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Åberg, Malin
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Publications (10 of 15) Show all publications
Björnsdotter Åberg, M., Wang, N., Pelphrey, K. & Kaiser, M. D. (2016). Evaluation of Quantified Social Perception Circuit Activity as a Neurobiological Marker of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA psychiatry, 73(6), 614-621
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of Quantified Social Perception Circuit Activity as a Neurobiological Marker of Autism Spectrum Disorder
2016 (English)In: JAMA psychiatry, ISSN 2168-6238, E-ISSN 2168-622X, Vol. 73, no 6, p. 614-621Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

IMPORTANCE Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is marked by social disability and is associated with dysfunction in brain circuits supporting social cue perception. The degree to which neural functioning reflects individual-level behavioral phenotype is unclear, slowing the search for functional neuroimaging biomarkers of ASD. OBJECTIVE To examine whether quantified neural function in social perception circuits may serve as an individual-level marker of ASD in children and adolescents. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS The cohort study was conducted at the Yale Child Study Center and involved children and adolescents diagnosed as having ASD and typically developing participants. Participants included a discovery cohort and a larger replication cohort. Individual-level social perception circuit functioning was assessed as functional magnetic resonance imaging brain responses to point-light displays of coherent vs scrambled human motion. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Outcome measures included performance of quantified brain responses in affected male and female participants in terms of area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), sensitivity and specificity, and correlations between brain responses and social behavior. RESULTS Of the 39 participants in the discovery cohort aged 4 to 17 years, 22 had ASD and 30 were boys. Of the 75 participants in the replication cohort aged 7 to 20 years, 37 had ASD and 52 were boys. A relative reduction in social perception circuit responses was identified in discovery cohort boys with ASD at an AUC of 0.75 (95% CI, 0.52-0.89; P = .01); however, typically developing girls and girls with ASD could not be distinguished (P = .54). The results were confirmed in the replication cohort, where brain responses were identified in boys with ASD at an AUC of 0.79 (95% CI, 0.64-0.91; P amp;lt; .001) and failed to distinguish affected and unaffected girls (P = .82). Across both cohorts, boys were identified at an AUC of 0.77 (95% CI, 0.64-0.86) with corresponding sensitivity and specificity of 76% each. Additionally, brain responses were associated with social behavior in boys but not in girls. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Quantified social perception circuit activity is a promising individual-level candidate neural marker of the male ASD behavioral phenotype. Our findings highlight the need to better understand effects of sex on social perception processing in relation to ASD phenotype manifestations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER MEDICAL ASSOC, 2016
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130290 (URN)10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0219 (DOI)000378868100014 ()27096285 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative; National Institute of Mental Health; Autism Speaks; Wenner-Gren Foundations; European Union [PIOF-GA-2012-302896]

Available from: 2016-08-01 Created: 2016-07-28 Last updated: 2017-11-28
Guterstam, A., Björnsdotter Åberg, M., Bergouignan, L., Gentile, G., Li, T.-Q. & Henrik Ehrsson, H. (2015). Decoding illusory self-location from activity in the human hippocampus. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9(412)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Decoding illusory self-location from activity in the human hippocampus
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2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 9, no 412Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Decades of research have demonstrated a role for the hippocampus in spatial navigation and episodic and spatial memory. However, empirical evidence linking hippocampal activity to the perceptual experience of being physically located at a particular place in the environment is lacking. In this study, we used a multisensory out-of-body illusion to perceptually teleport six healthy participants between two different locations in the scanner room during high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The participants were fitted with MRI-compatible head-mounted displays that changed their first-person visual perspective to that of a pair of cameras placed in one of two corners of the scanner room. To elicit the illusion of being physically located in this position, we delivered synchronous visuo-tactile stimulation in the form of an object moving toward the cameras coupled with touches applied to the participants chest. Asynchronous visuo-tactile stimulation did not induce the illusion and served as a control condition. We found that illusory self-location could be successfully decoded from patterns of activity in the hippocampus in all of the participants in the synchronous (P less than 0.05) but not in the asynchronous condition (Pgreater than 0.05). At the group-level, the decoding accuracy was significantly higher in the synchronous than in the asynchronous condition (P = 0.012). These findings associate hippocampal activity with the perceived location of the bodily self in space, which suggests that the human hippocampus is involved not only in spatial navigation and memory but also in the construction of our sense of bodily self-location.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2015
Keywords
body perception; perceptual illusion; self-consciousness; self-location; multisensory integration
National Category
Basic Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121441 (URN)10.3389/fnhum.2015.00412 (DOI)000360263400001 ()26236222 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|European Research Council; Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research; Swedish Research Council; McDonnell Foundation; Soderbergska Stiftelsen; Wenner-Gren Foundation; European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) [PIOF-GA-2012-302896]

Available from: 2015-09-18 Created: 2015-09-18 Last updated: 2018-01-11
Gentile, G., Åberg, M., Petkova, V. I., Abdulkarim, Z. & Henrik Ehrsson, H. (2015). Patterns of neural activity in the human ventral premotor cortex reflect a whole-body multisensory percept. NeuroImage, 109, 328-340
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Patterns of neural activity in the human ventral premotor cortex reflect a whole-body multisensory percept
