Devarajan is currently an associate professor at the Center Neuroscience and associate faculty in Computer Science and Automation at IISc. His team showed that participants with asymmetrical wiring between the midbrain and cortical hemispheres also showed marked asymmetry in the way they noticed.
Devarajan, recipient of a Swarnajayanti scholarship granted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for 2021, said the human brain is capable of paying attention to important objects and places in our world while Ignore irrelevant things.
Although attention has been studied behaviorally for decades, little is known about how attention works in the brain. The unexplored territories include identifying brain regions that allow us to maintain attention on specific objects, regions of the brain that block out information, the researchers said. related and disrupted brain processes due to attention disorders.
The team, says DST, is using a combination of advanced, non-invasive technologies – including functional and Diffuse magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI/dMRI), Electroencephalogram (Electroencephalogram), and Transmagnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS/TES) – to record and shuffle human brain activity in a targeted way.
In her recent work, Devarajan has identified how specific brain regions – both in the neocortex (the outermost layer of the brain) as well as in the deeper midbrain – contribute to attention. In another recent study, says DST, the team showed that cluttered activity in a specific region in the neocortex (parietal cortex) can affect participants’ ability to pay attention.
To analyze and simulate how attention works in the brain, they also developed detailed mathematical and computational models (deep learning) of the neocortex and midbrain. This research has been published in various prestigious journals, including PLoS Computational Biology.
“Although these studies from our group and others have suggested a role for certain brain regions in attention, very few have experimentally established these links directly. As part of the Swarnajayanti Fellowship, our lab will seek to understand the “causal” mechanisms of attention in the brain. Devarajan said.
The team first tracked changes in structure, activity, and connectivity between specific brain regions (“neural plasticity”) as participants were learning to pay attention, DST added. that measuring neuronal changes in the brain could have key implications for testing the effectiveness of interventions to manage attention disorders, both in children and adults.
“Second, they will develop brain-machine interface technologies that can be used to train participants to voluntarily control activity in brain regions involved in attention (“neurofeedback”). “). They will then try to find out if such neurofeedback control improves the participants’ ability to pay attention. This type of interface could be developed into a non-invasive tool for training attention in healthy individuals, as well as in patients with attention disorders,” said DST.
They then perturb and image brain activity in real time, with millisecond precision (“neurostimulation”), to determine the role specific brain regions play in brain development. attention. The technology can be adapted in a clinical setting to target brain regions associated with attention disorders, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Devarajan added: “Overall, the research results from this proposal will improve our basic understanding of the key principles by which attention works in the human brain and could pave the way for the development of other brains. Rational strategies for the management and treatment of attention disorders.
All experiments will be performed at the state-of-the-art JN Tata National MRI facility at IISc, which houses a 3T MRI scanner (Siemens Prisma) with integrated MR-EEG and MR-TMS setups.