ALE Meta-Analysis Workflows Via the Brainmap Database: Progress Towards A Probabilistic Functional Brain Atlas

Front Neuroinform. 2009 Jul 9;3:23. doi: 10.3389/neuro.11.023.2009. eCollection 2009.


With the ever-increasing number of studies in human functional brain mapping, an abundance of data has been generated that is ready to be synthesized and modeled on a large scale. The BrainMap database archives peak coordinates from published neuroimaging studies, along with the corresponding metadata that summarize the experimental design. BrainMap was designed to facilitate quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging results reported in the literature and supports the use of the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method. In this paper, we present a discussion of the potential analyses that are possible using the BrainMap database and coordinate-based ALE meta-analyses, along with some examples of how these tools can be applied to create a probabilistic atlas and ontological system of describing function-structure correspondences.

Keywords: BrainMap; activation likelihood estimation; functional atlas; meta-analysis; ontology.