Our consciousness and awareness depend upon an intricate balance of activity within and between brain networks. On any given day, this neural balance is disrupted in over 20% of hospitalized older adults, resulting in delirium, an acute and dramatic disorder of attention and awareness. Despite being the most common neuropsychiatric condition in the hospital, delirium remains underrecognized, poorly understood, and does not have any FDA approved therapies.
We study the brain networks and neural rhythms that support clear thinking, with a goal of preventing and treating acute alterations in cognition. Our translational research is informed by clinical experience and inspired by our patients. Our team leads translationally relevant basic science research, acute clinical research, and provides inpatient clinical care.
We study how neuromodulators such as acetylcholine and systemic factors such as inflammation influence the function of neural networks critical for attention and awareness. Our translational work is motivated by our desire to understand the pathophysiology of delirium. Our models are rigorously validated using state-of-the-art clinical research scales and neurophysiology. Primary techniques include high-density electrophysiology, imaging of fluorescent reporters of neural activity and neuromodulators, and 3D printing of behavioral devices for longitudinal study.
We lead clinical research in patients to predict who will develop delirium and how we can prevent and treat it. Our work leverages wearable technology to measure brain activity noninvasively and continuously. We employ AI analyses to discover new biomarkers that track and predict the course of delirium.