Lab for Clinical &
The Lab for Clinical and Integrative Neuroscience is part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. Our lab has various locations throughout the Dallas area, including the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, the Center for Brain Health, and on the UT Dallas main campus. Using advanced techniques including brain scanning, electrophysiology, and both invasive and noninvasive neuromodulation, we map how the brain responds to pathological perturbations in an adaptive or maladaptive manner to maintain homeostasis. More specifically, we work to understand the mechanisms of (mal)adaptive plasticity in the brain in different neurological (pain, tinnitus, Parkinson's disease, cognitive impairment) and psychiatric diseases (addiction, OCD, depression).
Our research is based on the idea that the mechanisms of adaptive and maladaptive plasticity fall under a universal construct of hierarchically updating prediction errors in an approximately Bayesian way. This so-called Bayesian brain theory proposes that the brain maintains a predictive internal model and constantly compares it with changing environmental cues.
Whenever there is a mismatch between the two, the brain decides whether and how to adjust its model depending on the novelty or salience of the environmental stimulus. Adaptive plasticity reflects a combination of successful bottom-up compensation and top-down updating of this model. Maladaptive plasticity conversely reflects failure in one or both of these mechanisms, resulting in a constant prediction error.
The reach and extent of the research of the Lab for Clinical and Integrative Neuroscience can only be guaranteed through extensive collaboration with basic neuroscience researchers, engineers, neuroimaging experts and clinicians from non-neurosurgical and neurosurgical fields. We have active collaborations with different labs at UT Dallas as well as several external collaborations. Our external partners include UT Southwestern Medical Center, the Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Otago in New Zealand, the Department of Otolaryngology at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in South Korea, as well as various other groups in both Europe and the US.
Recent studies have adopted the Bayesian brain model to explain the generation of tinnitus in subjects with auditory deafferentation. That is, as the human brain works in a Bayesian manner to reduce environmental uncertainty, missing auditory information due to hearing loss may cause auditory phantom percepts, i.e., tinnitus. This type of deafferentation-induced auditory phantom percept should be preceded by auditory experience because the fill-in phenomenon, namely tinnitus, is based upon auditory prediction and the resultant prediction error. However, no human studies have investigated the presence and characteristics of tinnitus in subjects with congenital SSD. Thus, the present study sought to reveal differences in the generation of tinnitus between subjects with congenital SSD and those with acquired SSD to evaluate the replicability of previous animal studies. This study enrolled 20 subjects with congenital SSD and 44 subjects with acquired SSD and examined the presence and characteristics of tinnitus in the groups. None of the 20 subjects with congenital SSD perceived tinnitus on the affected side, whereas 30 of 44 subjects with acquired SSD experienced tinnitus on the affected side. Additionally, there were significant positive correlations between tinnitus characteristics and the audiometric characteristics of the SSD. In accordance with the findings of the recent animal study, tinnitus was absent in subjects with congenital SSD, but relatively frequent in subjects with acquired SSD, which suggests that the development of tinnitus should be preceded by auditory experience. In other words, subjects with profound congenital peripheral deafferentation do not develop auditory phantom percepts because no auditory predictions are available from the Bayesian brain.
Lab for Clinical & Integrative Neuroscience, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas © 2017