Olfactory Network Differences in Master Sommeliers: Connectivity Analysis Using Granger Causality and Graph Theoretical Approach. Journal Article uri icon



  • Previous studies investigating the differences in olfactory processing and judgments between trained sommeliers and controls have shown increased activations in brain regions involving higher level cognitive processes in sommeliers. However, there is little information about the influence of expertise on causal connectivity and topological properties of the connectivity networks between these regions. Therefore, the current study focuses on addressing these questions in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of olfactory perception in Master Sommeliers. fMRI data were acquired from Master Sommeliers and control participants during different olfactory and nonolfactory tasks. Mean time series were extracted from 90 different regions of interest (ROIs; based on Automated Anatomical Labeling atlas). The underlying neuronal variables were extracted using blind hemodynamic deconvolution and then input into a dynamic multivariate autoregressive model to obtain connectivity between every pair of ROIs as a function of time. These connectivity values were then statistically compared to obtain paths that were significantly different between the two groups. The obtained connectivity matrices were further studied using graph theoretical methods. In sommeliers, significantly greater connectivity was observed in connections involving the precuneus, caudate, putamen, and several frontal and temporal regions. The controls showed increased connectivity from the left hippocampus to the frontal regions. Furthermore, the sommeliers exhibited significantly higher small-world topology than the controls. These findings are significant, given that learning about neuroplasticity in adulthood in these regions may then have added clinical importance in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's where early neurodegeneration is isolated to regions important in smell.

publication date

  • March 1, 2017

has subject area

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • January 28, 2017 12:24 PM

Full Author List

  • Sreenivasan K; Zhuang X; Banks SJ; Mishra V; Yang Z; Deshpande G; Cordes D

author count

  • 7

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2158-0022

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 123

end page

  • 136


  • 7


  • 2