Some videos posted on social media showing people experiencing abnormal movements and walking difficulties after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may be related to functional neurological disorder—a common neuropsychiatric condition.
Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
About This Program
Despite continued scrutiny into the single-neuronal correlates of motor and cognitive behavior, remarkably little remains known about the mechanisms by which information is communicated between neurons locally or across cortical areas. Such communication is central to neuronal functioning at a systems level, yet remains among the most poorly understood topics in neuroscience.
The focus of the Neuronal Communication and Restoration Lab is to interrogate multiple-neuronal ensembles across interconnected cortical areas, and examine the manner by which communication between neurons correlates with ongoing behavior.
Probing Neuronal Communication
We are specifically targeting tasks that engage the acquisition of dynamic motor responses, and are examining the underlying neuronal processing that allow such information to be "transferred" from one area within the CNS to the other. These and similar findings may answer a number of basic questions about the process by which multi-modal information is shared between cortical areas and how concerted neuronal activity may instruct downstream areas responsible for cognitive and executive control.
Restoring Neuronal Communication
Despite intense scientific effort, there remains virtually no effective treatments for reconstituting the "line of communication" across areas damaged within the CNS. The second main aim of the lab is to develop new approaches for transforming recorded neuronal activity into signals that can be used to drive intact downstream areas within the CNS such as the spinal cord. Our group and others had previously demonstrated that ensemble neuronal activity may accurately predict movement intention, and that delivery of event-related electrical stimuli in areas responsible for motor production can reproducibly alter targeted limb movement. Our current goal is to exploit these properties in order to systematically dissociate and approximate movement production with motor intent. Such findings may offer alternate strategies leveraged to circumvent damaged areas within the CNS, and provide a unique perspective into the individual roles that motor cortical neurons and spinal efferent activity play in adaptive motor behavior.
- Ziv Williams, MD Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery, Attending Neurosurgeon
- Rollin Hu, Post-doctoral fellow
- Wenhua Zhang, Post-doctoral fellow
- Keren Haroush, Post-doctoral fellow
- Kostas Spiliopoulos, Post-doctoral fellow
- Michelle Vidal , Research fellow
- Nive Jerath, Neurology resident
- Maryam Shanechi, Graduate student
- Morgan Jamiel, Graduate student
- Rebecca Gwaltney, Undergraduate student
- Marissa Powers, Undergraduate student
- Press Release
- Apr | 2 | 2021
These gene variants could suggest new targets for drug development aimed at enhancing neuroplasticity and the stability of synapses.
- Mar | 31 | 2021
Episode #58 of the Charged podcast
- Press Release
- Mar | 30 | 2021
A new study led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center indicates that some hospitalized patients with COVID-19 experience nonconvulsive seizures, which may put them at a higher risk of dying.
- Mar | 26 | 2021
In this Q&A with Teresa Gomez-Isla, MD, Director of the Memory Disorders Unit (MDU) at Mass General, Dr. Gomez-Isla shares services and treatments available to patients with memory disorders and their families, as well as some tips for protecting and enhancing your memory today.
- Press Release
- Mar | 19 | 2021
Researchers have used a genetic engineering strategy to dramatically reduce levels of tau—a key protein that accumulates and becomes tangled in the brain during the development of Alzheimer’s disease—in an animal model of the condition.