Measuring the electrical signature of brain activity with high temporal resolution.
Electricity is the language of the brain: neurons communicate with one another via electrical impulses that regulate neurotransmitter release at chemical synapses. The coordinated activity of large neuronal ensembles creates electric currents large enough to be measured at the scalp surface with electroencephalography (EEG). EEG is a safe and convenient way to measure brain activity for research and clinical purposes.
OHBA has a number of EEG systems that can be used alone, or alongside other methods: magnetoencephalography (MEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and eye-tracking. Combining EEG and MEG allows us to record, at rapid timescales, fluctuations in electric currents and magnetic fields that are produced by the brain. This approach is especially advantageous for localising where in the brain the signals we see are originating from. Combining EEG with TMS allows us to quantify the effects of brain stimulation with high temporal resolution. This is especially useful for monitoring the effects of cortical disruption, and probing connectivity between distinct brain areas.
At OHBA, we currently have a wide range of research studies that are taking place using EEG in combination with other methods. While some research is investigating how brain activity during sleep is affected by the consolidation of memories during sleep, others are looking at the neural markers of information retrieval from working memory. Other studies are also aiming to determine how much overlap there is between areas of the brain that control eye-movements and attention; or how our expectation of what is relevant for the task at hand affects how our brain process both relevant and irrelevant information. All of these studies are intertwined with the Analysis Group here at OHBA, who aim to assist in finding innovative ways of looking at the data that we acquire, to advance research as much as possible.