Excerpt from OHBM Communications/Media Team article on Huff Post Science:
From Broken Brains to Frankenstein: A Walt Whitman Birthday Listicle
"Walt Whitman was born on this day in 1819. His lifespan overlapped with a period in neuroscience history that laid the foundation for today’s exciting time of brain exploration. For example, in 1854 when Whitman was 35 years old, Emil Huschke produced the first lithograph of the human brain. Just one year later, Pierre Gratiolet proposed a strategy for how to demarcate the lobes of the human brain that is similar to how they are defined today. Though he would likely roll over in his grave at the word listicle, here are three ways Whitman is historically linked to the brain. . . " Read more
Human brain mapping is inherently an interdisciplinary pursuit that benefits from the collaboration of diverse groups with a breadth of perspectives and expertise. This is why my colleagues and I are pleased to announce the formation of the OHBM Open Science Special Interest Group (SIG) to foster collaboration by encouraging the open dissemination of insights, tools, and data.
Open science is a movement built upon an ethos that fosters transparency through the free sharing of scientific code, data, derivatives, and publications. Open source software has been a part of the OHBM community from the beginning and nearly all of the tools we rely on are available without cost and many of them place very few restrictions on their use. The openness of these tools democratizes their access to researchers and facilitates the verification and extension of the methods implemented. Openly sharing raw data has also long been central to our community. Although the initial efforts made by the fMRIDC and OASIS were perhaps ahead of their time, tens of thousands of brains are now available through the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project, International Neuroimaging Datasharing Initiative, OpenfMRI, PING, Human Connectome Project, NITRC-IR, and the list continues to grow. We are additionally seeing the growth of initiatives aimed at sharing data derivatives, either the output of group-level analysis through NeuroVault, diverse preprocessed data through the Preprocessed Connectomes Project, or results reported in the literature through Neurosynth and BrainSpell. By pooling resources across labs, these openly shared data and derivatives are enabling an unprecedented scale of analyses and are providing valuable fodder for developing new tools and educating new scientists.
Open access publication, which includes both free access to the scientific literature and transparency into the review process, is still being developed in the community. Several journals offer open access publication either exclusively or for an additional charge. The US National Institutes of Health and other funding institutions around the world have mandated that publications arising from the research be openly available. Transparency in review is now being supported by systems such as Publons and the Gigascience Journal. This transparency fosters a more honest review process and allows a critical and diverse interpretation of a paper based on the machinations it went through during the publication process. Some journals are now enabling and encouraging post-publication comments on papers, which provide very important long-term review. Pre-publication through repositories such as arXiv and bioRXiv is another way for supporting transparent publication that is growing popular in the community. Some authors (including me) are also preparing their publications in the open using Github and other tools, making the entirety of the creation process transparent.
The Open Science SIG will support the spread of these practices in the OHBM community in a variety of ways. We will organize annual OHBM hackathons to encourage open collaboration between researchers from a variety of backgrounds and seniority levels. For the uninitiated, these hackathon events borrow ideas from, but are more than, stereotypical hackathons from the computer-programming world. The projects performed at these events do include development of new tools, but also involve working on a variety of neuroscience resources and projects, such as developing new data analyses, curating literature databases, assisting with data processing activities, and discussing open issues and important new ideas.
Another way we hope to encourage open science is through educational efforts. To this end, we will be organizing the “Brainhacking 101” courses during the 2016 Annual Meeting. These courses are conceptually similar to the popular Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry movements, and provide tutorials on collaborative tools and open source software that facilitate brain mapping. We will also host an open science room throughout the annual meeting where researchers can come to collaborate and see software demos.
We believe that the tenets of open science will accelerate scientific discovery and our hope is that by promoting a culture of openness and collaboration, the Open Science SIG will help enrich the scientific journeys of all OHBM members.
Excerpt from new OHBM Communications/Media Team article on Huff Post Science: "Reading is a fundamental ability that is critical for academic success. Currently, 5-15% of school children suffer from reading difficulties, which positions them at a lower starting point in school. Wouldn't it be great if we could identify neurobiological biomarkers of reading difficulties in less than an hour? Based on recent findings, it looks like we are becoming closer to making this goal a reality." Read more here.
Excerpt from OHBM Communications/Media Team article on Huff Post Science:
"One of the cool things about being human is that you know you’re you and that you have skills and abilities that others don’t have. For example, qualities that differentiate you from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and vice versa. Despite the individual abilities of our brains that may make us different from one another, there are also both structural and functional aspects of our brains that we all share. For example, individuals without brain damage each have the same number of lobes in the brain. Additionally, whether you know it or not, we also each have many different types of functional brain maps." Read the full article here.
