuits to be realized efficiently.

Concepts: Mathematics, Quantum information science, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Quantum computer, Quantum dot, Qubit, Computer, Computation

212

Intrusive memories, images, and hallucinations are hallmark symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Although often attributed to deficient inhibitory control by the prefrontal cortex, difficulty in controlling intrusive thoughts is also associated with hippocampal hyperactivity, arising from dysfunctional GABAergic interneurons. How hippocampal GABA contributes to stopping unwanted thoughts is unknown. Here we show that GABAergic inhibition of hippocampal retrieval activity forms a key link in a fronto-hippocampal inhibitory control pathway underlying thought suppression. Subjects viewed reminders of unwanted thoughts and tried to suppress retrieval while being scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Suppression reduced hippocampal activity and memory for suppressed content. (1)H magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed that greater resting concentrations of hippocampal GABA predicted better mnemonic control. Higher hippocampal, but not prefrontal GABA, predicted stronger fronto-hippocampal coupling during suppression, suggesting that interneurons local to the hippocampus implement control over intrusive thoughts. Stopping actions did not engage this pathway. These findings specify a multi-level mechanistic model of how the content of awareness is voluntarily controlled.

Concepts: Brain, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Memory, Cerebrum, Hippocampus, Limbic system, In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy

206

Creativity is a vast construct, seemingly intractable to scientific inquiry-perhaps due to the vague concepts applied to the field of research. One attempt to limit the purview of creative cognition formulates the construct in terms of evolutionary constraints, namely that of blind variation and selective retention (BVSR). Behaviorally, one can limit the “blind variation” component to idea generation tests as manifested by measures of divergent thinking. The “selective retention” component can be represented by measures of convergent thinking, as represented by measures of remote associates. We summarize results from measures of creative cognition, correlated with structural neuroimaging measures including structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). We also review lesion studies, considered to be the “gold standard” of brain-behavioral studies. What emerges is a picture consistent with theories of disinhibitory brain features subserving creative cognition, as described previously (Martindale, 1981). We provide a perspective, involving aspects of the default mode network (DMN), which might provide a “first approximation” regarding how creative cognition might map on to the human brain.

Concepts: Brain, Medical imaging, Neuroimaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Thought, Diffusion MRI, In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy

200

Prospective studies of infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder have provided important clues about the early behavioural symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, however, is not currently made until at least 18 months of age. There is substantially less research on potential brain-based differences in the period between 6 and 12 months of age. Our objective in the current study was to use magnetic resonance imaging to identify any consistently observable brain anomalies in 6-9 month old infants who would later develop autism spectrum disorder. We conducted a prospective infant sibling study with longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging scans at three time points (6-9, 12-15, and 18-24 months of age), in conjunction with intensive behavioural assessments. Fifty-five infants (33 ‘high-risk’ infants having an older sibling with autism spectrum disorder and 22 ‘low-risk’ infants having no relatives with autism spectrum disorder) were imaged at 6-9 months; 43 of these (27 high-risk and 16 low-risk) were imaged at 12-15 months; and 42 (26 high-risk and 16 low-risk) were imaged again at 18-24 months. Infants were classified as meeting criteria for autism spectrum disorder, other developmental delays, or typical development at 24 months or later (mean age at outcome: 32.5 months). Compared with the other two groups, infants who developed autism spectrum disorder (n = 10) had significantly greater extra-axial fluid at 6-9 months, which persisted and remained elevated at 12-15 and 18-24 months. Extra-axial fluid is characterized by excessive cerebrospinal fluid in the subarachnoid space, particularly over the frontal lobes. The amount of extra-axial fluid detected as early as 6 months was predictive of more severe autism spectrum disorder symptoms at the time of outcome. Infants who developed autism spectrum disorder also had significantly larger total cerebral volumes at both 12-15 and 18-24 months of age. This is the first magnetic resonance imaging study to prospectively evaluate brain growth trajectories from infancy in children who develop autism spectrum disorder. The presence of excessive extra-axial fluid detected as early as 6 months and the lack of resolution by 24 months is a hitherto unreported brain anomaly in infants who later develop autism spectrum disorder. This is also the first magnetic resonance imaging evidence of brain enlargement in autism before age 2. These findings raise the potential for the use of structural magnetic resonance imaging to aid in the early detection of children at risk for autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Concepts: Brain, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Autism, Cerebrospinal fluid, Autism spectrum, Meninges, Subarachnoid space

179

Practical quantum computers require a large network of highly coherent qubits, interconnected in a design robust against errors. Donor spins in silicon provide state-of-the-art coherence and quantum gate fidelities, in a platform adapted from industrial semiconductor processing. Here we present a scalable design for a silicon quantum processor that does not require precise donor placement and leaves ample space for the routing of interconnects and readout devices. We introduce the flip-flop qubit, a combination of the electron-nuclear spin states of a phosphorus donor that can be controlled by microwave electric fields. Two-qubit gates exploit a second-order electric dipole-dipole interaction, allowing selective coupling beyond the nearest-neighbor, at separations of hundreds of nanometers, while microwave resonators can extend the entanglement to macroscopic distances. We predict gate fidelities within fault-tolerance thresholds using realistic noise models. This design provides a realizable blueprint for scalable spin-based quantum computers in silicon.Quantum computers will require a large network of coherent qubits, connected in a noise-resilient way. Tosi et al. present a design for a quantum processor based on electron-nuclear spins in silicon, with electrical control and coupling schemes that simplify qubit fabrication and operation.

Concepts: Electron, Quantum information science, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Quantum computer, Quantum dot, Qubit, Integrated circuit, Thought experiment