Multi-modal and Functional Neuroimaging Research Group is
Opening new PhD positions
in the field of Neurosciences
NEUROBIOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF EXTREME STRESS ON THE HUMAN BRAIN - THREE GENERATIONS
IVAN REKTOR, BRNO
35th CZECH AND SLOVAK EPILEPTOLOGY CONGRESS AND 69th CZECH AND SLOVAK CONGRESS OF CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY
Milan Brázdil in Forbes's TOP 50 Doctors of the Czech Republic
Forbes magazine has published a ranking of the top 50 doctors in the Czech Republic. Milan Brázdil, who is involved in teaching and research at the MU Faculty of Medicine, is among the best.
Successful AZV projects
The Ministry of Health has already announced the result of a one-stage public competition in research, experimental development and innovation for the years 2022-2025 for special-purpose support for medical research and development projects.
Our Latest Research
Longitudinal study of epigenetic aging and its relationship with brain aging and cognitive skills in young adulthood
Introduction: The proportion of older adults within society is sharply increasing and a better understanding of how we age starts to be critical. However, given the paucity of longitudinal studies with both neuroimaging and epigenetic data, it remains largely unknown whether the speed of the epigenetic clock changes over the life course and whether any such changes are proportional to changes in brain aging and cognitive skills. To fill these knowledge gaps, we conducted a longitudinal study of a prenatal birth cohort, studied epigenetic aging across adolescence and young adulthood, and evaluated its relationship with brain aging and cognitive outcomes.
Methods: DNA methylation was assessed using the Illumina EPIC Platform in adolescence, early and late 20 s, DNA methylation age was estimated using Horvath's epigenetic clock, and epigenetic age gap (EpiAGE) was calculated as DNA methylation age residualized for batch, chronological age and the proportion of epithelial cells. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was acquired in both the early 20 s and late 20 s using the same 3T Prisma MRI scanner and brain age was calculated using the Neuroanatomical Age Prediction using R (NAPR) platform.
Different pieces of the same puzzle: a multifaceted perspective on the complex biological basis of Parkinson's disease
The biological basis of the neurodegenerative movement disorder, Parkinson's disease (PD), is still unclear despite it being 'discovered' over 200 years ago in Western Medicine. Based on current PD knowledge, there are widely varying theories as to its pathobiology.
The aim of this article was to explore some of these different theories by summarizing the viewpoints of laboratory and clinician scientists in the PD field, on the biological basis of the disease. To achieve this aim, we posed this question to thirteen "PD experts" from six continents (for global representation) and collated their personal opinions into this article.
The views were varied, ranging from toxin exposure as a PD trigger, to LRRK2 as a potential root cause, to toxic alpha-synuclein being the most important etiological contributor. Notably, there was also growing recognition that the definition of PD as a single disease should be reconsidered, perhaps each with its own unique pathobiology and treatment regimen.
Consensus Paper: Cerebellum and Ageing
Given the key roles of the cerebellum in motor, cognitive, and affective operations and given the decline of brain functions with aging, cerebellar circuitry is attracting the attention of the scientific community. The cerebellum plays a key role in timing aspects of both motor and cognitive operations, including for complex tasks such as spatial navigation. Anatomically, the cerebellum is connected with the basal ganglia via disynaptic loops, and it receives inputs from nearly every region in the cerebral cortex. The current leading hypothesis is that the cerebellum builds internal models and facilitates automatic behaviors through multiple interactions with the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and spinal cord. The cerebellum undergoes structural and functional changes with aging, being involved in mobility frailty and related cognitive impairment as observed in the physio-cognitive decline syndrome (PCDS) affecting older, functionally-preserved adults who show slowness and/or weakness. Reductions in cerebellar volume accompany aging and are at least correlated with cognitive decline. There is a strongly negative correlation between cerebellar volume and age in cross-sectional studies, often mirrored by a reduced performance in motor tasks.
