Our trainees review webinars in their given fields and share 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.
Introducing new tools for neuromodulation: Surgery-free options to improve human cognition and rehabilitate the brain
August 24, 2022
Robert Reinhart, Davide Folloni
This webinar is composed of two individuals who in some way contributed to surgery-free neuromodulation. Each participant presented their work in how it relates to the topic at hand.
Robert Reinhart’s lab at Boston University investigates brain function through electrophysiological oscillations for total brain communication. The lab seeks to influence these brain oscillations, be they synchronous (active network communication) or asynchronous (no communication) via transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Using this technique, they were able to improve working memory in aged adults with results lasting at least 50 minutes. Alternatively, they were able to reverse this effect by inhibiting working memory in younger adults with no working memory shortcomings. Similar work was performed on OCD with results lasting months.
Davide Folloni at Mount Sinai uses transcranial-focused ultrasound stimulation (TUS) to stimulate areas deep within the brain. With a 40 second treatment activity, this could be altered for hours in deep regions of the brain without affecting neighboring areas demonstrating a high accuracy of the technique. This alteration of brain activity was then demonstrated in monkeys with their decision making being altered by TUS. Finally, the lab monitored the monkey brains with fMRI while accomplishing the decision making tasks along with TUS.
The work of Reinhart and Folloni are both promising when it comes to future treatment of various cognitive maladies. The ability to quickly treat cognitive dysfunction without invasive surgery is an appealing alternative.