The NSL is a hub for innovative work in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
We aim to advance the understanding of neurobehavioral dysfunctions exisiting in clincial disorders using cross-disciplinary approaches.
Here's what we are integrating into our methods:
The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells that coordinate an individual’s actions and sensory information. The inherent nature of brain processes can be studied through the physiology and biology of neural networks; various neuroimaging techniques allow us to observe this. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans produce detailed images of brain structure while functional-MRI (fMRI) scans measure brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. We utilize this information by isolating nodal regions of interest for examining connectivity of brain networks, calculating parameters of brain activity, and navigating the brain to accurately target transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Human behavior encapsulates both potential and expressed relationships between actions, cognition, and emotions—it is how we operate and interact. Behavioral dysfunctions exist in many clinical disorders which can affect how an individual learns, feels, reacts, remembers things, etc. In our research, decision making, working memory, and delayed discounting tasks, in addition to visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaires, allow us to probe the deficits in decision-making and affective processes in individuals with substance use disorders (SUD). Applying probabilistic reinforcement learning techniques that better represent real world scenarios and choices is of great interest to us as the field moves towards more complex findings.
NON-INVASIVE BRAIN STIMULATION
A neuron (nerve cell) transmits information to other neurons by conducting an electrical impulse, known as an action potential, along it’s axon. As a brilliant biological example of an electrical conductor, neurons also experience a change in their activity under a varying magnetic field. TMS, which is Food and Drug Administration approved to treat depression, uses an electromagnet at the scalp to generate magnetic field pulses that can activate axons and fire action potentials. However, the mechanism by which TMS influences brain function is not well understood, and our research, in part, aims to better understand its inhibitory vs excitatory effect on neural activity.
The Neurobehavorial Systems Lab
465 East High Street, Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40507