Genetic algorithm designed for optimization of neural network architectures for intracranial EEG recordings analysis
Objective.The current practices of designing neural networks rely heavily on subjective judgment and heuristic steps, often dictated by the level of expertise possessed by architecture designers. To alleviate these challenges and streamline the design process, we propose an automatic method, a novel approach to enhance the optimization of neural network architectures for processing intracranial electroencephalogram (iEEG) data.Approach. We present a genetic algorithm, which optimizes neural network architecture and signal pre-processing parameters for iEEG classification.Main results. Our method improved the macroF1 score of the state-of-the-art model in two independent datasets, from St. Anne's University Hospital (Brno, Czech Republic) and Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA), from 0.9076 to 0.9673 and from 0.9222 to 0.9400 respectively. Significance. By incorporating principles of evolutionary optimization, our approach reduces the reliance on human intuition and empirical guesswork in architecture design, thus promoting more efficient and effective neural network models.
Does initial high efficacy therapy in multiple sclerosis surpass escalation treatment strategy? A comparison of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in the Czech and Swedish national multiple sclerosis registries
Background: In relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) the most common treatment strategy has been to start with low-moderate efficacy disease modifying therapy (LE-DMT) and to escalate to more efficacious treatments in cases of breakthrough disease activity. However, recent evidence suggests a better outcome in patients commencing with moderate-high efficacy DMT (HE-DMT) immediately after clinical onset.
Objective: The aim of this study is to compare disease activity and disability outcomes in patients treated with the two alternative strategies using the Swedish and Czech national multiple sclerosis registries, taking advantage of the fact that the relative frequency of each strategy differs markedly between these two countries.
Is breastfeeding in MS harmful or not? An answer from real-world Czech data
Introduction: The influence of breastfeeding and it´s duration on the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unclear. Here we analyzed a real-world data for breastfeeding women with MS and their disease course collected from a Czech national registry ReMuS.
Objectives: To identify risk factors associated with not initiating breastfeeding after delivery, to analyze the impact of breastfeeding on the MS disease course, evaluate the assumption, that breastfeeding is not harmful in MS patients, and compare the disease course by breastfeeding status.
Materials and methods: Using propensity score matching we compared Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), confirmed disease worsening (CDW) and annual relapse rate (ARR) in breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding MS patients according to disease duration, disease modifying treatment (DMT) before pregnancy, last EDSS score before conception, age, and ARR during pregnancy.
Response: Can biomarkers of the epileptogenic zone be characterized in patients rendered seizure free alone?
The role ofpresurgical evaluation with intracranial elec-troencephalography (iEEG) is to localize the minimal amount ofbrain tissue which, ifresected, will achieve sei-zure freedom in the treated patient. From the definition ofthe epileptogenic zone (EZ)1being “the area ofcortex that is indispensable for the generation ofepileptic seizures,” it is the EZ that we want to localize. At the same time we will only know retrospectively in patients with seizure-free outcome that we were indeed able to identify the EZ.
This brings us to the localization dilemma. We either attempt to stick to the primary goal oflocalization ofthe EZ and use only good outcome patients or use something else as a localization target that is well defined in both good and poor outcomes. For poor outcome patients the latter remains less clear apart from the fact that at least part ofthe predicted target, localized by an algorithm, should be outside of the resection cavity.
Six years of the Angels Initiative: Aims, achievements and future directions to improve stroke care worldwide
The rate of stroke-related death and disability is four times higher in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) than in high-income countries (HICs), yet stroke units exist in only 18% of LMICs, compared with 91% of HICs. In order to ensure universal and equitable access to timely, guideline-recommended stroke care, multidisciplinary stroke-ready hospitals with coordinated teams of healthcare professionals and appropriate facilities are essential.Established in 2016, the Angels Initiative is an international, not-for-profit, public-private partnership. It is run in collaboration with the World Stroke Organization, European Stroke Organisation, and regional and national stroke societies in over 50 countries.
The Angels Initiative aims to increase the global number of stroke-ready hospitals and to optimise the quality of existing stroke units. It does this through the work of dedicated consultants, who help to standardise care procedures and build coordinated, informed communities of stroke professionals.