The development of Functional Correlation Tensors (FCT) is driving novel investigations into whole-brain functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) signal synchronicity. FCTs are mathematically analogous to the established structural diffusion modality. Unlike conventional fMRI analysis, FCTs examine functional signal independently of hemodynamic response assumptions. In this work participants trained on a motor task for two weeks with fMRI and diffusion scans collected at baseline and endpoint. Using only baseline data, a significant correlation was detected for the fractional anisotropy of the diffusion data with the signal synchronicity anisotropy of the FCT data. Previous work on this data detected white matter (WM) neuroplasticity in motor regions between baseline and endpoint. As FCT is sensitive to WM function, it was hypothesized that WM neuroplasticity could be further detected. Significant increases in signal synchronicity were detected in areas of motor task planning and execution. This represents the first instance of this novel methodology for identifying neuroplasticity.
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Thesis advisor: D'Arcy, Ryan
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