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Investigation of brain changes in neurological patients undergoing different rehabilitation treatments

Grant number: 20/16571-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Gabriela Castellano
Grantee:Bruna Mezzari Carlos
Host Institution: Instituto de Física Gleb Wataghin (IFGW). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07559-3 - BRAINN - The Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology, AP.CEPID
Associated scholarship(s):22/14788-8 - EEG biomarkers of engagement in robotic-assisted gait training, BE.EP.DR


Several technologies are being developed to assist in the quality of life and/or in the motor and/or cognitive rehabilitation of neurological patients. Among them, we can mention technologies based on Virtual Reality (VR) to assist and complement motor rehabilitation therapy in neurological patients; technologies based on the measurement of brain signals (for example, electroencephalography - EEG) and their feedback to the patient for neurofeedback training (NFBT), which supposedly has therapeutic potential for improving brain function in neurological patients and healthy volunteers; robotic technologies, such as prostheses and exoskeletons, in which the robotization aims to help the patient to refine the control of the tool, which can function as assistive technology (first case) or rehabilitation technology (second case); electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which have been shown to be effective in treating patients with motor or neurological disabilities. The aim of this project is to study the effect of using some (or all) of these technologies (compared to more traditional options), in terms of possible brain changes, using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and/or EEG. More specifically, we intend to investigate different methods of analyzing structural and functional neuroimaging data, either of neurological patients undergoing rehabilitation therapies, or of healthy individuals who are testing different therapeutic approaches. Non-invasive structural and functional brain data has become the main source of brain studies on macro scales (as opposed to the microscale, or neuronal scale). There are several approaches to analyzing these data. For structural data, there are methods based on volumetric, morphological or multi atlas analysis, among others. For functional data, there are methods such as seed-based analysis, Independent Component Analysis (ICA) and graph analysis. Each method has advantages and disadvantages and also extracts different types of information from the data. Therefore, it is important to explore these different types of analyses and investigate what they can tell us about the ongoing brain reorganization. (AU)

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