Our group investigates disturbances of structural and functional brain networks within the collaborative research group 936 (SFB 936, Multi-Site Communication in the Brain, project C2). In collaboration with project C1 from the SFB, we collected and curated the UKE stroke database, a longitudinal study of patients with first symptomatic stoke and upper extremity motor deficit, including a comprehensive clinical characterization and tailored state-of-the-art MRI examinations.
We examined the structural impact of a focal ischemic lesion within a network of interconnected sensorimotor brain areas using reconstruction of white matter tracts (DTI) and analysis of cortical thickness. Dynamics of structural alterations of grey and white matter within the sensorimotor network were related to clinical outcome. Findings of our study are integrated into a complex model of recovery from stroke with results from functional imaging and EEG analysis together with other projects in SFB 936.
In the current funding period, we investigate fundamental questions concerning the organization and structural determinants of a neuronal network involved in decision making. We study stroke patients and patients with cerebral small vessel disease, providing models for focal and distributed brain lesions, by algorithmic modeling of behavior, structural MRI, EEG, and catecholaminergic pharmacologic intervention. By this, we aim at a better understanding of the structural underpinnings and organization of the cortical decision network in the healthy brain, and of cognitive impairments in patients with vascular brain lesions.