Neurobiological correlates of empathy in couples using a multimodal approach
Neurotherapeutics and Experimental Psychopathology (NEP) Group
This research group studies the neural correlates of clinical response to new neurotherapeutic approaches in a range of clinical conditions, such as Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Depression, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Chronic Pain, Aphasia, among others. We conduct clinical trials using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, like transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), neurofeedback, and cognitive enrichment (coupled or not with conventional interventions), to further develop the practical clinical treatments for those with psychiatric and neurological disorders. We use functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology biomarkers to study and predict treatment response.
Different projects are being conducted in this research line, for instance: 1) Increasing the effectiveness of transcranial electrical stimulation: Development of a closed loop system - (PI: Jorge Leite): In this project, we aim to use specific brain states to guide transcranial electrical stimulation, and thus improve its efficacy; 2) Reverting mild cognitive impairment using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as add-on for Cognitive Training (CT) - (PI: Jorge Leite): In this project, we aim to use specific brain markers as outcome predictors for a neural based intervention in people suffering from mild cognitive impairments (MCI); 3) Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation as add-on treatment to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy in first episode Major Depression drug-naive patients - (PI: Sandra Carvalho): In this randomized full factorial clinical trial we aim to assess the effects of combining cognitive Behavior Therapy with transcranial direct current stimulation in depressive symptoms relief in first episode drug-naive patients; 4) Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as add-on treatment to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy in patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: a phase II randomized clinical trial (PI: Sandra Carvalho): In this phase II trial, we aim to explore the effects of combining exposure and response prevention with transcranial direct current stimulation in OCD symptoms relief; and 5) The effects of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) coupled with cognitive training in patients with aphasia post stroke (PI: Sandra Carvalho): In this study we test the effects of combining an intensive and adaptive cognitive training for aphasia with tDCS. Both tDCS and the cognitive training are individually tailored for each patient and alterations in the brain are assessed using fMRI.
Team: Sandra Carvalho (PI), Óscar F. Gonçalves (PI), Jorge Leite (PI), Ana Carolina Rodrigues, Alberto Lema, Augusto Mendes, Diogo Branco, Jorge Collus
Towards a predictive model of cognitive control across lifespan
This research group aims to investigate the developmental course of brain activity correlates of selective attention and proactive interference. Despite certain commonalities in brain development and senescence, the aforementioned two aspects of cognitive control and executive functioning are among those that follow a different path at both edges of the lifespan. Therefore, the study and characterization of age-related changes in their associated brain activity (using EEG and fMRI) could add valuable information to lifespan theories of cognitive function and development. In addition, brain activity parameters related to both cognitive functions could serve as cornerstones to build a model (based on machine learning algorithms) capable of correctly infer the “developmental” age of a participant. This will ultimately help in the study and diagnosis of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. Finally, the effects of training (physical, cognitive, neuromodulatory) are assessed in this groups.
Team: Adriana Sampaio (PI) Diego Pinal Fernandez (PI), Anabela Fernandes (PI), Ana Carolina Rodrigues, Catarina Barros, Diana Pereira, Harry Moore, Rita Pereira, Vasco Ferreira
Effects of Binge Drinking in the Adolescence and Young Brain