Tatiana Stroganova, PhD
Professor, Head of the MEG Center
Directions of research
As the head of the Moscow Center for Neurocognitive Research (Moscow MEG Center) I supervise a series of research projects running at the Center, most of which make use of the MEG technique. The following are the major directions of research at our Center
First, we study neural bases of neurodevelopmental disorders, with focus on the disorders of the autism spectrum (ASD). Since ASD is a highly genetically heterogeneous group of disorders, the current global trend is to investigate the biological processes underlying specific brain or behavioral deficits in ASD, rather than to look for universal ‘ASD biomarkers’. Therefore, we focus on the neural underpinning of specific deficits that might be present in patients across diagnostic categories, such as e.g. alterations in basic visual and auditory processing and regulation of the balance between neural excitation and inhibition in the brain, etc.
The second emphasis of the Center is on studying the brain mechanisms of speech and language. MEG allows timing speech- and language-related process with millisecond precision. We found that the action verb processing and rough categorization start already within 100 ms after its presentation and involve not only ‘classical’ language areas, but also the motor cortex. We also found, that a need to generate a verb in response to a noun automatically re-activates the left-hemispheric noun-verb semantic networks within the first 300 ms of noun presentation, almost synchronously with retrieval of noun meaning from semantic memory. We currently work on developing the paradigms that would allow us to use this information for mapping language-related areas in pre-surgical evaluation of epileptic patients as well as for promoting novel rehabilitation techniques in patients with sensory-motor aphasia.
The third direction of our activities is the application of MEG for localization of the epileptogenic zone and functional mapping of the eloquent cortex in epilepsy patients. We perform pre-surgical clinical evaluation of the patients – candidates for epilepsy surgery, in whom the results of the routine diagnostics including video-EEG monitoring appeared inconclusive. At present we have investigated almost 130 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. MEG recordings between and during patients' seizures allowed us to localize primary sources of the epileptic activity in a proportion of such patients. The successful localization of the epileptogenic zones was supported by the results of preoperative intracranial monitoring and by long-term surgery outcome.
The fourth direction of our research is investigation of the brain mechanisms of perception and high-order cognitive processes, such as learning and decision-making. Here we combine MEG with measurement of other behavioral and physiological parameters, such as eye position monitoring and pupil size.
Our other activities include collaboration with our partners on developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) and monitoring of post-stroke recovery in aphasia patients.
The strategic aim of our Center is to disseminate knowledge about Magnetoencephalography and to introduce this method into research and clinical practice in Russia.