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2015 (English)In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 109, p. 328-340Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that the integration of multisensory signals from the body in fronto-parietal association areas underlies the perception of a body part as belonging to ones physical self. What are the neural mechanisms that enable the perception of ones entire body as a unified entity? In one behavioral and one fMRI multivoxel pattern analysis experiment, we used a full-body illusion to investigate how congruent visuo-tactile signals from a single body part facilitate the emergence of the sense of ownership of the entire body. To elicit this illusion, participants viewed the body of a mannequin from the first-person perspective via head-mounted displays while synchronous touches were applied to the hand, abdomen, or leg of the bodies of the participant and the mannequin; asynchronous visuo-tactile stimuli served as controls. The psychometric data indicated that the participants perceived ownership of the entire artificial body regardless of the body segment that received the synchronous visuo-tactile stimuli. Based on multivoxel pattern analysis, we found that the neural responses in the left ventral premotor cortex displayed illusion-specific activity patterns that generalized across all tested pairs of body parts. Crucially, a tripartite generalization analysis revealed the whole-body specificity of these premotor activity patterns. Finally, we also identified multivoxel patterns in the premotor, intraparietal, and lateral occipital cortices and in the putamen that reflected multisensory responses specific to individual body parts. Based on these results, we propose that the dynamic formation of a whole-body percept may be mediated by neuronal populations in the ventral premotor cortex that contain visuo-tactile receptive fields encompassing multiple body segments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
National Category
Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-116503 (URN)10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.01.008 (DOI)000349971600030 ()25583608 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|European Research Council; James S. McDonnell Foundation; Swedish Research Council; Soderberska Stiftelsen; European Union [PIOF-GA-2012-302896]

Available from: 2015-03-27 Created: 2015-03-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04
Guterstam, A., Björnsdotter Åberg, M., Gentile, G. & Ehrsson, H. H. (2015). Posterior Cingulate Cortex Integrates the Senses of Self-Location and Body Ownership. Current Biology, 25(11), 1416-1425
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Posterior Cingulate Cortex Integrates the Senses of Self-Location and Body Ownership
2015 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 25, no 11, p. 1416-1425Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The senses of owning a body and being localized somewhere in space are two key components of human self-consciousness. Despite a wealth of neurophysiological and neuroimaging research on the representations of the spatial environment in the parietal and medial temporal cortices, the relationship between body ownership and self-location remains unexplored. To investigate this relationship, we used a multisensory out-of-body illusion to manipulate healthy participants perceived self-location, head direction, and sense of body ownership during high-resolution fMRI. Activity patterns in the hippocampus and the posterior cingulate, retrosplenial, and intraparietal cortices reflected the sense of self-location, whereas the sense of body ownership was associated with premotor-intraparietal activity. The functional interplay between these two sets of areas was mediated by the posterior cingulate cortex. These results extend our understanding of the role of the posterior parietal and medial temporal cortices in spatial cognition by demonstrating that these areas not only are important for ecological behaviors, such as navigation and perspective taking, but also support the perceptual representation of the bodily self in space. Our results further suggest that the posterior cingulate cortex has a key role in integrating the neural representations of self-location and body ownership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier (Cell Press), 2015
National Category
Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119794 (URN)10.1016/j.cub.2015.03.059 (DOI)000355556600016 ()25936550 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council; James McDonnell Foundation; Soderbergska Stiftelsen; European Research Council; European Union [PIOF-GA-2012-302896]

Available from: 2015-06-26 Created: 2015-06-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04
Björnsdotter, M., Gordon, I., Pelphrey, K. A., Olausson, H. & Kaiser, M. D. (2014). Development of brain mechanisms for processing affective touch. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8(24)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development of brain mechanisms for processing affective touch
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2014 (English)In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5153, E-ISSN 1662-5153, Vol. 8, no 24Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Affective tactile stimulation plays a key role in the maturation of neural circuits, but the development of brain mechanisms processing touch is poorly understood. We therefore used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain responses to soft brush stroking of both glabrous (palm) and hairy (forearm) skin in healthy children (5-13 years), adolescents (14-17 years), and adults (25-35 years). Adult-defined regions-of-interests in the primary somatosensory cortex (SI), secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), insular cortex and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) were significantly and similarly activated in all age groups. Whole-brain analyses revealed that responses in the ipsilateral SII were positively correlated with age in both genders, and that responses in bilateral regions near the pSTS correlated significantly and strongly with age in females but not in males. These results suggest that brain mechanisms associated with both sensory-discriminative and affective-motivational aspects of touch are largely established in school-aged children, and that there is a general continuing maturation of SII and a female-specific increase in pSTS sensitivity with age. Our work establishes a groundwork for future comparative studies of tactile processing in developmental disorders characterized by disrupted social perception such as autism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation, 2014
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126208 (URN)10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00024 (DOI)24550800 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
Liljencrantz, J., Björnsdotter, M., Morrison, I., Bergstrand, S., Ceko, M., Seminowicz, D. A., . . . Olausson, H. (2013). Altered C-tactile processing in human dynamic tactile allodynia.. Pain, 154(2), 227-234
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Altered C-tactile processing in human dynamic tactile allodynia.
