Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium
Friday, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM, May 8, 2015
Room C415A, The Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016
Lucas Parra, City College, CUNY
“Brains on Video”
Abstract: Much of the research on human brain function studies the relationship between neural activity and specific events in the world (flashes, beeps, button pushes, and associated features such as contrast, frequency, reaction time, etc). We decided to abandon this conventional approach and look instead at responses of the brain to ongoing natural stimuli, and in particular, video. We found that when an audience watches video, their fast encephalographic brain responses are similar, however, only if the audience is paying attention! The effect is so strong that we can detect an audience’s attentional engagement in segments as short as 5 seconds. Indeed, similarity of encephalographic responses is predictive of a number of behaviors that presumably correlated with viewer’s attention, such as whether they continue watching a program, whether they ‘like’ certain ad segments, whether they decide to ‘tweet’ about it, and whether they remember the content weeks after they saw it. We believe that analyzing fast ongoing neural activity in response to natural stimuli has tremendous potential for basic inquiry into the functioning of the human brain, and has evident and important practical implications.
“Physics and neurophysiology make tDCS better”
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an emerging therapeutic technique under investigation for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders including stroke rehabilitation, addiction recovery, major depressive disorder, neuropathic pain, as well as other indications. There are encouraging results for some conditions, yet the efficacy of tDCS is mixed for others and even for successful trials there is a need to further improve effectiveness. Moreover, it is unusual that a single approach would be effective and specific in such a diversity of application. This talk introduces the source of specificity and efficacy with tDCS, and outlines approaches to customize and optimize tDCS treatment for specific indications and individuals. Based on computational modeling of current flow using MRI-derived models and on brain slice neurophysiology, work from the Bikson lab aims to enhance the efficacy and specify of tDCS by using physics (anatomical targeting) and electrophysiology (functional targeting).
Thursday, February 26th Harris Hall, Room 110 12:30-2:00 PM
Lunch will be provided
The Stimulated Brain, 1st Edition
Cognitive Enhancement Using Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation
UPDATE Jan 2015: Stimulated Brain wins PROSE Award. Honorable Mention.
Overview: The last decade has witnessed a significant increase in the amount of research exploring how noninvasive brain stimulation can not only modulate but also enhance cognition and brain functions. However, although Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and particularly Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES) have the potential to become more widely applicable techniques, as they come with none of the risks associated with deep brain stimulation, the reference literature on these neurotechnologies has been sparse.
The Stimulated Brain presents the first integration of findings on brain stimulation—with a primary focus on tES, one of the most frequently used noninvasive stimulation methods—from different research fields. The work provides a broad survey of current knowledge, and also marks future directions in cognitive and neuro-enhancement. It expands our understanding of basic research findings from animals and humans, including clear translational benefits for applied research and the therapeutic use of noninvasive brain stimulation methods. The book coverage includes a primer that paves the way to a more advanced knowledge of tES and its physiological basis; current research findings on cognitive and neuro-enhancement in animals and typical and atypical human populations, such as neurological patients; and discussions of future directions, including specific neuroethical issues and pathways for collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The Stimulated Brain is the first book to provide a comprehensive understanding of different aspects of noninvasive brain stimulation that are critical for scientists, clinicians, and those who are interested in “stimulating their mind” by exploring this fascinating field of research.
Link to book
I. Moreno-Duarte, N. Gebodg, P. Schestatsky, B. Guleyupoglu, D. Reato, M. Bikson, F. Fregni. Transcrania Electrical Stimulation: transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), transcranial Pulsed Current Stimulation (tPCS), and Transcranial Random Noise Stimulaiton (tRNS) in The Stimulated Brain (Cohen Kadosh ed.) Elsevier Science – 2014, Chapter 2, p.35-60 doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-404704-4.00002-8 PDF: moreno-duarte2014
D. Truong, P. Minhas, A. Nair, M. Bikson. Computational modeling assisted design of optimized and individualized transcranial Direct Current Stimulation protocols in The Stimulated Brain (Cohen Kadosh ed.) Elsevier Science – 2014. Chapter 4, p.85-116. Full PDF: truong2014
In Search of Serenity: I Strapped on a Mood-Changing Device
“The company is careful not to release too many details about these “neural pathways.” But it has tested the device on more than 3,000 people, including 100 students and staff through a Thync-funded study at the City College of New York. The company says these trials show two-thirds of wearers feel a change in their mood beyond the placebo effect.”
Thursday, Jan.29 @ 1PM in Steinman Hall Rm 402
Rosalyn J Moran, PhD
Assistant Professor, VTC Research Institute
In this talk I will present Bayesian perspectives on the human brain, both as a methodology to assess brain activity and as an analogy of brain function more generally. In the first part of my talk, I will introduce Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) as a ‘mathematical microscope’ for assessing functional brain networks. Using noninvasive neuroimaging data, I will demonstrate how biologically motivated generative models can be deployed with approximate (variational) Bayesian inference techniques to infer upon the complex and latent neuronal architectures that subtend these observed time-series data. Using examples from pathological and pharmacologically-altered cortical circuits, I will show how DCM can also help elucidate the key parameters that contribute to abnormal brain function.
In the second part of my talk I will present a mathematical deconstruction of age-related changes in cortical processing motivated by the Free Energy Principle. This principle hypothesizes a simple optimization that the brain may perform and a potential implementation based on predictive coding. From this perspective, the brain itself represents a model of its environment and offers predictions about the world through a subset of cortical connections, while responding – through learning – to novel interactions and experiences. I will provide evidence for selective alterations in these predictive and updating processes over the lifespan and examine potential adaptive and maladaptive consequences. Overall, the talk will cover how the brain could ‘do inference’ on the environment, and how scientists can ‘do inference’ on the brain.
Device Changes Your Mood with a Zap to the Head
A smartphone-connected device delivers electrical stimulation to nerves in the head.
By Kevin Bullis on November 10, 2014
The market for products that relax or energize is worth billions of dollars worldwide….Next year you should be able to buy a small device that uses electricity to change your mood at the press of a button on your smartphone. The device, from a startup called Thync, currently consists of a set of electrodes connected to a phone. It has a short-lived energizing effect that feels a little like drinking a can of Red Bull….Marom Bikson, a professor of biomedical engineering at City College of New York, recently used a prototype of Thync’s device in a 100-person study (funded by the company) that focused on its calming effects. Bikson says the study showed “with a high degree of confidence” that the device has an effect, although the results varied. “For some people—not everyone—the effect is really profound,” he says. “Within minutes, they’re feeling significantly different in a way that is as powerful as anything else I could imagine short of a narcotic.
Full Article here
Through support from the DURIP mechanism of the DoD (PO Patrick Bradshaw, PI Marom Bikson). the Neural Engineering group is excited to activate our newest and most powerful cluster: Edison. Starting with 204 cores. 2.6 TB optimized for high-throughput and massive-scale finite element modeling of transcranial electrical stimulation.
In French. Mag 6, 2014.
Watch it here