as a fluctuation from the population average. Another type of analysis is a conjunction of activated areas in a sample of subjects: This type of analysis produces a map based on common (overlapping) regions in each subject’s activation map. It is expected that additional methods will emerge that promote understanding of brain function common to all as well as individual and group variations in brain function. This trend should be monitored for possible future Army applications in selection and assessment.

Database Aggregation and Translation for Meta-analyses

Several groups are sponsoring the creation of results databases and proposing standard formats for brain functional and anatomical imaging data, including multimodal techniques. Some are based on cortical surface maps, some on Montreal Neurologic Institute coordinate statistical parametric mapping, and some are based on both. Clearing-houses are under construction for analysis tools (National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research) and other resources. The Army can leverage these resources for meta-analyses of large data samples to seek out opportunities for further research.

Default Mode Networks

Since the work of Biswal et al. (1997), there has been expanding interest in the so-called default-mode network of the brain. This network is seen to consist of “naturally connected” areas and to include functional connectivity and effective connectivity as well as the difference between the two. The topic is being pursued by those interested in neuroergonomics, and those promoting the topic hypothesize that, ultimately, the efficient use of neural resources takes advantage of these default connections. This work could have implications for cognitive fatigue, learning, and performance optimization. Unlike research in connectomics, this research is noninvasive and is conducted on humans. The Army should monitor this trend for proof that such a default network overlies our physical neural connections.

PRIORITIES FOR ARMY INVESTMENT

The committee was tasked to identify technology development opportunities and to recommend those worthy of investment in the near, medium, and far terms. These technology development opportunities, all of which have been discussed earlier in this chapter, were judged to be “high-priority” (Table 7-1), “priority” (Table 7-2), and “possible future opportunities” (Table 7-3).

The committee asked four questions as it decided which opportunities to include in the tables: Should the Army fund the technology? Should the Army maintain expertise in the technology? Is it likely that the technology, if successful, will have a significant impact? Will there need to be advances in subordinate technologies, such as robust, ruggedized sensors

TABLE 7-1 High-Priority Opportunities for Army Investment in Neuroscience Technologies (Recommendation 14)

Technology Opportunity

ME

RE

Time Framea

Current Investment (L, M, or H)

Commercial

Academic

Field-deployable biomarkers of neural state

x

x

Ongoing

L

M

In-helmet EEG for brain–machine interface

x

x

Medium term

M

L

Signal processing and multimodal data fusion, including imaging modalities such as MRI, fMRI, DTI, DSI, PET, and MEG and physiological measures such as heartbeat, interbeat intervals, GSR, optical computer recognition, eye tracking, and pupilometry

x

x

Ongoing

M

H

Soldier models and biomarkers for sleep

 

x

Ongoing

M

M

Vertical fMRI

 

x

Medium term

L

L

Fatigue prediction models

x

 

Medium term

L

M

Behavioral measures of fatigue

x

 

Medium term

M

L

Prospective biomarkers for predictive measures of soldier response to environmental stress, including hypoxic and thermal challenges

x

x

Medium term

L

L

NIRS/DOT

x

x

Medium term

L

L

Biomedical standards and models for head impact protection, including torso protection from blast

x

x

Medium term

M

M

Threat assessment augmentation

x

 

Medium term

M

M

fMRI paradigms of military interest

 

x

Ongoing

L

M

NOTE: ME, mission-enabling; RE, research-enabling; L/M/H, low, medium, or high; EEG, electroencephalography; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging; DTI, diffuse tensor imaging; DSI, diffusion spectrum imaging; PET, positron emission tomography; MEG, magnetoencephalography; NIRS, near-infrared spectroscopy; DOT, diffuse optical tomography; GSR, galvanic skin response.

aIn this column, “medium term” means between 5 and 10 years and “ongoing” means that results will be available within 5 years, but continuing investment is recommended to stay at the forefront of the technology.

SOURCE: Committee-generated.



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