Novel cognition researcher examines the brains response to visual stimuli

Scientists at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have enrolled a cohort of four patients (Panet and Mary) who have not responded to standard therapy for central nervous system tumors; found two brain-region markers (CBMS) in the frontal lobe associated with response to visual stimuli; and linked CBMS responses to patterns of gene activity.

In addition Joshua Padilla Ph. D. a UCLA professor of psychiatry and colleague of Navneet Chugh Ph. D. discovered new genetic regions associated with functional networks in the amygdala that reflect a neurobiology intertwined with the clinical brain network.

The groups findings are described in a paper in Nature Neuroscience.

What unprecedentedly happened when we examined the amygdala is that we discovered unique patterns of brain networks in patients with these tumors said Padilla the studys senior author. Essentially in their early stages of cancer when the response to the trial of the forest or the visual pattern changes their responses increase exponentially.

The researchers established profile profiles and clonal progression in individuals with human parahiembolic sarcoma glioma a highly-aggressive type of primary solid tumor of the central nervous system. The ability to look at those patterns of connectivity and disease progression was possible thanks to a recently developed neuroimaging method that San Diego scientists developed.

Researchers recruited the four patients to replicate a 2003 study by Padilla and Chugh whose findings suggested that the amygdala plays a critical role in memory formation and motivation.

In 2003 the Chugh team studied a tumor model in which for the first time the amygdala was preserved and networks representing taste smell and decision-making were transferred to demand highly at an anatomically correct link.

They were able to study individual brain networks and create a brain network tracing that traced brain regions associated with cognitive functions. Humans have many different nerve cells each of which are responsible for a specific behavior.

In 2016 the team performed an additional reconstruction called functional integration to compare participants brain networks in the same manner. This approach allowed the team to identify a novel pattern of neural networks in the amygdala and other brain regions associated with response to visual stimuli.

The UCLA researchers hope that diet lifestyle changes and medication can lower the risk of cognitive impairment in people with parahiembolic sarcoma glioma who are treated with checkpoint blockade therapy.