Network analysis of positron emission tomography regional cerebral blood flow data: ensemble inhibition during episodic memory retrieval.
Two important objectives in the neuroscience of memory are (1) identification of neural pathways involved in memory processes; and (2) characterization of the pattern of interactions between these pathways. Functional neuroimaging can contribute to both of these goals. Using image subtraction analysis of regional cerebral blood flow data measured with positron emission tomography, we identified brain regions that changed activity during episodic memory retrieval (visual work recognition). Relative to a baseline reading task, decreased activity was observed in bilateral prefrontal, bilateral anterior and posterior temporal, and posterior cingulate cortices. Brain regions showing increased activity were the right prefrontal (different from deactivated regions), left anterior cingulate, and left occipital cortices, and vermis of cerebellum. We then performed a network analysis with structural equation modeling to test the hypothesis that regional decreases came about through active inhibition by regions showing increased activity during retrieval. This analysis demonstrated that the influence of activated regions on deactivated regions was more negative during retrieval than during reading, confirming the inhibition hypothesis. Such confirmation could not have been made from the subtraction analysis alone because decreases can come about, at the very least, through reduction of functional influences as well as by active inhibition. The concepts of ensemble excitation and inhibition, as defined through network analysis, are introduced. We argue that is is critical to examine the combined pattern of excitatory and inhibitory influences to fully appreciate the neural basis of episodic memory.
Nyberg, L; McIntosh, AR; Cabeza, R; Nilsson, LG; Houle, S; Habib, R; Tulving, E
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