Améliorer les fonctions cognitives par la neuro-modulation basée sur l'information


Philippe Albouy

CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2019-2020

Cognitive decline represents an important health concern as it leads to a progressive loss of independence and in a degradation of quality of life. For those reasons, several studies have used non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) to enhance cognitive functions. However, the outcomes have been considerably variable and the neurophysiological mechanisms by which these methods work, or why they sometimes fail, remain largely unknown. We believe that such uncertainty is due to the non-specific nature of the NIBS interventions, as they are not based on a proper understanding of the targeted brain mechanisms. Our hypothesis is that NIBS interventions can be optimized, by using stimulation parameters that match functionally relevant brain activity.

We propose that brain oscillations, which consist in rhythmic fluctuations of brain activity, can be elected as pertinent signal targets for guiding NIBS interventions. The overarching goal of this program is thus to provide optimized NIBS solutions (based on brain oscillatory activity) to enhance cognitive functions and slow or prevent cognitive decline in population at risk. To do so, by combining neuroimaging and NIBS procedures, this program proposes to A) define oscillatory signatures of executives functions, B) develop neuromodulation protocols that match those brain rhythms to C) causally enhance cognitive functions in health and disease.

The target function is working memory, a cognitive ability that is essential for everyday life communication, or simple task realisation. Our main hypotheses are that memory functions and learning will be accelerated when combining longitudinal behavioral training and optimized brain stimulation interventions. Observing such positive outcomes would represent an important advance in the mental health, considering the known personal and economic impact of age and disease- related memory dysfunctions.