Nav: Home

Wayne State awarded $1.9M NIH grant to identify memory networks in children

July 12, 2016

DETROIT - Noa Ofen, Ph.D., a Wayne State University researcher in lifespan cognitive neuroscience, received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health to study the development of memory networks in children. Researchers will investigate brain activity predictive of memory formation in children who undergo surgery as part of clinical management of medically uncontrolled epilepsy.

"Little is known about how memory systems develop in the human brain," Ofen said. "In this project, we will use a combination of unique neuroimaging methodologies that allow us to add new insights about the neural basis of memory development. We also hope this project will be a first step toward clinical applications that can ultimately improve the quality of life of children with focal epilepsy."

Commonly used noninvasive neuroimaging methods -- such as functional MRI (fMRI) or EEG -- cannot simultaneously measure the spatial and temporal dimensions of the neural correlates of memory at high resolution. In this project, the researchers will use intracranial EEG recordings -- also referred to as electrocorticography (ECoG) -- from electrodes implanted directly on the surface of the brain of pediatric patients undergoing pre-surgical brain mapping as part of clinical management of epilepsy. ECoG provides excellent spatial and temporal resolution, making it a powerful tool for examining the neural basis of human memory. The researchers will capture the temporal dynamics of information flow in the brain that are predictive of whether studied information or experiences will be remembered.

Ofen will use ECoG to map memory networks in patients and collect additional fMRI data from a subset of these patients and a large sample of matched healthy children to determine age differences in activation and patterns of functional connectivity between key regions in the memory network. "Our overarching goal is to identify the spatial and temporal dynamics of memory networks in the developing human brain," Ofen said. She also hopes to lay the foundation to extend mapping of the brain's "eloquent tissue" in children to include pre-surgical brain mapping of memory networks to reduce the post-surgery memory decline that can occur after surgical removal of the seizure focus. This memory decline is directly linked to health-related decreased quality of life in later years.

Ofen is jointly appointed to Wayne State's Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Gerontology's Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience Program that -- together with research laboratories at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development -- apply a cognitive neuroscience approach to study developmental effects from pre-birth to old age.

The project is in collaboration with Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member Eishi Asano, M.D., a member of the Epilepsy Surgery Program at Children's Hospital of Michigan; Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D.; Robert Rothermel, Ph.D.; and Harry Chugani, M.D. (now at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware). Robert Knight, M.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, is also an integral member of this project.

The award number for this National Institutes of Mental Health grant is MH107512.
-end-
The Institute of Gerontology researches aging, educates students in gerontology, and presents programs on aging issues relevant to professionals, caregivers and older adults in the community. The Institute is part of the Division of Research at Wayne State University, one of the nation's preeminent public research institutions in an urban setting. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.

Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

Related Mental Health Articles:

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Mental health harms related to very frequent social media use in girls might be due to exposure to cyberbullying, loss of sleep or reduced physical activity
Very frequent use of social media may compromise teenage girls' mental health by increasing exposure to bullying and reducing sleep and physical exercise, according to an observational study of almost 10,000 adolescents aged 13-16 years studied over three years in England between 2013-2015, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
Can Facebook improve your mental health?
Contrary to popular belief, using social media and the internet regularly could improve mental health among adults and help fend off serious psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety, finds a new Michigan State University study.
A gut feeling for mental health
The first population-level study on the link between gut bacteria and mental health identifies specific gut bacteria linked to depression and provides evidence that a wide range of gut bacteria can produce neuroactive compounds.
Mental health care increasing most among those with less distress
A new study shows that more Americans are getting outpatient mental health care and the rate of serious psychological distress is decreasing.
On-again, off-again relationships might be toxic for mental health
A researcher from the University of Missouri says that the pattern of breaking up and getting back together can impact an individual's mental health and not for the better.
More Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...