Reduced approach motivation, indexed by reduced emotional responding to pleasant stimuli, and increased cognitive elaboration of unpleasant stimuli, are increasingly considered putative risk factors for depression. A novel approach to simultaneously examine these two processes is to examine time-frequency delta and theta power while participants are exposed to emotional pictures. Indeed, delta power appears to have a functional role in monitoring the motivational relevance of affective cues and in the identification of pleasant/rewarding stimuli and is generated by subcortical regions involved in the motivational system. Whereas theta power reflects the processing of salient events and can be employed to assess cognitive processing during the viewing of affective content.
The study ‘Recovery of neural dynamics criticality in personalized whole brain models of stroke‘ published in Nature Communications, fruit of an international collaboration among physicists, neurologists, psychologists, and PNC members Samir Suweis, Marco Zorzi and Maurizio Corbetta, proposes the theory of brain criticality to explain brain-behavior relationships in neurological patients.
Criticality is a physical state at the transition between order and disorder, and previous studies had shown that healthy brains work at criticality.
This study shows that patients affected by stroke present at three months decreased levels of neural activity, decreased entropy, and decreased strength of functional connections.
To date, there is no consensus on how to semi-quantitatively assess brain amyloid PET.
Researchers used data from 85 patients who underwent dual time-point PET/MRI acquisitions. The correlations with a gold standard (SI) were computed and the methods compared with the visual assessment.
Each quantifier exhibited excellent agreement with visual assessment and strong correlation with SI (average AUC = 0.99, ρ = 0.91). Among the other methods, TDr came closest to the reference with less implementation complexity.
The ability of techniques integrating blood perfusion to depict age-related variations in amyloid load in amyloid-negative subjects demonstrates the goodness of the estimate.
What are the cognitive abilities of a newly hatched zebrafish? A research from the University of Padova found that hatchings are able to associate a visual stimulus with presence of food. Learning occurs much faster in larvae than in adult zebrafish, requiring less than 48h to establish an association.
This feature was exploited to assess the capacity of larval zebrafish to recognize objects. Larvae can easily discriminate two objects by their color or shape. They can also perceive more complex visual properties, being able to discriminate two identical objects with a different spatial orientation or an object from its mirror image.
by prof. Sonja Kotz – University of Maastricht
When: July 7th, 2022 – 3:00 pm
Where: Sala Seminari, VIMM. Recording available on Mediaspace
Abstract: It is well established that cortico-cerebellar-cortical circuitry monitors motor behavior, but recent evidence established that this circuitry similarly engages in the temporal encoding of basic and more complex (multi)sensory information. Consequently, cerebellar computations may generally apply to the temporal encoding of motor and basic and complex (multi)sensory information as (i) such information stimulates and monitors cortical information processing, and (ii) cerebellar-thalamic output might be a possible source of endogenous activity, predicting the outcome of cortical information processing and (iii) possibly providing a temporal frame for the binding of information.
by prof. Michael Halassa – MIT, Boston
When: June 23th, 2022 – 3:00 pm
Where: Sala Seminari, VIMM. Recording available on Mediaspace
Abstract: Interactions between the thalamus and cortex are critical for normal cognition. Although classical theories emphasize its role in transmitting signals to or between cortical areas, recent studies show that the thalamus modulates cortical function through additional mechanisms. In this talk, I will discuss findings that highlight the role of the mediodorsal (MD) thalamus in regulating prefrontal excitatory/inhibitory balance and effective connectivity during decision making. I will present recently published data showing that the MD thalamus dynamically adjusts prefrontal evidence integration according to incoming stimulus statistics.
by prof. Nicolas Brunel, Duke University
When: June 16th, 2022 – 3:00 pm
Where: VIMM Meeting room – Recording available on Mediaspace
Abstract: Brains have a remarkable ability to store information about the external world, on time scales that range from seconds to the lifetime of an animal. What are the mechanisms by which information is stored in the brain, and how is stored information retrieved from memory? One of the central hypothesis of neuroscience is that information is stored through synaptic plasticity – modifications of synaptic connectivity between neurons. Theoretical models have explored the impact of such synaptic plasticity mechanisms on network dynamics.
L’Associazione Fuori dall’Ombra promuove la settimana dell’epilessia per migliorare le condizioni di salute di vita della popolazione affetta dalle varie forme di epilessia, con particolare attenzione alla rimozione dei pregiudizi sociali discriminatori, al diritto allo studio e all’inserimento nel mondo del lavoro.
by prof. Marco Canossa, CIBIO, University of Trento
When: June 9th, 3:00 PM
Where: Aula 0B, Complesso di Biomedicina, Fiore di Botta, Padova
Abstract: In the cerebral cortex neurons are organized in specific layers and form connections both within the cortex and with other brain regions, thus forming a network of synaptic connections comprising distinct circuits. Plasticity is a fundamental feature of neuronal connections in the brain, where experience-dependent changes in synaptic strengths are crucial for creating learning and memory circuits (engrams). Deciphering how neurons dynamically express synaptic plasticity while ensuring the formation of memory circuits remains a key challenge. Glial cells respond to neuronal activation and release neuroactive molecules (termed “gliotransmitters”) that can affect synaptic activity and modulate plasticity.
by prof. Gian Michele Ratto, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Pisa
When: May 26th, 2022 – 3:00 pm
Where: Sala Seminari at VIMM. Recording available on Mediaspace
Abstract: Living organisms navigate through a cyclic world: activity, feeding, social interactions
are all organized along the periodic daily rhythm synchronized by external environmental cues and
brain function varies markedly through the day. An obvious contributory factor is the large change
in the level of sensory drive from day to night. Less obvious is the degree to which intrinsic
neuronal activity might vary, yet there is abundant clinical data supporting the idea that many
functional neurological and psychiatric conditions have strong diurnal patterns.