Brain connectivity and cognitive dysfunction
Disentangling the role of neural connectivity in complex higher order information processing in Klinefelter syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The impact of impaired complex information processing on the ability to adaptively engage in social interactions has called for a search into the underlying genetic and neural dysfunctions as a means of understanding the etiology of disorders in social adaptive functioning. Recent discoveries suggest that the degree of connectivity within neural networks gives rise to complex cognitive abilities, which are needed for adequate social behaviour.
This project is aimed at disentangling the role of neural connectivity, both in function and morphology, in complex higher order information processing and the consequences for social adaptive functioning. In order to do this, we will study three disorders (Autism, Klinefelter and Neurofibromatosis Type 1) that are known for atypical maturation of the brain and high risk for complex information processing deficits. Therefore, we expect them to have different structural and functional brain patterns.
By using fMRI we might gain insight in which brain areas work together during periods of rest and while cognitive demands are imposed, and how these connectivity measures are related to social adaptive functioning. Also, we aim to identify putative morphological connectivity deficits, i.e., concerning white matter integrity that may help explain individual differences in functional connectivity and neural synchrony.
Marcia Brandenburg (in Dutch).