Recent advances in bioinformatics have opened entire new avenues for organizing, integrating and retrieving neuroscientific data, in a digital, machine-processable format, which can be at the same time understood by humans, using ontological, symbolic data representations. Declarative information stored in ontological format can be perused and maintained by domain experts, interpreted by machines, and serve as basis for a multitude of decision support, computerized simulation, data mining, and teaching applications. We have developed a prototype symbolic model of canonical neuroanatomy of the motor system. Our symbolic model is intended to support symbolic lookup, logical inference and mathematical modeling by integrating descriptive, qualitative and quantitative functional neuroanatomical knowledge. Furthermore, we show how our approach can be extended to modeling impaired brain connectivity in disease states, such as common movement disorders. In developing our ontology, we adopted a disciplined modeling approach, relying on a set of declared principles, a high-level schema, Aristotelian definitions, and a frame-based authoring system. These features, along with the use of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) vocabulary, enable the alignment of our functional ontology with an existing comprehensive ontology of human anatomy, and thus allow for combining the structural and functional views of neuroanatomy for clinical decision support and neuroanatomy teaching applications. Although the scope of our current prototype ontology is limited to a particular functional system in the brain, it may be possible to adapt this approach for modeling other brain functional systems as well. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Talos, I. F., Rubin, D. L., Halle, M., Musen, M., & Kikinis, R. (2008). A prototype symbolic model of canonical functional neuroanatomy of the motor system. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 41(2), 251–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2007.11.003