INDIREA NEWSLETTER
Individualised Diagnostics & Rehabilitation of Attention Disorders
Vol 1, Issue 1
www.indirea.eu
October 2014
In this newsletter

About INDIREA

INDIREA is a European Marie Curie funded training network which aims to investigate and improve diagnostics and rehabilitation of attentional disorders within neuropsychological populations such as brain injury and neuropsychological diseases.

The training network is set up across six top higher education institutions in Europe, who are hosting thirteen early stage career researchers. Through INDIREA these PhD candidates are being trained in state of the art, advanced training workshops and have the opportunity to collaborate closely within the network as well as with the associated industrial partners in order to capitalise and implement the research outcomes into practical clinical solutions.

INDIREA Partners:

New EC Collaboration

Glyn Hymphreys



 

Members of INDIREA have been involved in a new Horizon 2020 Project on the ‘preservation of neuro-cognitive functions in preclinical Alzheimer disease’, led by Hermann Müller and Kathrin Finke from Munich (other collaborators being from Copenhagen, Dublin and Oxford).  This project aims to examine patients with amyloid accumulation at a pre-clinical stage and to (i) assess whether there are particular cognitive, electrophysiological and/or other neural markers of cognitive change in these at-risk individuals, and (ii) evaluate if cognitive training can improve cognitive health in these individuals.  If funded the project should dovetail nicely with the diagnostic and intervention projects in INDIREA.  Such collaborations are exactly what we might hope to emerge out of our network. 

PhD Project Features

Each issue will feature projects from a couple of institutions; this issue will focus on Copenhagen, Munich and Oxford.

COPENHAGEN

Chiron Oderkerk and Bart Cooreman were enrolled at the University of Copenhagen as Marie Curie PhD students on 1 April 2014.  They both have projects on TVA-based analysis of ADHD. 

Supervised by Signe Vangkilde and Claus Bundesen, Chiron has begun a study of temporal expectancy and rhythmic attention in patients with ADHD and normal control subjects.  Based on the finding that valid temporal expectancy increases processing speed (Vangkilde et al., 2012, 2013), the study initially focuses on the extent to which rhythmically induced temporal expectancy increases arousal and the possible role arousal might play in modulating the processing speed of visual information.  




Supervised by Søren Kyllingsbæk and Claus Bundesen, Bart has begun a study of effects of ADHD on EEG patterns.  By adopting a TVA-based perspective (Bundesen, 1990), focussed on the attentional symptomatology of ADHD, our aim is to shed new light on the neurophysiological underpinnings of the disorder.  Starting-points of this PhD-project are two recent lines of studies in the framework of TVA: Firstly, McAvinue et al. (2012) and Finke et al. (2011) reported impairments in individuals’ visual processing speed (C) and visual short-term memory (K) parameters in, respectively, children (9-13 year old) and adults diagnosed with ADHD.  Secondly, in normal controls performing a “whole report” task, Wiegand et al. (2013) found a relationship between those C and K-parameters and, respectively, N1 and Delay Activity amplitudes (see Wiegand et al., 2014, for similar results in an elderly population).  Our aim is to continue identifying the signature of individuals’ TVA-parameters in ERPs and resting-state EEG and thereby, to explore the potential of a TVA-based neurophysiological assessment tool for ADHD.

MUNICH

Aurore Menegaux’s PhD project is concerned with the characterization of visual attention functions in both normal and pathological ageing, the aim being to identify markers predictive of dementia. Aurore will assess attentional changes in MCI patients as well as healthy young and elderly participants using TVA, and link TVA attentional sub-mechanisms to the integrity of white matter tracts and grey matter volume using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and Voxel Based Morphometry.

