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      ARIANNA: A research environment for neuroimaging studies in autism spectrum disorders.

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          Abstract

          The complexity and heterogeneity of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require the implementation of dedicated analysis techniques to obtain the maximum from the interrelationship among many variables that describe affected individuals, spanning from clinical phenotypic characterization and genetic profile to structural and functional brain images. The ARIANNA project has developed a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment that is easily accessible to the community of researchers working on ASD (https://arianna.pi.infn.it). The main goals of the project are: to analyze neuroimaging data acquired in multiple sites with multivariate approaches based on machine learning; to detect structural and functional brain characteristics that allow the distinguishing of individuals with ASD from control subjects; to identify neuroimaging-based criteria to stratify the population with ASD to support the future development of personalized treatments. Secure data handling and storage are guaranteed within the project, as well as the access to fast grid/cloud-based computational resources. This paper outlines the web-based architecture, the computing infrastructure and the collaborative analysis workflows at the basis of the ARIANNA interdisciplinary working environment. It also demonstrates the full functionality of the research platform. The availability of this innovative working environment for analyzing clinical and neuroimaging information of individuals with ASD is expected to support researchers in disentangling complex data thus facilitating their interpretation.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Comput. Biol. Med.
          Computers in biology and medicine
          Elsevier BV
          1879-0534
          0010-4825
          May 17 2017
          : 87
          Affiliations
          [1 ] National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, 56127 Pisa, Italy. Electronic address: Alessandra.Retico@pi.infn.it.
          [2 ] National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, 56127 Pisa, Italy.
          [3 ] IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Viale del Tirreno 331, 56128 Pisa, Italy; Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
          [4 ] Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques (ITTIG) of the National Research Council, Via de' Barucci 20, 50127 Florence, Italy.
          [5 ] NET7 S.r.l., via Marche 10, 56123 Pisa, Italy.
          [6 ] National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, 56127 Pisa, Italy; University of Pisa, Physics Department, Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, 56127 Pisa, Italy.
          [7 ] IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Viale del Tirreno 331, 56128 Pisa, Italy.
          [8 ] I+ S.r.l., Piazza Puccini 26, 50144 Florence, Italy.
          Article
          S0010-4825(17)30139-7
          10.1016/j.compbiomed.2017.05.017
          28544911

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