MAPBOT: Meta-analytic parcellation based on text, and its application to the human thalamus

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Abstract

Meta-analysis of neuroimaging results has proven to be a popular and valuable method to study human brain functions. A number of studies have used meta-analysis to parcellate distinct brain regions. A popular way to perform meta-analysis is typically based on the reported activation coordinates from a number of published papers. However, in addition to the coordinates associated with the different brain regions, the text itself contains considerably amount of additional information. This textual information has been largely ignored in meta-analyses where it may be useful for simultaneously parcellating brain regions and studying their characteristics. By leveraging recent advances in document clustering techniques, we introduce an approach to parcellate the brain into meaningful regions primarily based on the text features present in a document from a large number of studies. This new method is called MAPBOT (Meta-Analytic Parcellation Based On Text). Here, we first describe how the method works and then the application case of understanding the sub-divisions of the thalamus. The thalamus was chosen because of the substantial body of research that has been reported studying this functional and structural structure for both healthy and clinical populations. However, MAPBOT is a general-purpose method that is applicable to parcellating any region(s) of the brain. The present study demonstrates the powerful utility of using text information from neuroimaging studies to parcellate brain regions.

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