          

Natan Napiorkowski’s PhD project aims to assess how the development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects different aspects of visual attention specified in TVA. Natan will use behavioural tests to measure TVA attentional capacity parameters, and examine the relation between these parameters and characteristics of brain activity measured using electroencephalography (EEG). Results will be compared between healthy participants and patients with diagnosed MCI.                                                        

      
     

Adriana Lucía Ruiz Rizzo’s PhD project is examining the relation between the brain’s functional connectivity patterns and visual attention in both healthy and pathological ageing. Specifically, Adriana will investigate whether and how the brain’s large-scale intrinsic functional connectivity patterns relate to the different visual attentional impairments often described in both healthy and pathological ageing. Her project is targeted at understanding how specific components of visual attention (i.e., reflected in TVA parameters) are represented in the functional connectivity of both the healthy and the pathological ageing brain.

OXFORD

Rachel King’s DPhil project is targeted at developing and evaluating behavioural and neurophysiological interventions for disorders of attention and executive function.  To begin with, Rachel is looking to assess how optokinetic stimulation can impact on visual attention using a TVA-based approach to measure various attentional parameters.  She will then evaluate effects in patients with impairments in visual attention and assess how training effects may be enhanced by combination with direct brain stimulation.  The neural basis of other aspects of attention, such as the ability to sustain attention over time, are also being evaluated using lesion-symptom mapping in patients.

Nir Shalev is working on the development of tests of attention and executive function. Nir is interested in the relations between executive functions and visuo-spatial attention and he has developed procedures to examine the interaction between spatial coding and visuo-motor  compatibility.  He has also started work on using measures of resumption in visual search, to characterise how patients use visual information over time unconstrained by effects of response speed.

Alexander Luettich’s DPhil project is examining the dynamic allocation of attention over time, and assessing whether temporal cueing of attention interacts with visual and spatial processing of targets.  This work will use EEG/ERP and MEG to characterise temporal attention and it can subsequently be extended to evaluate the breakdown of temporal attention in various patient groups.

Edwin Dalmaijer in Masud Husain's Cognitive Neurology group is developing tools for the analysis of multi-target visual search or cancellation tasks. He has made available a new web resource: "CancellationTools”, a software developed to administer cancellation tasks and to analyse data collected using them. It has a number of useful features, like the option to scan in a pen-and-paper task and an ‘invisible’ cancellation option to test working memory. The software has a very complete automated analysis which calculates indices of cancellation performance that reflect spatial attention, search organisation, and processing speed. Additionally, the search path and heatmaps reflecting individual and group performance, are plotted. The results are summarized in a machine-readable text file, and an A4-sized PDF. Currently, a full version is available for Windows, and Edwin is working on support for Android, OS X and iOS. CancellationTools can be downloaded for free at www.cancellationtools.org.

Training

1st INDIREA Bootcamp  Attention – from neurons to cognition, from the lab to bedside, Oxford 
Alexander Luettich







In May, the first INDIREA Bootcamp took place at the University of Oxford. This meeting brought together all 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and Principal Investigators (PIs) for the first time.

The two-day meeting kicked off with a welcome from the INDIREA Network Co-ordinator, Glyn Humpreys, followed by short presentation from INDREA partner Universities.

In the afternoon Adam Gazzaley, a guest speaker from the University of California, gave a lecture on the Future of Neurotherapeutics, where he presented his latest development of a gaming-based cognitive function enhancement treatment.  Following the lecture Oxford researchers, Masud Husain, Kia Nobre, Christopher Summerfield and Gaia Scerif delivered speeches on important aspects of their work. This covered mnemonic, temporal, developmental and decision related aspects of attention.  The day concluded with a dinner at St Hugh’s college. 

On the second day, INDIREA associate partners from the British Stroke Association and P1vital, a private clinical research organisation, gave a general introduction to their field of work and INDIREA students and supervisors were able to discuss potential future collaborations. Magdalena Chechlacz and Dante Mantini then gave a presentation on lesion symptom mapping and demonstrated this using the procedures adopted at the University of Oxford. The Bootcamp finished with two final talks, the first from Nele Demeyere, which covered the current clinical tests for attentional functions, which was followed by Signe Vangkilde and Anders Petersen discussing mathematical modelling of attention.