We've just launched a series of articles on the Huffington Post. Unlike traditional ‘hot-off-the-press’ articles written by science journalists, these posts are written by the brain mappers themselves. As such, they cover not only current topics, but also foundational information that sometimes lies forgotten in dusty textbooks. The posts cover a range of topics - anything from what it would be like to walk along the cortical ribbon, to similarities between brain maps in you and in the astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. They are fun, entertaining and under 800 words! Find the first article here, and stay tuned for more over the coming weeks.
Given the growing concerns about the reproducibility of published research, OHBM created the Committee on Best Practices In Data Analysis and Sharing (COBIDAS) in 2014. The committee’s subsequent white paper describes best practices of data analysis and sharing in the brain mapping community. After extensive feedback, the whitepaper has been revised to reflect this broader input. The brain mapping community (including both members and non-members of OHBM) must now vote whether or not to support the report as the official best practice document of the OHBM. The voting closes on May 12th, 2016. We strongly encourage everyone to read and understand the importance of this work, and to voice your opinion with your vote.
Symposia have always been a major highlight of the OHBM annual meeting for me. Talks in a symposium are shorter than keynotes but often feature similarly senior speakers. As such, these talks provide high-level insights that expand my horizons beyond my own research focus. This year, there were so many excellent proposals that the Program Committee decided to go with three parallel tracks each afternoon, similar to the morning workshops (now called morning symposia). I suspect many meeting attendees, like me, will find an embarrassment of riches. Given my interests in brain networks and connectivity, I found this year’s program especially exciting, with at least seven different symposia directly related to this topic.
Since the demonstrations by Power et al. (2012), Satterthwaite et al. (2012) and Van Dijk et al. (2012) that even relatively small motion can lead to spurious functional connectivity, the field has been extremely concerned about motion bias in many studies involving patients, as well as young and old participants, who tend to move more than control groups. Since then, studies have shown that motion can also affect diffusion and structural MR morphometric measurements. On Tuesday morning, the symposium by Anastasia Yendiki, Cameron Craddock, Joelle Sarlls and Dylan Tisdall will present the newest updates on this topic, as well as novel methods to deal with such motion.
Fellow connoisseurs of connectivity research will also have to consider a parallel “Skeptical Connectivity” session in which Tom Nichols, Moo Chung, and Victor Solo introduce new connectivity analysis techniques. Tom Nichols will present a clever multi-network extension of the stochastic block model that includes covariates to account for connectivity differences between subjects due to nuisance factors (e.g., motion or age). Since the first talk in the motion session will be about diffusion MRI (which is of less research interest to me), I might pop into the “Skeptical Connectivity” session for Tom’s talk and run back to the motion session. For undecided OHBM participants, I suspect the “Skeptical Connectivity” session might be of particular interests to methods developers, while the parallel session on motion might cater to a wider audience.
Since Karl Friston introduced the concepts of functional and effective connectivity more than 20 years ago and despite advances such as dynamic causal modeling, many in the field remains skeptical about effective connectivity and causality measures. On Wednesday morning, Bin He, Karl Friston, Guido Nolte and Sheraz Khan will review state of the art functional/effective connectivity and causality mapping approaches. Perhaps they will be able to convert the remaining skeptics in the field!
Invasive and non-invasive brain stimulations have proven therapeutically effective in certain mental disorders. Because the effects of focal brain stimulation will propagate through anatomical connections to affect multiple brain networks, connectivity and network approaches are especially potent for analyzing, understanding and predicting the effects of brain stimulation. On Tuesday afternoon, Andrew Zalesky will host a symposium that discusses network modulation by non-invasive brain stimulation, cognitive training, or brain injury and disease, while Wednesday afternoon will see Michael Fox leading a session on the use of functional connectivity to guide invasive (e.g., DBS) and noninvasive (e.g., TMS) brain stimulation.
Hierarchical control is thought to involve the frontoparietal control network (e.g., Vincent et al., 2007; Cole et al., 2013) modulating the processing of other brain regions. However, there is relatively little work on examining executive function from the perspective of brain connectivity. Therefore to top off the week, on Thursday morning, Marie Banich, Lucina Uddin, Bruce Morton and Nathan Spreng will examine the relationship between executive function and brain connectivity from the perspective of both resting-state and task-based functional connectivity.
Perhaps the biggest dilemma for me is that in previous years, the single track symposium format allowed me to skip sessions I am least interested in, giving me time to meet with distant collaborators. The many exciting choices for me this year will force me to make some difficult decisions! The parallel symposia format at OHBM 2016 has definitely imposed on me the enviable problem of the paradox of choices!