The Department of Cognitive Neuroscience (INM-3) uses behavioral, pharmacological and neuromodulatory methods to elucidate pathomechanisms of neurological and neuropsychological deficits, with the aim to develop innovative diagnostic and therapeutic strategies/procedures.
Using functional imaging (PET and MRI), both systemic (neural networks) and molecular (neurotransmission) approaches utilizing mathematical models (such as dynamic causal modelling) are combined, in order to arrive at a holistic understanding of the development of normal functions in the healthy brain (across the entire life span) as well as the diseased brain of neurological and psychiatric patients.
These aims are pursued in tight collaboration with the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne (stroke-induced deficits and neurorehabilitation, memory disorders in normal aging and dementias), the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Cologne (disorders of social cognition in autism and schizophrenia) and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen (disorders of attention and empathy in ADHD).
The study group spatial cognition studies the different aspects of spatial Information processing in the human brain. Here fundamental research as well application-orientated clinical research is the centre of our interest.
One Target of our study group is the to get a clearer view in the mechanism of visual and spatial Information processing in the human brain and to transfer that knowledge applicable orientated in clinical issues. One centre of interest is the so-called neglect syndrome, which is mostly associated with right hemisphere brain lesions.
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All cognitive processes are expressed by actions. In turn, complex actions draw upon cognitive functions. Motor cognitive disorders, like apraxia, strongly impair the outcome of stroke patients. Therefore, the Motor Cognition group investigates the neural mechanisms and concepts (e.g., body schema ) underlying complex action by structural (statistical lesion mapping) and functional (network connectivity) imaging in healthy volunteers and neurological patients. Furthermore, non-invasive neuromodulatory techniques (e.g., TMS, tDCS) are used to develop new strategies for the therapy of motor cognitive disorders.In the following two exemplary projects are presented:
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Rehabilitation of cognitive impairments
A brain lesion as a consequence of either illness or accident can cause permanent dysfunctions in the brain. In our society stroke is the most frequent cause of a permanent disability.
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The aim of our research group is to construct mathematical models of the neuronal network dynamics underlying motor actions in healthy humans and stroke patients, using recordings of individual brain activity (EEG and fMRI).
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The focus of the study group is the research field of social cognition, which assembles all cognitive processes, which are relevant for the interaction and communication between human beings.
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Memory Clinic Köln Jülich
The Memory Clinic Köln Jülich (JMC) aims to establish a close cooperation between clinical medicine and research in the field of aging and dementia. The initial consultation and assessment of cognitive complaints takes place at the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Cologne. In cooperation with the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM) at Jülich Research Centre, modern brain imaging tools such as PET-MRI are in use.
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