NeuRA Imaging


Identifying fMRI Model Violations with Lagrange Multiplier Tests (Ben Cassidy)

This software comprises tools for identifying model violation in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging analysis. The diagnostic tests are available as a MATLAB toolbox, and can be run from the MATLAB command line or incorporated in batch scripts as part of a full fMRI analysis pipeline.

The current version includes tests for violation of the following model assumptions:
– Double Gamma (canonical) hemodynamic response function
– Double Gamma and temporal derivative HRF (derivative as defined in SPM software)
– Double Gamma and temporal derivative HRF (derivative as defined in FSL software)
– Time-varying HRF
– Non-linear HRF

Download software (version 0.3)
Latest software version and development branches available at

Cassidy, B., Long, C.J., Rae, C and Solo, V.
Identifying fMRI model violations with Lagrange multiplier tests.
IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging (in press 03/04/2012).

Cassidy, B and Solo, V.
fMRI Model Diagnostics for the Double Gamma and Temporal Derivative,
IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging, 2012

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Abdominal muscle stimulation to improve bowel function in spinal cord injury

Bowel complications, resulting from impaired bowel function, are common for people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI). As a result, people with a SCI have high rates of bowel related illness, even compared with those with other neurological disorders. This includes high rates of abdominal pain, constipation, faecal incontinence and bloating. These problems lower the quality of life of people with a SCI and place a financial burden on the health system. A treatment that improves bowel function for people with a SCI should reduce illness, improve quality of life and lead to a large cost saving for health care providers. Bowel problems have traditionally been managed with manual and pharmacological interventions, such as digital rectal stimulation, enemas, and suppositories. These solutions are usually only partially effective, highlighting the need for improved interventions. The abdominal muscles are one of the major muscle groups used during defecation. Training the abdominal muscles should improve bowel function by increasing abdominal pressure. During our previous Abdominal FES research with people with a SCI, we observed that Abdominal FES appeared to lead to more consistent and effective bowel motion. However, this evidence remains anecdotal. As such, we are going to undertake a large randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of Abdominal FES to improve the bowel function of people with a SCI. This study will make use of a novel measurement system (SmartPill, Medtronic) that can be swallowed to measure whole gut and colonic transit time. We will also assess whether Abdominal FES can change constipation-related quality of life and the use of laxatives and manual procedures, as well as the frequency of defecation and the time taken. A positive outcome from this study is likely to lead to the rapid clinical translation of this technology for people living with a SCI.