2nd INDIREA Bootcamp. TVA and psychological testing, Copenhagen 

Bart Cooreman, Rachel King & Chiron Oderkerk

In June the INDIREA network met in Copenhagen for their second international Bootcamp.  The aim of the meeting was to learn about the Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) and how it can be applied. There was a mix of lectures and discussions which covered everything from the mathematical principles, to applied patient work. 

Claus Bundesen kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the theoretical framework of TVA, and its neural interpretation (NTVA).  Søren Kyllingsbæk focused on the various paradigms and its methodological issues, while Anders Petersen covered the methods for fitting individuals’ TVA-parameters from appropriate data.  This last talk was followed by a workshop which allowed students the opportunity take part in a TVA experiment and to apply Matlab-based TVA-models. 

On the second day, the focus shifted to the use of TVA in more applied research: Thomas Habekost laid out studies of patients with lesions.  Iris Wiegand, in turn, talked about current attempts to find neurophysiological biomarkers of TVA.  Signe Vangkilde discussed current attempts to improve neuropharmacological approaches.  Finally, Claus Bundesen allowed for questions and discussions regarding the specifics of TVA. 

Following the Bootcamp there was a TVA conference which illuminated both the scope for application and the future direction of TVA modelling.  The trip also provided opportunities for members of INDIREA to network during a series of dinners and explorations of the city.  The staff and students from the university were very welcoming, knowledgeable, and delivered a good balance between academic content, discussion, and cultural exchange.  Overall the Bootcamp proved both enjoyable and valuable for the attending INDIREA students.

“I found this workshop very beneficial. I think there was a good balance between theoretical underpinnings of the topic, and more 'hands-on' issues which arise using the technique. I think the layout of this workshop would be great for following meetings.”

School/ Internship report

Katharina Glomb, UPF 

For most people in European academia, Japan may not seem like the obvious choice for a research stay.  However, it undeniably has an appetite for young researchers from all over the world.  For starters, Riken Brain Science Institute, located to the Northwest of Tokyo, organizes a summer programme every year to give curious people the chance to work in Japan for two months.  I submitted my project proposal to Dr Andrzej Cichocki, the head of the Advanced Brain Signal Processing group.  He is an expert in the field of tensor decomposition techniques which we want to apply to resting state fMRI data.  Everything was extremely well organized and my temporary boss and colleagues were very helpful so that it was possible to get something done even in such a short time.  It was both an instructive and stimulating experience to work with researchers from all over Asia as well as the "rest" of the world and to find that, at first glance, academic culture is not all that different (except for the working hours maybe).  Additionally, it is part of the idea of the programme that interns still have time to explore Japanese culture, and I cannot even begin to describe the richness of this experience.  All I can say is - highly recommended!

FESN meeting in Berlin 

Nir Shalev


The first summer-camp of the Federation of European Societies for Neuropsychology (FESN) took place in Berlin at the beginning of September.  This meeting brought together researchers from all around Europe for four days of intensive workshops on different topics in cognitive- and clinical-neuropsychology: methods, statistical considerations, ethics and imaging.  The sessions were led by top scholars from various universities, and provided the participants with some high-end practical knowledge, along with some deep scientific discussions.  

The methodological sessions evoked the old discussion about the pros and cons of a single case analysis.  Beyond the agreements and disagreements, it was acknowledged that this remains the prominent way to undermine commonly agreed theories and that it was also important with single cases, using ad-hoc tailor-made tools which can reveal further dissociations.  From a more statistical point of view, some discussions were made about the general need to start using permutation tests instead of the commonly used Ts and Zs, especially when comparing groups of patients or a single case to a control group.  According to some of the key speakers, the only reason why we don’t learn permutation tests in our basic textbooks is the historic lack of computational power.

The imaging session was dedicated to new methods for lesion-symptom mapping, and how to apply them for various types of imaging (MRI, CT).  Then, after a hands-on workshop, the following sessions were dedicated to some of the newest approaches in image analysis such as multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) and analysis of brain networks.  In accordance with this theoretical line, the next symposium was dedicated to brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS) and how to use these methods.

