Exploring functional networks of the human spinal cord and clinical applications using resting state fMRI
General Program supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China
Spinal cord is a key part in the central nerve system, as it is sensory and motor signal pathway between the brain and peripheral system, also it is a key site for the pathology of many neurodegeration diseases. Therefore, the development of new methods for the study of spinal cord function has important biophysiological significance and clinical application prospect. Recently the applicant has been focusing on spinal cord fMRI, a very challenging and novel topic. Previously we discovered biological plausible resting state networks in the human spinal cord, similar to the well-known brain connectome networks. In the current project, we will further the research on the core technology of the spinal cord resting state fMRI, establish standardised imaging sequence and analysis pipeline; by implementing the analysis methods of functional connectivity, network analysis, regional homogeneity and amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation, combining behaviour data, characterise the spinal cord functional networks comprehensively; test the reliability and reproducibility of the resting state spinal cord networks; establish the standard template of the resting state cervical cord networks; explore the clinical application value of the spinal cord resting state networks using MS, NMO and spinal cord injury as models.