Cognitive NeuroLab is a cognitive neuroscience research laboratory focuses in the study of the neural substrate of human cognitive processing. In this framework, and always using non.invasive brain stimulation techniques, the lab has different research lines included in two main categories: Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroscience.
This research line is focused in the functional dissociation of the dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in human superior cognitive processes.
In cognitive control, two main neural systems with differentiated functions are involved: a dorsal system, which includes the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and a ventral system, which includes the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.
This line of research aims to deepen the dissociation of these two systems through the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in order to characterize the neural bases of three processes linked to cognitive control:
- Emotional interference on working memory
- Risk decision making
- The theory of the mind
CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY AND APPLIED NEUROSCIENCE
Research in Clinical Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroscience is focused on the study of the neural mechanisms underlying different pathologies that present an abnormal or altered brain functioning, as well as the use of NIBS as a therapeutic approach to improve, stimulate and rehabilitate cognitive functions in neurodegenerative disease (mainly Alzheimer’s disease) and in acquired brain injury (traumatic brain injury and stroke).
The Cognitive NeuroLab is currently conducted four projects within this research line:
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation intervention in Alzheimer’s disease: A double blind randomized controlled trial has been designed to assess the effects of 2-week TMS intervention (iTBS protocolo) in short, medium and long term. Stimulation will be delivered over the DLPFC and the PC in both hemispheres being the specific target areas for stimulation determined individually based on the individual functional connectivity of each area with two subcortical regions related to AD cognitive dysfunction: the fornix and the hippocampus respectively. The aim is to quantify improvements in cognitive, functional, and emotional deficits in Alzheimer patients, as well as the functional connectivity changes induced by the TMS treatment. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT03121066 and the protocol is prospectively published.
- Stimulation and rehabilitation of cognitive, emotional and behavioral deficits in acquired brain injury: Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques have great potential as a new approach for the improvement of cognitive, emotional and behavioral deficits in patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. We explored the therapeutic application of both transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in this regard with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of patients.
- Use of non-invasive brain stimulation to improve the control of intake in patients with obesity: Focused on the application of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), as a tool for the modulation of altered neurocognitive patterns in patients with obesity. The main objective is to promote self-control, increase satiety and reduce intake, thus improving dietary adherence with the consequent weight loss and maintenance of this loss in the medium and long term.
- Reduction of tobacco addiction through non-invasive brain stimulation techniques: Tobacco addiction is often characterized by dysfunctional cognitive control, an uncontrolled reward impulse and an altered decision-making process. The objective here is to verify the ability of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to modify altered neurocognitive patterns in tobacco addiction. The final goal is to design a treatment aimed at increasing self-control in habitual tobacco users, reducing anxiety caused by abstinence and giving up nicotine consumption.