Cognitive Neurology

Cognitive Neurology

Our research aims to gain a better understanding of various neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to also investigate the neural basis of higher brain functions in normal subjects, as well.

Currently, we work on a number of projects targeting cognitive functions and structural markers of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, dystonia, obsessive compulsive disease and dyslexia. 

In healthy subjects we investigate the relationship between cognitive functions (e.g., memory, language, cognitive control) and processes such as sleep or ingestion of food. 

We draw on a wide variety of different methods from neurology, psychology and neuroscience including neuropsychological tests, functional and structural MRI, event-related brain potentials, transcranial magnetic resonance imaging and genetic tests.

We are involved in the different research consortia of the university’s research focus on Brain, Behavior and Metabolism, such as the DFG collaborative research centers SFB 654 Plasticity and sleep, SFB TR 134 Ingestive Behavior: Homeostasis and Reward and the new graduate program Adipocyte-Brain-Crosstalk.

Group members

Thomas F. Münte, Jörg Bahlmann, Seza Bolat, Anja Fellbrich, Marcus Heldmann, Bahram Mohammadi, Daniel Wiswede, Mushfa Yousuf

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Projects

Functional and structural markers in movement disorders

Movement disorders are the result of an imbalance in circuits between the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex. Such imbalances are targeted in a number of projects that are carried out in intensive collaboration between the Dept. of Neurology and the Institute of Clinical and Molecular Neurogenetics.

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Plasticity and sleep

Within the collaborative research center SFB 654 (Plasticity and sleep) we employ magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography to investigate consolidation processes during sleep.

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Cognitive functions of targets of deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become one of most successful treatments of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia and has also shown some promise for psychiatric conditions such as obsessive compulsive disease, depression and substance abuse as well as for pain syndromes.

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Error sensitivity in dyslexia

In this project we pursue the idea that writing errors in dyslexia is – at leat in part – maintained by an impaired sensitivity of dyslexic people towards orthographic errors. Indeed, a number of electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies carried out in this project have shown that children and adults with dyslexia have such a diminished error sensitivity, manifesting itself in an amplitude decrement of frontal negativities to errors and a decreased activity of medial frontal areas known  to be related to action monitoring.

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Neural processes subserving the regulation of food intake

We subscribe to the idea that food ingestion is not only influenced by homeostatic processes but in addition by reward-related and habit-related processes. The latter are mainly responsible for an imbalance between energy consumption and intake.

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Influence of thyroid hormones on cognitive functions and brain morphology

Thyroid hormones exert a profound influence on brain development. This project, carried out in collaboration with Prof. Georg Brabant (Dept. of Internal Medicine I)  will provide a comprehensive picture of the effects of mild hypo- and hyperthyroidism on higher cognitive function, white and grey brain matter structure, brain functional connectivity and brain perfusion, by using state of the art multimodal neuroimaging and neurocognitive testing. 

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Hierarchical organization of the lateral frontal cortex in dependency of stimulus information and motivation

The lateral frontal cortex is important for controlled behavior that requires complex and abstract thoughts. Recent findings demonstrated a rostrocaudal (anterior-posterior) gradient of function in lateral frontal cortex...

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