StrategicStuff - Methods
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Methods Group contribution to forthcoming strategic review

15 November: We (INS, MB, CS, OK, OH, RC) got together and discussed various issues which might feature in the Methods Group's plans for the future.

Pictures: 1 2 3 4 5

Notes for presentation on 19 November 2007

22 November: Further discussions (INS, MB, RC, DW, OK, CS, FP) on contributions to the neurocognition of health ageing grant proposal, and about how more accurate anatomical information might be used, and its limitations, especially for MEG source localisation.

23 November: Draft paragraphs for William:

The methods group will concentrate on two broad fields - accurate localization of function and context-varying changes in functional responses. The methods group works closely with CBU researchers, allowing us to benefit from the many interesting questions that emerge from CBU imaging and other studies and to focus on issues that have direct relevance to the Unit's research programmes. The technical resources of the CBU (MRI, EEG, FMRI) put us in an excellent position to concentrate on the nature of brain responses across a wide range of modalities and paradigms.

Most current approaches to brain localization use relatively unconstrained models of functional organization in the brain. Recent improvements in data acquisition and analysis allow much more detailed definition of functional and structural anatomy in individual brains. We will use these methods in order to create detailed and robust models of individual functional anatomy, using techniques such as probabilistic fibre tracking with diffusion imaging, high-resolution echo-planar imaging and cortical surface mapping. We will use the data from these modalities to investigate and improve functional region definition, and explore source localization in MEG and EEG. The outcome will be a well-supported toolkit for exploring functional anatomy, and increasingly well-defined and plausible models of individual brain organization that will inform and constrain structure / function relationships from functional imaging.

FMRI, MEG and EEG have great potential to inform us about changes in the nature of brain responses in different contexts. These changes can give us insight into the nature of the underlying brain computations. Most previous work has needed simplifying assumptions about brain responses - that responses are independent and separable to different events, are static over time and context, and invariant in response properties across subjects. These assumptions are becoming increasingly implausible. We are developing techniques to analyse the changes in shape of evoked responses for FMRI, MEG and EEG that will allow us to parameterize complex changes in the nature of the response across task context and individual differences. This will allow us to specify much more plausible models of the nature of the evoked response and its relationship to tasks, contexts and subjects.

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