One of the most fundamental questions for the humanity is: ‘How does electrical activity of the brain generate our mind, thoughts and memories?’ How is it possible that impulses of electricity causing our brain waves can lead to thinking about events that are distant in space and time like my childhood, birth or even the beginning of the universe? How dramatic would it be to lose this ability to a brain disorder and, together with it, lose the very source of our identity.
Our goal is to study the brain activities underlying our thoughts and memories, within a new interdisciplinary group of neuroscientists, biomedical engineers and physicians. Using the latest technologies for electrical recording and stimulation of the brain waves developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, our group aims to discover WHAT memory is, WHERE is it localized in the brain, and HOW can we effectively treat it in brain disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and others.
There are many ways to measure brain activity but the electrodes applied directly in the brain offer the clearest and most reliable data. We need to have the most accurate data possible to study the mechanisms of memory and how they can be improved. To do this we ask our patients to perform computer tasks for remembering words and other stimuli presented on the screen. During performance of the tasks we measure electrical activity of the brain and use it to localize memory encoding in specific brain regions. This information is then used to decide how to best improve electrical activity and memory by sending small impulses to the brain through selected electrodes.
We test the effect of this stimulation by looking for any improvements in task performance and in the brain activity. Our research takes advantage many innovative technologies to help us with this difficult task, including intelligent computer programs, next generation of hybrid electrode designs or systems and devices for brain-computer interfaces.
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology
Laboratory of Neuroinformatics & Neurophysiology of Mind
Foundation for Polish Science
National Science Center
National Center for Academic Exchange
Medicton Group Ltd.