Research Topic

Structural magnetic resonance imaging in functional neurosurgery: Using in vivo measures of brain structure to inform clinical care

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Structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) techniques, including diffusion imaging (dMRI), are rapidly advancing our knowledge of in vivo neuroanatomy. Substantial progress in image acquisition and algorithmic techniques now enable unprecedented insight into the highly complex interstructural relationships ...

Structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) techniques, including diffusion imaging (dMRI), are rapidly advancing our knowledge of in vivo neuroanatomy. Substantial progress in image acquisition and algorithmic techniques now enable unprecedented insight into the highly complex interstructural relationships of the brain.

These improvements in sMRI position it to have a tremendous emerging impact in the field of functional neurosurgery – which deals with disorders for which anatomical alterations are not obvious at the macroscopic level. The sophisticated tools available for analysis, such as tractography and graph theory-based metrics, permits the detailed study of both the anatomical target of interest as well as the broader connectivity patterns throughout the brain. Such techniques are ideal for studying clinical populations considered for functional neurosurgery (e.g. such as those with neuropathic pain or major depressive disorder).

This Research Topic aims to gather ideas on the current and future use of structural neuroimaging in the field of functional neurosurgery. This approach may help provide insight to the possibilities and limitations of using these techniques as a routine clinical tool in some patient groups, for both the prognostication of treatment benefit as well as a facilitator of personalized treatment.

All submissions should include the use of structural imaging techniques within the field of functional neurosurgery using a clinical group or animal model. This would include, but is not limited to, neuropsychiatric conditions such as pain, epilepsy, psychiatric and movement disorders. Although we will consider the described categories broadly, submissions addressing some of the following broad issues are especially welcomed:

1) Structural studies in humans comparing clinical vs. healthy circuitry differences in functional neurosurgery

2) Structural studies in humans or animals using multimodal imaging techniques (e.g. combining measures of white and gray matter) which improve our understanding of circuits related to functional neurosurgery

3) Reviews exploring the use and/or limitations of these techniques (e.g. dMRI, gray matter volume analysis) in functional neurosurgery

4) Approaches aimed at translating animal findings to humans, or vice versa, and discussing potential clinical relevance are also welcome.

The overall goal is to explore the current and future use of structural neuroimaging techniques in delineating complex neuroanatomy and to suggest how these findings might be used in functional neurosurgery. The inclusion of focused reviews, original research, and papers outlining new, testable, hypotheses are encouraged.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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