The Ethics and Philosophy sessions raised some interesting discussions about the limitations of neuroscience both ethical and metaphysical aspects. The primary “take home” message was understanding that some scientific questions in neuroscience may be plausible, or even intriguing, yet when it comes to experimenting with living subjects one should question whether it’s appropriate and whether it makes any real contribution to science or humanity. 

Upcoming Training Camps

ATC 4 - Introduction to EEG and MEG

Munich, March 11-13th 2015

ATC 5 - Introduction to Neurocomputational Modelling

Barcelona, September 16-18th 2015

Website - www.indirea.eu
The INDIREA website has all the most up-to-date information relating to the project.  The website is made up of three levels, the general website which anyone can access; this has information on the institutions,  individual research projects, overview of training events and contact details.  Internal access; which all members on the Network can access. Here you will find Ethics letters, specific meeting information,  power point presentations from previous meetings and other useful documents.  There is also a Management area for supervisors. 
 
To access the internal pages you will need to log in, (lock symbol at the top right of the page), when you are logged in you will also be able to edit your own page.  If you have problems logging in, please contact Eli Fulcini.

Honours / New Appointments


OXFORD

Kia Nobre has been appointed as the 1st holder of the new  Statutory Chair in Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at Oxford  and gained Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, (Jan 2015-Dec 2021.  £1,950,000).  Glyn Humphreys and Masud Husain are collaborators on this award.  Oxford have also gained a new Wellcome Trust Health Innovation research grant which will support the development of tablet-based cognitive testing built-around the Oxford Cognitive Screen and should be directly relevant to projects within INDIREA.


COPENHAGEN

Claus Bundesen has been awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize of 2013 in Social Sciences and Humanities.  Many congratulations to Claus! Søren Kyllingsbæk and Thomas Habekost have been appointed Full Professors, Signe Vangkilde has been appointed Associate Professor of Psychology and Anders Petersen has been appointed Assistant Professor of Psychology, all at the University of Copenhagen.


MUNICH

Hermann Müller has been awarded the Wilhelm Wundt Medal 2014 of the German Psychology Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie, DGPs), for “important contributions to fundamental empirical-psychological research” and “innovative approaches and problem solutions …, that have had a significant impact on an area of psychology and have achieved national and international recognition”.  Many congratulations to Hermann.  Thomas Töllner has been awarded a ‘Junior Researcher in Residence’ award of the Center of Advanced Studies of the LMU (CAS-LMU), to be held from Oct. 2014 to Mar. 2015. Many congratulations to Thomas.

Summary of recent high profile papers - 2014

OXFORD

The frequency and severity of extinction after stroke affecting different vascular territories. Chechlacz M, Rotshtein P, Demeyere N, Bickerton WL, Humphreys GW. Neuropsychologia.  PMID: 24378715

The necessary role of the dorsal visual route in the heterarchical coding of global visual pattern: Evidence from neuropsychological fMRI. Lestou, V, Kourtzi, Z, Humphreys, KL, Lam, J & Humphreys, GW. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26,1154 - 1167

Visual short-term memory deficits associated with GBA mutation and Parkinson's disease. Zokaei N, McNeill A, Proukakis C, Beavan M, Jarman P, Korlipara P, Hughes D, Mehta A, Hu MT, Schapira AH, Husain M. Brain. PMID: 24919969 

Changing concepts of working memory. Ma WJ, Husain M, Bays P. Nature Neuroscience. PMID:24569831

Oscillatory brain state predicts variability in working memory. Myers NE, Stokes MG, Walther L, Nobre AC. J Neurosci.PMID: 24899697

Attention biases visual activity in visual short-term memory. Kuo BC, Stokes MG, Murray AM, Nobre AC. J Cogn Neurosci. PMID: 24456394

