INDIREA: Individualised Diagnostics and Rehabilitation for Attentional disorders EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network October 2013 – October 2017 Collaborating partners: The University of Oxford, University Pompeu Fabre Barcelona, Copenhagen University, Trinity College Dublin, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Otto Von Guericke University Magdeburg, Brain Products Ltd.
This project involves the development of a new and fully integrated approach to understanding and rehabilitating attentional disorders in patients – going from the measurement and modelling of basic brain processes through to the creation of linked, clinically applicable, neuropsychological assessments and attentional training. The assessments will be closely tied to the rehabilitation procedures, which are designed to re-instate or by-pass the impaired behaviour. The new diagnostic procedures will be developed commercially and the rehabilitation studies will provide experimental tests for larger-scale commercial clinical trials. PhD programmes linked to the novel assessments and rehabilitation procedures will give students unique breadth of knowledge and also experience in the application of the diagnostic and rehabilitation procedures to industry. The cohort of student will be exceptionally well-placed to make a ‘disruptive’ change in the evaluation and treatment of attentional disorders.
OVERALL AIM 1: to enhance the neuropsychological diagnosis of attentional disorders by linking clinical measures to detailed cognitive models and their associated neural biomarkers, and to develop the diagnostic procedures as commercial tests. This will be realised through 4 specific strategic objectives (SOs):
- SO1 - Behavioural screening of attention: to develop better behavioural measures of attention for routine and systematic neuropsychological screening. We will create novel, clinically applicable behavioural measures that are maximally inclusive, time optimised, and that link directly to rehabilitation. These clinical measures will be correlated with the parameters of attention derived from the model-based analyses (SO2).
- SO2 – Mathematical modelling of attention: to integrate the neuropsychological screening measures with state-of-the-art mathematical parameterization of attentional functions. This work will exploit the Theory of Visual Attention (TVA), developed by the applicants, to (i) characterise attention in both acquired and developmental pathologies in relation to the clinical measures developed in SO1, and (ii) provide parameters for linked neuroscientific studies (in SO4).
- SO3 – Neurocomputational modelling of attention: to link the mathematical parameterization of attention (SO2) to neural-level computational modelling to provide a framework for model-based imaging. This work will develop large-scale mean-field and spiking-level analyses of spatial attention which extend the pure mathematical approaches (SO2) by characterizing dynamic changes in neural function, but which will be constrained by parameters from the mathematical model.
- SO4 – Neural-level analyses: to create neural-level biomarkers of attentional dysfunction associated with the mathematical parameterization of performance (SO2) and tested in relation to the computational modelling research (SO3). We will link fMRI, MEG and EEG measures to the mathematical and computational models developed in SO2, and through this, to the clinical measures generated through SO1.
OVERALL AIM 2: to use advanced neuropsychological measures of attention (OVERALL AIM 1) to design and evaluate individualised rehabilitation for attentional dysfunctions - realised in SO5.
- SO5 – Individualised neurorehabilitation: to develop and evaluate emerging cognitive neuroscientific approaches to rehabilitation based on individual attentional impairments. We will examine whether recovery of function after stroke and maintenance of cognitive function in patients at risk for dementia (i.e., with mild cognitive impairment, MCI) can be facilitated through new methods - namely neuroscientific rehabilitation using cognitive training, trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), EEG biofeedback and pharmacological intervention, stratifying effects by the type of attentional problem in the individual. The rehabilitation work will be linked to the fine-grained measures of cognition and neural activity (SO1-4) to facilitate understanding of the neural mechanisms of rehabilitation, to foster translational trials for industry.
OVERALL AIM 3: to provide a new cohort of PhD students with inter-disciplinary scientific and technological skills specifically linked to generating commercial outputs (e.g., in new diagnostic tests) - realised in SO6.
- SO6 – From diagnosis to commercial application. Training in inter-disciplinary and multi-level data analysis skills will be achieved through all work programmes but will be realised into commercial developments via SO6, which is designed to create new commercial neuropsychological assessments and to give student experience of commercial applications