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4 December 2018

A little monkey that helps to better understand the aging of humans

Human life expectancy is gradually increasing while healthy life expectancy tends to stagnate. Aging is accompanied by a multitude of impairments of brain functions such as attention, memory and all the executive functions that guarantee the person’s cognitive autonomy. Among the struggles against degenerative diseases, those against Alzheimer’s disease are becoming a real social challenge, particularly through early detection of its pre-symptomatic manifestations. With this in mind, the development of preclinical animal models on which therapeutic strategies can be developed is becoming a crucial objective of research on ageing. The team led by P. Girard at CerCo

was able to highlight that a small South American monkey, the marmosets (or white tailed marmosets), is an extremely relevant model of non-human primate for studying brain aging. Indeed, this small monkey has the advantage of having a short lifespan of about ten years, thus constituting an accelerated model of human ageing and providing a time scale adapted to laboratory studies. While the marmosets have become a model of choice for the study of perceptual or motor functions, to date no French team has addressed the cognitive abilities of this primate and its alterations over the course of a lifetime and none in the world has determined the key periods of its cognitive decline. The work of Amirouche Sadoun and Pascal Girard has consisted in testing the abilities of monkeys of different ages in several tasks that are affected in humans in the event of pathological cognitive aging. The monkeys, tested without capture or constraint in their social group, were confronted with tests of shape memorization and short-term spatial working memory. The researchers were able to demonstrate very marked deficits in elderly monkeys and, above all, they were able to show, in a manner similar to that observed in humans, the presence of individuals who, although not yet considered to be aging, have abnormal deficits, signs of pathological aging. These results, recently published in a leading journal in the field, highlight the marmoset model in the study of brain aging and open up promising investigative horizons in which all preclinical research tools can be used, from molecular imaging for the development of prognostic markers to therapeutic trials. http://www4.cnrs-dir.fr/insb/recherche/parutions/articles2018/p-girard.html

26 November 2018

A MODEL EXPLAINS HOW THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF DEPTH PERCEPTION DEPENDS ON OUR ENVIRONMENT.

is our sensory perception innate or acquired ? In order to better understand how the neural mechanisms underlying our visual perception, and in particular depth perception, are established from birth, a team of researchers from the Cerco laboratory (Tushar Chauhan, Timothée Masquelier, Alexandre Montlibert and Benoit Cottereau) has used computer models based on artificial neural networks. These models are able to learn without any supervision the recurring properties within the visual scenes from a very simple computational law proposed more than fifty years ago! Within the neural network, the synapses associated with the most frequent visual properties are gradually strengthened while those associated with rarer or non-existent properties are weakened.

The results of this study, to be published in the journal Journal of Neuroscience, showed that when the model is trained with natural stereoscopic images, the neurons of the artificial network automatically become selective to binocular disparity, a property underlying stereoscopic perception. The structure of these neurons is also very similar to that of neurons recorded in living organisms, unlike what has been observed from more complex computer models without biological basis. This original approach also made it possible to show how known and present biases in our environment can influence our treatment but also our perception of the visual scene.

In general, this study provides a better understanding of how our sensory and particularly visual selectivity evolves as a function of post-natal experience. It could help to better understand and potentially prevent certain developmental pathologies such as amblyopia. http://www4.cnrs-dir.fr/insb/recherche/parutions/articles2018/b-cottereau.html This has been reported in the "Lettre d’info des institut du CNRS".

29 May 2018

Déjà-rêvé: Prior dreams induced by direct electrical brain stimulation

Epileptic patients sometimes report experiential phenomena related to a previous dream they had during seizures or electrical brain stimulation (EBS). This has been alluded to in the literature as “déjà-rêvé” (“already dreamed”). However, there is no neuroscientific evidence to support its existence and this concept is commonly mixed up with déjà-vu. We hypothesized that déjà-rêvé would be a specific entity, i.e., different from other experiential phenomena reported in epileptic patients, induced by EBS of specific brain areas..

This study demonstrates that deja-reve is a heterogeneous entity that is different from dejavu, the historical “dreamy state” definition and other experiential phenomena. This may be relevant for clinical practice as it points to temporal lobe dysfunction and could be valuable for studying the neural substrates of dreams.

1 March 2018

Brain week 2018

Brain week 2018 will take place from March 12 to 18,2018. This edition is under the patronage of Mrs. Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. As every year, CERCO researchers and doctoral students (UMR 5549 CNRS/UT3) will meet the general public and schoolchildren to share their knowledge. From Monday, March 12 at 6pm " See your brain dance on the breath " in Saint Pierre des Cuisines, then go to the ABC at 8:30pm to watch Jordan Peele’s film " Get out " and discuss with neuroscientists about optical illusions or new sportmen...

9 February 2018

Women in Coffee Science: appointment on February 13,2018

edition 2017/18 of the Cafés Femmes en sciences at the Quai des Savoirs, which started in October 2017, proposes a third meeting on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at 6pm with Nabila Jabrane-Ferrat of the Centre de physiopathologie de Toulouse Purpan (CNRS, Inserm, UT3 - Paul Sabatier) and Céline Cappe of the Centre de recherche cerveau et cognition (CNRS, UT They are specialists in so-called "natural killers" cells and multi-sensory information processing respectively. These two scientists will talk about their careers, their daily work and their current research in a relaxed and open atmosphere. This coffee will be introduced by a quiz to test your knowledge of gender equality in a fun way.

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To be noted

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Brain Week 2018

Brain Week 2018 will take place from March 12 to 18. Program.

Conférences et séminaires

Conférence CerCo
Alexis Makin
University of Liverpool
jeudi 24 janvier 2019 14h
Salle de conférence (Pavillon Baudot), Hôpital Purpan
Ten claims about the extrastriate symmetry network

Conférence CerCo
Vincent Soler
Centre de la Rétine, CHU Purpan
jeudi 14 février 2019 14
Salle de conférence (Pavillon Baudot), Hôpital Purpan
Réhabilitation visuelle dans les pathologies rétiniennes

InCOGnu

L’association InCOGnu organise régulièrement des soirées débats et ateliers autour des Sciences Cognitives. More...