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P2 - Attentional control, executive functions and brain oscillations

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Research Theme

Over the last few years, we have developed an approach called « Dynamical Spectral Imaging» (DSI) which has allowed us to study, with a very high anatomical and temporal precision, the variations of spectral energy of the EEG signal induced by several cognitive functions such as perception of complex objects, generation of ocular-saccades, spatial visual attention, reading or verbal working memory. Now that we have identified key spatio-temporal elements of the individual networks underlying each of those functions, our efforts will focus on understanding how those networks interact during the exploration of complex visual scenes mixing text and pictures. Because of the unique spatio-temporal precision of intracranial EEG, DSI is to date the most promising approach to understand the interactions between anatomically well-defined functional systems. Practically, this experimental project will be based on the collaboration with each voluntary epileptic patient recorded with depth EEG electrodes at the Grenoble Hospital (Epilepsy Unit, P.Kahane). In each patient, our strategy will consist in a first step devoted to the analysis of simple functions (such as saccade generation, or single word reading) considered "in isolation" during specific tasks, with the use of DSI to reveal the dynamical networks underlying those isolated functions in this specific patient; and a second step analyzing in the same patient the interactions between several of those simple functions (such as sentence reading with saccadic exploration) and focusing on the temporal correlations between the individual networks identified in step 1. This will be achieved using simple analysis techniques (did the gamma oscillations in region A start before the gamma oscillations in region B?) or more sophisticated ones (phase- synchrony measures between simultaneous oscillatory processes, causality measures, ...). This project will provide a better understanding of the dynamical interactions between distributed neural processes necessary for the realization of complex cognitive tasks. From a clinical point of view, it will provide a better understanding of the functional role of the brain regions candidate for surgery, and reduce the occurrence of cognitive dysfunctions sometimes associated with epilepsy surgery.

Publications since 2014