BRAMS – CRBLM Lecture Series: Researcher Lecture by Dr. Philippe Albouy
Enhancing executive functions through information-based neuromodulation
Abstract: Executive functions, such as working memory, are essential cognitive processes for our everyday life activities. When such functions are disrupted due to age-related or pathology-related cognitive decline, life becomes increasingly difficult and isolating. For those reasons, a large amount of studies have used non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) to enhance those functions in healthy individuals and neurological populations. However, the outcomes have been considerably variable and the neurophysiological mechanisms by which these methods work, or why they sometimes fail, remain largely unknown. We believe that such uncertainty is due to the non-specific nature of the NIBS interventions, as they are not based on a proper understanding of the targeted brain mechanisms. I will present our recent studies showing that NIBS interventions can be optimized/personalized, by using stimulation parameters that match functionally relevant brain activity (information-based NIBS). I will show that brain oscillations, which consist in rhythmic fluctuations of brain activity, can be elected as pertinent signal targets for NIBS interventions. Furthermore, I will propose that the combination of information-based NIBS and longitudinal behavioral intervention (such as cognitive training) might be an ideal procedure to enhance cognitive functions.
Short bio: Dr. Philippe Albouy is an Assistant Professor in the psychology department of Laval University, a regular researcher at CERVO Brain Research Centre (Quebec City) and a FRQ-S Junior 1 Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2013 from Lyon 1 University (France) where he used multimodal neuroimaging approaches (MEG, fMRI, EEG, iEEG) to study the brain dynamics related to auditory perception and working memory in humans. In 2014, he joined the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University, first as a Fyssen, then as a Banting postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Robert Zatorre’s and Prof. Sylvain Baillet’s groups. His work focuses on the identification of the causal links between the dynamics of neural activity and human cognitive functions. In his research he combines multimodal neuroimaging data and information-based neuromodulation methods (i.e., online TMS/visual stimulation configured to match specific ongoing spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity) with the aim of causally enhancing cognitive abilities in health and disease. His overarching interests are in the translational impact of such optimized neuromodulation approaches as personalized therapeutic tools and preventive solutions for pathology-associated neurocognitive deficits.