Feinstein Institute awarded more than $1 million for human brain study

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Feinstein Instutute associate professor Dr. Ashesh Mehta will lead a research study titled “Neurophysiology of Auditory Emotion Recognition in the Human Brain.” (Photo courtesy of the Feinsten Institute)

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research announced today it has been awarded more than $1 million from the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative, whose mission is to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain.

The NIH BRAIN initiative aims to develop and apply cutting-edge technologies to create a dynamic picture of the brain in action, providing the critical knowledge base for researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure and even prevent brain disorders.

The Feinstein Institute will allot institute funds to support three research projects: a three-year, $650,000 grant will be used towards a study entitled, “Dynamic Neural Mechanisms of Audiovisual Speech Perception” and a five-year, $250,000 grant will endow a study called, “Revising the Application of Transcranial Electric Stimulation to Optimize Spatial Focality Dosing and Cell Circuit Targeting.”

The Institute was also awarded $250,000 by the National Institute of Mental Health and named as the primary site for a research study entitled, “Neurophysiology of Auditory Emotion Recognition in the Human Brain.”

Dr. Ashesh Mehta, Feinstein Institute associate professor, director of the Laboratory of Human Brain Mapping and Northwell Health’s director of epilepsy surgery, will lead the research projects at two locations – the Feinstein Institute and at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute.

In the research study,“Dynamic Neural Mechanisms of Audiovisual Speech Perception,” Dr. Mehta and his team will investigate how fluctuations in brain activity called oscillations play a key role in processing speech information.

“We theorize that these oscillations allow brain areas to communicate with one another, fill in missing information and result in understanding spoken words,” Mehta said. “Understanding how this process occurs will directly improve our ability to understand and treat diverse neurological disorders of speech and language processing, such as deafness, learning disability, dyslexia, stroke, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia and others.”

In the NIMH research study,“Neurophysiology of Auditory Emotion Recognition in the Human Brain,” Mehta and his team will analyze how the brain codes the emotional content of speech and how stimulating specific brain areas can potentially improve mood.

The study,“Revising the Application of Transcranial Electric Stimulation to Optimize Spatial Focality Dosing and Cell Circuit Targeting,” will aim to define the neural mechanisms of intrinsic resting functional magnetic resonance imaging signals.

“These signals reliably map brain architecture in both healthy and pathological conditions in high detail,” Mehta said. “Our findings will have widespread implications for neurological and mental health, particularly in biomarker discovery and understanding how they are rooted in brain connections.”

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