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2013 (English)In: Pain, ISSN 0304-3959, E-ISSN 1872-6623, Vol. 154, no 2, p. 227-234Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human unmyelinated (C) tactile afferents signal the pleasantness of gentle skin stroking on hairy (nonglabrous) skin. After neuronal injury, that same type of touch can elicit unpleasant sensations: tactile allodynia. The prevailing pathophysiological explanation is a spinal cord sensitization, triggered by nerve injury, which enables Aβ afferents to access pain pathways. However, a recent mouse knockout study demonstrates that C-tactile afferents are necessary for allodynia to develop, suggesting a role for not only Aβ but also C-tactile afferent signaling. To examine the contribution of C-tactile afferents to the allodynic condition in humans, we applied the heat/capsaicin model of tactile allodynia in 43 healthy subjects and in 2 sensory neuronopathy patients lacking Aβ afferents. Healthy subjects reported tactile-evoked pain, whereas the patients did not. Instead, patients reported their C-touch percept (faint sensation of pleasant touch) to be significantly weaker in the allodynic zone compared to untreated skin. Functional magnetic resonance imaging in 18 healthy subjects and in 1 scanned patient indicated that stroking in the allodynic and control zones evoked different responses in the primary cortical receiving area for thin fiber signaling, the posterior insular cortex. In addition, reduced activation in the medial prefrontal cortices, key areas for C-tactile hedonic processing, was identified. These findings suggest that dynamic tactile allodynia is associated with reduced C-tactile mediated hedonic touch processing. Nevertheless, because the patients did not develop allodynic pain, this seems dependent on Aβ signaling, at least under these experimental conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013
Keywords
C-tactile afferents, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Neuropathic pain, Psychophysics, Tactile allodynia
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126209 (URN)10.1016/j.pain.2012.10.024 (DOI)000313740700011 ()23290550 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
Björnsdotter, M. & Wessberg, J. (2012). Clustered sampling improves random subspace brain mapping. Pattern Recognition, 45(6), 2035-2040
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Clustered sampling improves random subspace brain mapping
2012 (English)In: Pattern Recognition, ISSN 0031-3203, E-ISSN 1873-5142, Vol. 45, no 6, p. 2035-2040Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intuitive and efficient, the random subspace ensemble approach provides an appealing solution to the problem of the vast dimensionality of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data for maximal-accuracy brain state decoding. Recently, efforts to generate biologically plausible and interpretable maps of brain regions which contribute information to the ensemble decoding task have been made and two approaches have been introduced: globally multivariate random subsampling and locally multivariate Monte Carlo mapping. Both types of maps reflect voxel-wise decoding accuracies averaged across repeatedly randomly sampled voxel subsets, highlighting voxels which consistently participate in high-classification subsets. We compare the mapping sensitivities of the approaches on realistic simulated data containing both locally and globally multivariate information and demonstrate that utilizing the inherent volumetric nature of fMRI through clustered Monte Carlo mapping yields dramatically improved performances in terms of voxel detection sensitivity and efficiency. These results suggest that, unless a priori information specifically dictates a global search, variants of clustered sampling should be the priority for random subspace brain mapping.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012
Keywords
fMRI, Random subspace, Feature selection, Brain mapping
National Category
Medical Image Processing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126222 (URN)10.1016/j.patcog.2011.04.005 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
Björnsdotter, M., Rylander, K. & Wessberg, J. (2011). A Monte Carlo method for locally multivariate brain mapping.. NeuroImage, 56(2), 508-516
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Monte Carlo method for locally multivariate brain mapping.
