SIMULATIO Project

Computational simulation of the neurodegenerative mechanisms in Alzheimer's disease: decoding the alterations of the neuronal network

The overall objective of the project is to investigate and computationally simulate alterations in the neural network caused by brain injuries involved in the different stages of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) signals

This Project is funded by "Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, Agencia Estatal de Investigación" and cofunded with Structural Funds of the European Union within the thematic objective "Promote technological development, innovation and quality research"

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Coordination
Partnership - Collaborator Groups

GIB-UVa

The group responsible for this project is the Biomedical Engineering Group of the University of Valladolid (GIB). GIB is a multidisciplinary group, mainly formed by Telecommunication Engineers and Doctors of different specialties (pneumology, neurology, psychiatry, neurophysiology, and ophthalmology). Its members have a wide experience in brain signal processing to help the diagnosis of different neurological diseases.

Jesús Poza Crespojesus.poza@tel.uva.es

Hospital Río Hortega

The Río Hortega University Hospital (HURH) is a public center of the Regional Health Management of Castile and Leon. The Department of Neurology and Neurophysiology has an extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Grupo de Telemática e Imagen

Telematics and Image Group (GTI) is a multidisciplinary research group of the University of Valladolid. Its objective is to contribute and promote research in the fields of Artificial Vision, e-Health, e-Learning and Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Hokuto Hospital

Hokuto Hospital is located on the island of Hokkaidō (Japan). They have extensive research experience aimed at improving medical care. Since 2004, they use magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for clinical medicine and basic research.

VU University

The Vrije Universitetit (VU) in Amsterdam is a university characterized by a high level of academic research, which encourages free and open communication and ideas. They have a great experience in neuroscience, with pioneer scientists worldwide.

Ottawa University

The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), affiliated with the University of Ottawa, is one of Canada’s leading research institutes focused on mental health. They are strongly focused on advancing prevention and early intervention strategies to help stop mental illness before it begins.

Goethe University

Goethe University is one of the leading research universities in Germany, which operates at a leading international level in numerous research fields. His research is supported by both excellent individual projects and excellent collaborative research.

Our Goals

The fundamental objective of the project is to investigate and computationally simulate the alterations in the neural network caused by the brain lesions involved in the different stages of dementia due to AD using MEG and EEG signals.

Specific objectives

Representative sample - SO1

To obtain a representative data set, which allows us to computationally simulate the neurodegeneration mechanisms associated with the progression of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.

Comprehensive characterization of brain activity - SO2

To generate a new paradigm to build and characterize the functional neural network using MEG and EEG recordings, to reliably represent the inherent properties of functional neural networks: robustness, plasticity and dynamism.

Computational simulation - SO3

To identify the most plausible "in-silico" scenarios to simulate the neurodegeneration mechanisms associated with the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Dissemination, transfer and exploitation - SO4

To disseminate, transfer and exploit the results of research to promote, increase and improve the scientific-technical, social and economic impact of the research activity.

Internationalization of research

To achieve the ambitious goals of the project, it is essential to join forces with researchers from different disciplines and countries. Therefore, this proposal constitutes a project of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience with a clear transnational vocation (researchers from Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and Canada will participate in this project ) and highly multidisciplinary (involving engineers, neuroscientists, physicists, neurophysiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and neurosurgeons)

In particular, four foreign leading centers will actively participate in the project

  • Precision Medicine Center at Hokuto Hospital (Japan).
  • The VU University of Amsterdam (The Nederlands).
  • The Royal’s Institute of the University of Ottawa (Canada).
  • The Goethe University of Frankfurt (Germany).

Training capacity

Training plan for new researchers

The training plan for predoctoral researchers is designed to ensure the development of advanced methodological skills and the knowledge necessary to undertake cutting-edge research in advanced methods of neuronal signal processing and computational simulation of biological systems.

Previous experience - Completed PhD Thesis

During the last decade, 14 Doctoral Theses have been defended within the research group that leads the proposal (GIB), all of them related to signal and image processing. They generated a total of 122 articles in JCR journals.

Professional career of graduate PhDs

All the doctors who have developed their Doctoral Thesis at the GIB have continued their career in prestigious institutions or innovative companies, both inside and outside Spain.

Scientific-technical and training context of the team

The researchers involved in the project combine the experience of consolidated scientists and young researchers with enormous potential. The research proposal includes international specialists in Engineering, Neuroscience, Medical Physics, Neurology, Neurophysiology, Psychiatry and Neuroanatomy, who work in various institutions of international prestige.

Expected impact of the results

Scientific-technical impact

  • Application of new techniques to study and simulate the alterations that Alzheimer's disease causes in neural activity.
  • Development of a software tool to simulate the neurodegeneration mechanisms associated with the evolution of Alzheimer's disease, based on MEG and EEG recordings.
  • Investigation of potential biomarkers of the early stages of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.
  • Knowledge transfer between the various scientific fields involved in the project.
  • Training of new researchers in a promising scientific field.

Social and clinical impact

  • Reduction of the burden on caregivers and the dependence associated with dementia, thanks to the possibility of early and effective planning of therapeutic interventions.
  • Transfer of knowledge to clinical practice to objectify the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (and its early stages).
  • Employment: hiring predoctoral researchers.

Economic impact

  • Savings in human, material and economic resources dedicated to diagnosis in the National Health Systems, thanks to the introduction of new biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease in the stage of mild cognitive impairment, based on a technique widely disseminated in the clinical environment and with a reduced cost, as the EEG.
  • Direct and indirect medical cost savings, due to the early application of therapies to delay disabilities associated with Alzheimer's disease and, therefore, to reduce dependence on medical care.

Project stages

Stage 1. Organization of the database.

We will increase the sample size of the three databases that we currently have available to obtain a representative data set, which will be useful for carrying out an appropriate configuration and validation of the plausible "in-silico" scenarios and the identification of potential biomarkers of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. Currently, these databases are formed by MEG or EEG recordings, sociodemographic variables and clinical data, all acquired according to the same protocol and belonging to cognitively healthy controls of advanced age, patients with mild cognitive impairment and patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Stage 2. Construction and characterization of the functional neural network.

The brain network will be generated independently using the MEG and EEG recordings of each database. For this task, it will be essential to investigate and apply new measures of neuronal coupling, capable of accurately reflecting the dynamic behavior of the brain network. This will provide an accurate representation of the functional neural network as a dynamic graph. Different network parameters will then be calculated to obtain an accurate description of the brain network.

Stage 3. Generation and assessment of computational simulations.

"In-silico" scenarios based on brain lesions previously described in the literature will be proposed, created and evaluated. This ambitious stage can be divided into the following four sub-stages:

  • Identification of neurodegenerative mechanisms associated with the evolution of dementia.
  • Proposal of "in-silico" scenarios to simulate mechanisms of neurodegeneration .
  • Configuration, adjustment and selection of "in-silico" scenarios using MEG data.
  • Replication and generalization of the results.

Related publications


Contact us


Address

  • Jesús Poza Crespo, PhD
  • Grupo de Ingeniería Biomédica
  • Paseo Belén 15 | 47011 - Valladolid, España
  • +34 983 18 5569
  • jesus.poza@tel.uva.es