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Lab awarded $1.7 million from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to understand

"By measuring the activity through the depth of the cerebral cortex and underlying thalamus, an area which is highly connected to the cortex and often injured around the time of birth, the research team will provide insight into the circuit changes that may underlie human fetal cortical development and inform future studies of brain injury in infants.

“We know from looking at EEGs of infants born pre-term that brain activity takes a big step forward before the time of birth,” Colonnese explained. “This leap in the continuity of brain activity, is probably crucial for consciousness and our ability to sense everything around us at birth. We think the thalamus may play a big role in that maturation, and when it is injured, that can be catastrophic for the infant.”

Through their studies, Colonnese and his team aim to define the role of the thalamus in developing a normal functioning cortex, as well as the role of inhibition mediated by the thalamic reticular nucleus — a connected region that forms a capsule around the thalamus — in developing thalamocortical activity. An important part of the project will determine the effect of a long-term lesion of the thalamus on the EEG. The team will be able to figure out whether cortical activity can recover from such an injury.

“This project will expand our current knowledge of developing thalamocortical circuit activity to better inform clinical decisions, based on EEG,” Colonnese said."

Press Release HERE

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