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Modulating attentional circuitry in the anterior cingulate cortex using adaptive intracranial stimulation

Principal Investigator:
  • George Ibrahim, The Hospital for Sick Children

Project Overview

Attention is an incompletely understood, complex process that requires precise coordination of brain rhythms within the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Children with epilepsy are disproportionately affected by attention deficits. Intracranial electrodes implanted for surgical treatment of epilepsy in this population provide a unique opportunity to safely study and modulate the neural underpinnings of attention in vivo. In the current proposal, we will first study the association between brain rhythms in the ACC and behaviour during a task of shifting attention performed while intracranial electrodes are implanted within the ACC. We will characterize how these rhythms breakdown during momentary lapses in attention and develop and test a novel, algorithm that will identify disruptions in brain rhythms within the ACC in real-time. When these disruptions are detected, precisely time-locked electrical stimulation will be administered to the ACC to recover lapses in attention. This work will lead to a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of human attention and the first responsive therapy to rescue lapses in attention. These novel methodologies can be leveraged to understand numerous cognitive functions facilitated by organized coordination of brain rhythms.