ANATOMICAL SUBSTRATES OF COMPLEX BEHAVIOR

  • Eslinger, Paul (PI)
  • DAMASIO, ANTONIO (PI)
  • Rizzo, Matthew (PI)
  • TRANEL, DANIEL (PI)
  • DAMASIO, HANNA (PI)
  • VAN HOESEN, GARY (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

The primary goal is to elucidate further the relation between (a) brain
structure, conceptualized as network systems of neural units, and (b)
cognitive processes traditionally studied in the disciplines of behavioral
neurology, neuropsychology, cognitive science, and linguistics. The
cognitive domain under scrutiny encompasses vision, memory, language and
executive control. The principal subjects for the study are human beings
who have sustained focal brain damage as a result of neurological disease
or surgical ablation, although in one of the projects non-human primates
are utilized in anatomical investigations. In addition, in three of the
projects, regions of interest in brains of patients with Alzheimer's
disease will also be studied anatomically. The approach encompasses (a)
experimental neuropsychological, psychophysical, psychophysiological, and
related assessment techniques, (b) human neuroanatomical techniques,
including neuroimaging methods such as computerized tomography (CT) and
magnetic resonance (MR), as well as the study of post-mortem cerebral
tissue, and (c) neuroanatomical tracing techniques in experimental
animals. The distinct aspects of the methodology relate (1) to an
experimental, basic science attitude towards clinical material, and (2) to
a strong interaction between basic and applied neuroanatomy, and between
anatomical and cognitive data.

The detailed understanding of the organization of the neural systems that
subtend vision, language, memory and executive control is a desirable
goal. Firstly, it provides crucial constraints in the evolving research
models of mind and brain relationships. Secondly, it contributes to
clinical neurology, by providing new knowledge pertinent to cerebrovascular
disease, Alzheimer's disease, and related conditions; such knowledge is
important for the improvement of diagnosis and for the development of new
remediation strategies in patients with acquired cognitive impairments (it
is especially important regarding Alzheimer's, because the anatomical
elucidation we have been developing can provide clues to potential
mechanisms of the disease). Finally, the project is meant to bring human
neuroanatomy closer to non-human primate neuroanatomy and to promote the
integration of data derived from neuropsychological and neurological
studies in the body of neurophysiology and neuropathology.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/866/30/87

Funding

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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