Combining spatial and temporal expectations to improve visual perception. Rohenkohl G, Gould IC, Pessoa J, Nobre AC. J Vis. PMID: 24722562

The Neural Substrates of Drawing: A Voxel-based Morphometry Analysis of Constructional, Hierarchical, and Spatial Representation Deficits. Chechlacz M, Novick A, Rotshtein P, Bickerton WL, Humphreys GW, Demeyere N. J Cogn Neurosci. PMID: 24893744

BARCELONA

Rich club organization supports a diverse set of functional network configurations. Senden M, Deco G, de Reus MA, Goebel R, van den Heuvel MP. Neuroimage. PMID: 24699017

How local excitation-inhibition ratio impacts the whole brain dynamics. Deco G, Ponce-Alvarez A, Hagmann P, Romani GL, Mantini D, Corbetta M. J Neurosci.  PMID: 24899711 

COPENHAGEN 

Components of attention modulated by temporal expectation. Sørensen TA, Vangkilde S, Bundesen C. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. PMID: 25068851

Neural correlates of age-related decline and compensation in visual attention capacity. Wiegand I, Töllner T, Dyrholm M, Müller HJ, Bundesen C, Finke K. Neurobiol Aging. PMID: 24684790 

Attentional dwell times for targets and masks. Petersen A, Kyllingsbæk S, Bundesen C.  J Vis. PMID: 24317486 

MAGDEBURG 

Stochastic accumulation by cortical columns may explain the scalar property of multistable perception. Cao R, Braun J, Mattia M. Phys Rev Lett. PMID: 25216009

DUBLIN

Transcranial direct current stimulation over right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex enhances error awareness in older age. Harty S, Robertson IH, Miniussi C, Sheehy OC, Devine CA, McCreery S, O'Connell RG. J Neurosci.  PMID: 24599463

The neural basis of impaired self-awareness after traumatic brain injury. Ham TE, Bonnelle V, Hellyer P, Jilka S, Robertson IH, Leech R, Sharp DJ. Brain.  PMID: 24371217 

MUNICH

Parameter-based assessment of disturbed and intact components of visual attention in children with developmental dyslexia. Bogon J, Finke K, Schulte-Körne G, Müller HJ, Schneider WX, Stenneken P. Dev Sci.  PMID:2457616

Distinct neural markers of TVA-based visual processing speed and short-term storage capacity parameters. Wiegand I, Töllner T, Habekost T, Dyrholm M, Müller HJ, Finke K. Cereb Cortex. PMID: 23535180
 

Neural correlates of age-related decline and compensation in visual attention capacity. Wiegand I, Töllner T, Dyrholm M, Müller HJ, Bundesen C, Finke K. Neurobiol Aging. PMID:24684790

News of recent conference papers 

OXFORD 

Nele Demeyere

Irish Heart Foundation 17th Annual Stroke conference, Dublin, April 2014 (Invited talk).

European Stroke Conference, Plenary paper:  “Cognitive screening in stroke: the Oxford cognitive screen versus Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA)”. Nice, May 2014.

Kia Nobre

Keynote at the Federation of European Neurosciences Societies (FENS) Forum, July 2014.

Keynote at the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (ESCAN) Conference, Dortmund, Germany.

MAGDEBURG

J Braun

A Theory from Stimulus Integration and Bistable Perception, ECVP 2014 conference Abstract, 2014.

COPENHAGEN 

I D Caspersen, S Vangkilde, L Kelkjær, K J Plessen, & T Habekost

Visual processing speed is reduced in children with ADHD [Abstract], Journal of Vision, 2014.

 

A Petersen, A H Petersen, S Vangkilde & T Habekost

Phasic auditory alerting modulates speed of visual processing, Presentation at the 3rd meeting of the international TVA network, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2014.

INDIREA

                         
www.indirea.eu
eleonora.fulcini@psy.ox.ac.uk

Department of Experimental Psychology,
University of Oxford,
South Parks Road,
Oxford,
OX1 3UD

+44 1865 2 71354