Title: Brain structural connectivity mapping: Insights from functional data analysis
Authors: Aymeric Stamm - CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) (France) [presenting]
Simone Vantini - Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Abstract: Brain structural connectivity mapping pertains to reconstructing the axons that connect the different parts of our brain. This is done by tracking diffusion of water within axons using MRI and it is known as the process of tractography. The data provided by tractography consists in a set of curves defined on a three-dimensional domain which can take values in different spaces depending on which features we look at along their path. This information is critical in a number of neurological applications such as, for example, brain tumour removal surgery. Indeed, neurosurgeons must understand which tissue is still alive and which has been damaged by the tumour in order to remove as many tumoral cells as possible without affecting normal, possibly vital, functions. The availability of an atlas of structural connections within the healthy human brain would then be highly relevant as a benchmark to compare patients' brains against. We see tractography data as functional data and take advantage of cutting-edge statistical methods from the functional data analysis literature to provide an atlas of the healthy cortico-spinal tract, which regroups axons that connect the primary motor cortex to the spinal cord and therefore handle voluntary motion of all parts of our body.