2011 (English)In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 56, no 2, p. 508-516Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Locally multivariate approaches to functional brain mapping offer a highly appealing complement to conventional statistics, but require restrictive region-of-interest hypotheses, or, in exhaustive search forms (such as the "searchlight" algorithm; Kriegeskorte et al., 2006), are excessively computer intensive. We therefore propose a non-restrictive, comparatively fast yet highly sensitive method based on Monte Carlo approximation principles where locally multivariate maps are computed by averaging across voxelwise condition-discriminative information obtained from repeated stochastic sampling of fixed-size search volumes. On simulated data containing discriminative regions of varying size and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), the Monte Carlo method reduced the required computer resources by as much as 75% compared to the searchlight with no reduction in mapping performance. Notably, the Monte Carlo mapping approach not only outperformed the general linear method (GLM), but also produced higher discriminative voxel detection scores than the searchlight irrespective of classifier (linear or nonlinear support vector machine), discriminative region size or CNR. The improved performance was explained by the information-average procedure, and the Monte Carlo approach yielded mapping sensitivities of a few percent lower than an information-average exhaustive search. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of the algorithm on whole-brain, multi-subject functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from a tactile study, revealing that the central representation of gentle touch is spatially distributed in somatosensory, insular and visual regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
National Category
Medical Image Processing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126214 (URN)10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.07.044 (DOI)000290081900010 ()20674749 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
Petkova, V. I., Björnsdotter, M., Gentile, G., Jonsson, T., Li, T.-Q. & Ehrsson, H. H. (2011). From part- to whole-body ownership in the multisensory brain.. Current Biology, 21(13), 1118-1122
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From part- to whole-body ownership in the multisensory brain.
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2011 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 21, no 13, p. 1118-1122Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The question of how we experience ownership of an entire body distinct from the external world is a fundamental problem in psychology and neuroscience [1-6]. Earlier studies suggest that integration of visual, tactile, and proprioceptive information in multisensory areas [7-11] mediates self-attribution of single limbs. However, it is still unknown how ownership of individual body parts translates into the unitary experience of owning a whole body. Here, we used a "body-swap" illusion [12], in which people experienced an artificial body to be their own, in combination with functional magnetic resonance imaging to reveal a coupling between the experience of full-body ownership and neural responses in bilateral ventral premotor and left intraparietal cortices, and left putamen. Importantly, activity in the ventral premotor cortex reflected the construction of ownership of a whole body from the parts, because it was stronger when the stimulated body part was attached to a body, was present irrespective of whether the illusion was triggered by stimulation of the hand or the abdomen, and displayed multivoxel patterns carrying information about full-body ownership. These findings suggest that the unitary experience of owning an entire body is produced by neuronal populations that integrate multisensory information across body segments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge, MA, United States: Cell Press, 2011
National Category
Physiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126211 (URN)10.1016/j.cub.2011.05.022 (DOI)000292805400019 ()21683596 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
Morrison, I., Björnsdotter, M. & Olausson, H. (2011). Vicarious responses to social touch in posterior insular cortex are tuned to pleasant caressing speeds.. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(26), 9554-9562
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vicarious responses to social touch in posterior insular cortex are tuned to pleasant caressing speeds.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Neuroscience, ISSN 0270-6474, E-ISSN 1529-2401, Vol. 31, no 26, p. 9554-9562Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Affective touch carries strong significance for social mammals, including humans. Gentle, dynamic touch of a kind that occurs during social interactions is preferentially encoded by a distinct neural pathway involving tactile C (CT) afferents, a type of unmyelinated afferent nerve found exclusively in hairy skin. CT afferents increase firing when the skin is stroked at a pleasant, caress-like speed of ∼3 cm/s, and their discharge frequency correlates with the subjective hedonic experience of the caress. In humans, the posterior insula is a cortical target for CT afferents. Since the potential social relevance of affective touch extends to the touch interactions of others, we postulated that information from CT afferents in posterior insular cortex provides a basis for encoding observed caresses.

RESULTS: In two experiments, we exploited CT afferents' functionally unique tuning curve for stroking speed, demonstrating that a speed optimal for eliciting CT discharge (3 cm/s) also gives rise to higher BOLD responses in posterior insula than a nonoptimal speed (30 cm/s). When participants viewed videos of others' arms being stroked at CT-optimal versus -nonoptimal speeds, the posterior insula showed a similar response as to directly felt touch. Further, this region's response was specific for social interactions, showing no CT-related modulation for nonsocial dynamic-touch videos.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide direct evidence for a functional relationship between CT signaling and processing in posterior insular cortex. Such selective tuning for CT-optimal signals in insula may allow recognition of the hedonic relevance of a merely observed caress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, DC, United States: Society for Neuroscience, 2011
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126210 (URN)10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0397-11.2011 (DOI)000292189500013 ()21715620 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
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