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AWAKENING: Using whole-brain models perturbational approaches for predicting external stimulation to force transitions between different brain states

AWAKENING: Using whole-brain models perturbational approaches for predicting external stimulation to force transitions between different brain states

AWAKENING: Using whole-brain models perturbational approaches for predicting external stimulation to force transitions between different brain states

A fundamental problem in neuroscience is how to force a transition from one brain state to another by external driven simulation in, for example, wakefulness, sleep, coma, or neuropsychiatric diseases. This requires a quantitative and robust definition of a brain-state, which has so far proven elusive. Indeed, for example, the study of consciousness is still thought by some to be a hard problem, ultimately not amenable to scientific study. Yet, substantial progress has started to be made using perturbational approaches measuring the effects of direct stimulation to the human brain. Here, we propose to extend this research to identify the functional fingerprints of consciousness,
allowing for direct experimental perturbations to alter and potentially restore consciousness. This will be accomplished through advancing our understanding of the underlying causal mechanisms by constructing whole-brain computational models of multimodal neuroimaging data of the different states of consciousness in health and disease (awake, sleep and anesthesia) in humans and experimental animal models. The modelling of the structural and functional connectivity will be combined with novel, systematic perturbational approaches that have already provided significant new insights into the human brain's ability to integrate and segregate information over time. This approach has the potential to provide functional fingerprinting of conscious states and insights into the underlying necessary and sufficient brain networks as well as their underlying neural mechanisms. More importantly, we propose to use this highly specific new knowledge to directly alter the conscious state in relevant animal models by electrical stimulation of specific brain regions. The whole-brain modeling approach, permits the systematic study in silico of how simulated brain stimulation can force transitions between different brain states. Given the biophysical limitations of direct electrical stimulation (DES) of microcircuits, this opens exciting possibilities for discovering stimulation targets and selecting connectivity patterns that can ensure propagation of DES induced neural excitation, potentially making it possible to create awakenings from complex cases of brain injury. Furthermore, we will study also the possibility of predicting the results of TMS stimulation on humans (Stroke and Neuropsychiatric diseases). As such this research may provide new therapeutical interventions for disorders of consciousness in humans.
 
 
Dates: 1-June-2020 to 31 May 2023