Webinar Review: Using EEG to Evaluate the Behavioral Effects of Benzodiazepines in Rhesus Monkeys

Over the course of the semester, our trainees are reviewing webinars in their given fields and preparing abstracts to help colleagues outside their discipline make an informed choice about watching them. As our program bridges diverse disciplines, these abstracts are beneficial for our own group in helping one another gain key knowledge in each other’s fields. We are happy to share these here for anyone else who may find them helpful.

Using EEG to Evaluate the Behavioral Effects of Benzodiazepines in Rhesus Monkeys

Lais Berro, PhD – Instructor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at University of Mississippi Medical Center

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hosted by Inside Scientific

Watch the Webinar (on the Inside Scientific website)

Jennifer WaltersAnalysis by Jennifer Walters:

This particular webinar was very informative and in-depth, and it ran at about one hour long. The PowerPoint shown during Dr. Berro’s presentation flowed nicely; it contained all the necessary information that was relevant in each slide without bombarding the viewer with a wall of text or cluttered pictographs. For anyone who is dealing with parsing out electroencephalographic (EEG) information, or any scientist who studies benzodiazepines or GABA receptors, I would certainly recommend viewing this webinar. Dr. Berro discusses breaking out spectral activity topographies by brain region and wave type, how to conduct behavioral assessments in conjunction with EEG recording, and actigraphies – types of physical monitoring using tools such as wristbands that pick up basal level activity, etc.

Dr. Berro discusses the binding mechanisms of benzodiazepiness to GABAA receptors, specifically, as well as talks about the different facets of studying these sedatives (their anxiolytic effects, signs of abuse, etc.), as well as why they use Rhesus monkeys in particular to study the drug (e.g., Rhesus monkeys have a similar GABA receptor distribution throughout the brain and sleep cycles that reflect those of humans). This could serve as potentially useful to those even outside of my personal field since there are technical aspects of using EEGs as well as data analysis that she covers throughout her talk.

The one thing that I found could use some work (or perhaps some creativity, in terms of presentation) was that it is a little disengaging when you are watching someone present on a screen, because it lacks the human element. You hear their voice – but you cannot see the person who that voice belongs to (at least, not in this case). I think perhaps a minimized screen in the bottom corner – maybe about the size of a typical thumbnail or default photo – of the actual presenter speaking in real-time would be a refreshing element to bring to the webinar.