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Computation, Dysfunction, and the Brain

Computation, Dysfunction, and the Brain

Thursday July 23; 9 am-5 pm
ROOM: RB 213
Agenda

More and more, studies are emphasizing circuitry and network function in the brain. Investigations are focused on the changes of the functional and anatomical features in a healthy brain as compared to dysfunctional brain states; thus, studies of the healthy brain fuel insights into brain dysfunction, whilst observations of dysfunctional brain states give clues to normal brain function.

Knowledge garnered from both domains has given insight into the possible processes or mechanisms underlying a range of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. Theories of changes in neuronal coordination dynamics are adapted to improve therapeutic strategies. Observations of the outcomes from these applications in turn provide data about the neurophysiological and computational strategies employed by the brain. One new and exciting arena is the field of brain stimulation. Results from various investigations determine targets and parameters, while analyses of their outcomes elucidate circuitry, causality and network interactions.

For example, direct electrophysiological recordings from deep brain stimulation therapy in the human brain provide information of thalamic dynamics during severe pathology, and also how they change when responding to therapy. Meanwhile, modeling studies are used to define critical windows for therapeutic intervention in psychiatry to ensure optimal – and sometimes life-saving – results.

This workshop explores computation in both the healthy and dysfunctional brain to uncover what each state might reveal about the other. Findings from theoretical, experimental, and clinical studies will be interwoven to give a more complete understanding of the function and dysfunction of brain circuitry.

The main topics that we will discuss are:

  1. What are the changes in normal information processing that lead to the aberrations which define disease states such as observed in various neurological disorders?
  2. How can we apply those theories to improve therapeutics?
  3. What strategies can we use to optimize the yield from the neurobiological data from empirical and clinical studies to elucidate our understanding of normal v. abnormal function?

 

Organizers: Rowshanak Hashemiyoon, Christoph Michel