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Fronto-striatal circuits and cognitive function - a functional mri-study in human control subjects


Research objectives and content The aim of the proposed research project is to study functional subcortico-cortical activity during motor and cognitive tasks in normal subjects in order to demonstrate the existence of different segregated, parallel fronto-striatal circuits by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A special effort will made (1) to determine, within these circuits, the respective role of the cortex and the striatum in a variety of behavioral patterns which we assume to be organized by these fronto-striatal circuits; (2) to better understand the cognitive and the behavioral impairments resulting from lesions of the frontal lobe and the basal ganglia observed in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders (Frontal lobe dementias, Parkinson`s disease). Cerebral activation will be monitored in 15 healthy humans (age 18 to 45). Six tasks will continiously be presented to the subjects. This tasks will allow to test perception, motor control, working memory, visual working memory buffer, mental deduction and motivation. Finger movements will be initiated and executed on a keyboard in response to visual stimuli presented through a pair of mirror glasses connected to a LCD screen. T1-weighted fMRI sequences will be recorded using a high-field MRI scanner (3 Tesla; BRUCKER, at Orsay) which allows to increase the spatial resolution of the signal and thus to discriminate between different basal ganglia nuclei. Moreover, echo-planar sequences will be used, allowing image aquisition within 50-60 miliseconds. According to the conducted tasks activation in the visual cortex, primary motor cortex, lateral premotor cortex, the SMA, DLPFC, OFPFC, the putamen, dorsal nucleus caudatus and the ventral striatum are expected to be activated. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact) The Department of Neuropsychology at INSERM U289 has a well-known experience in the domain of fronto-striatal relationships, based on clinical and research works on patients with frontal and degenerative disorders of the basal ganglia and the prefrontal cortex. Since I am planning a scientific career in the field of cognitive neuroscience, I expect that the training obtained in France will allow me to acquire skills in fMRI and to learn how to develop cognitive paradigms. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)


Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
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75651 Paris