AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd.

Nicosia, Cyprus

AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd.

Nicosia, Cyprus

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: HCO-06-2015 | Award Amount: 2.98M | Year: 2015

Smoking is the largest avoidable cause of preventable morbidity worldwide. It causes most of the cases of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and contributes to the development of other lung diseases. The control of smoking is considered as a highly important intervention for the prevention of lung diseases. Tobacco consumption is highly influenced by socioeconomic factors. SmokeFreeBrain aims to address the effectiveness of a multi-level variety of interventions aiming at smoking cessation in high risk target groups within High Middle Income Countries (HMIC) such as unemployed young adults, COPD and asthma patients, as well as within the general population in Low Middle Income Countries (LMIC). The project addresses existing approaches aiming to prevent lung diseases caused by tobacco while at the same time it develops new treatments and analyzes their contextual adaptability to the local and global health care system. SmokeFreeBrain follows an interdisciplinary approach exploiting consortiums expertise in various relevant fields in order to generate new knowledge. State of the art techniques in toxicology, pulmonary medicine, neuroscience and behavior will be utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of: (i) Public Service Announcement (PSA) against smoking, (ii) the use of electronic cigarettes with and without nicotine as a harm reduction approach and/or cessation aid, (iii) a specifically developed neurofeedback intervention protocol against smoking addiction, (iv) a specifically developed intervention protocol based on behavioral therapy, social media/mobile apps and short text messages (sms) and (v) pharmacologic interventions. The main objective of the project is to evaluate the interventions in terms of health economics, by studying their cost-effectiveness, and proposing a scalable plan and a clear pathway to embedding the proposed interventions into policy and practice both in LMIC as well as in HMIC.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.5.1 | Award Amount: 4.30M | Year: 2011

Epilepsy, the propensity for recurrent, unprovoked epileptic seizures, is the most common serious neurological disorder, affecting over 50 million people worldwide. Epileptic seizures manifest with a wide variety of motor, cognitive, affective, and autonomic symptoms and signs and associated changes in the electrical activities of the brain (EEG), heart (ECG), muscles (EMG), skin (GSR), as well as changes in other important measurable biological parameters, such as respiration and blood pressure. Their recognition and full understanding is the basis for their optimal management and treatment, but presently is unsatisfactory in many respects. Epileptic seizures occur unpredictably and typically outside hospital and are often misdiagnosed as other episodic disturbances such as syncope, psychogenic and sleep disorders, with which they may co-exist, blurring the clinical presentation; on the other hand, costs of hospital evaluation are substantial, frequently without the desirable results, due to suboptimal monitoring capabilities. \nReliable diagnosis requires state of the art monitoring and communication technologies providing real-time, accurate and continuous brain and body multi-parametric data measurements, suited to the patients medical condition and normal environment and facing issues of patient and data security, integrity and privacy. \nIn this project we will manage and analyse a large number of already acquired and new multimodal and advanced technology data from brain and body activities of epileptic patients and controls (MEG, multichannel EEG, video, ECG, GSR, EMG, etc) aiming to design ARMOR, a more holistic, personalized, medically efficient and economical monitoring system.\nNew methods and tools will be developed for multimodal data pre-processing and fusion of information from various sources. Novel approaches for large scale analysis (both real-time and offline) of multi-parametric streaming and archived data will be introduced to discover patterns and associations between external indicators and mental states, detect correlations among parallel observations, and identify vital signs changing significantly. Moreover methods for automatically summarizing results and efficiently managing medical data will be developed. ARMOR will incorporate models derived from data analysis based on already existing communication platform solutions emphasising on security and ethical issues and performing required adaptations to meet specifications. Special effort will be devoted in areas such as data anonymization and provision of required service.\nARMOR will provide flexible monitoring optimized for each patient and will be tested in several case studies and evaluated as a wide use ambulatory monitoring tool for seizures efficient diagnosis and management including possibilities for detecting premonitory signs and feedback to the patient.

Styliadis C.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Kartsidis P.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Paraskevopoulos E.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Bamidis P.D.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Neural Plasticity | Year: 2015

The present study investigates whether a combined cognitive and physical training may induce changes in the cortical activity as measured via electroencephalogram (EEG) and whether this change may index a deceleration of pathological processes of brain aging. Seventy seniors meeting the clinical criteria of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were equally divided into 5 groups: 3 experimental groups engaged in eight-week cognitive and/or physical training and 2 control groups: active and passive. A 5-minute long resting state EEG was measured before and after the intervention. Cortical EEG sources were modelled by exact low resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA). Cognitive function was assessed before and after intervention using a battery of neuropsychological tests including the minimental state examination (MMSE). A significant training effect was identified only after the combined training scheme: a decrease in the post- compared to pre-training activity of precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex in delta, theta, and beta bands. This effect was correlated to improvements in cognitive capacity as evaluated by MMSE scores. Our results indicate that combined physical and cognitive training shows indices of a positive neuroplastic effect in MCI patients and that EEG may serve as a potential index of gains versus cognitive declines and neurodegeneration. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT02313935. © 2015 Charis Styliadis et al.

Styliadis C.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Bamidis P.D.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Papadelis C.,Harvard University
NeuroImage | Year: 2015

The cerebellum participates in emotion-related neural circuits formed by different cortical and subcortical areas, which sub-serve arousal and valence. Recent neuroimaging studies have shown a functional specificity of cerebellar lobules in the processing of emotional stimuli. However, little is known about the temporal component of this process. The goal of the current study is to assess the spatiotemporal profile of neural responses within the cerebellum during the processing of arousal and valence. We hypothesized that the excitation and timing of distinct cerebellar lobules is influenced by the emotional content of the stimuli. By using magnetoencephalography, we recorded magnetic fields from twelve healthy human individuals while passively viewing affective pictures rated along arousal and valence. By using a beamformer, we localized gamma-band activity in the cerebellum across time and we related the foci of activity to the anatomical organization of the cerebellum. Successive cerebellar activations were observed within distinct lobules starting ~. 160. ms after the stimuli onset. Arousal was processed within both vermal (VI and VIIIa) and hemispheric (left Crus II) lobules. Valence (left VI) and its interaction (left V and left Crus I) with arousal were processed only within hemispheric lobules. Arousal processing was identified first at early latencies (160. ms) and was long-lived (until 980. ms). In contrast, the processing of valence and its interaction to arousal was short lived at later stages (420-530. ms and 570-640. ms respectively). Our findings provide for the first time evidence that distinct cerebellar lobules process arousal, valence, and their interaction in a parallel yet temporally hierarchical manner determined by the emotional content of the stimuli. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Styliadis C.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Bamidis P.D.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Papadelis C.,Harvard University
International Journal of Psychophysiology | Year: 2014

It is widely accepted that the amygdala plays a crucial role in the processing of emotions. The precise nature of its involvement is however unclear. We hypothesized that ambivalent findings from neuroimaging studies that report amygdala's activity in emotions, are due to distinct functional specificity of amygdala's sub-divisions and specifically to differential reactivity to arousal and valence. The goal of the present study is to characterize the amygdala response to affective stimuli by disentangling the contributions of arousal and valence. Our hypothesis was prompted by recent reports claiming anatomical sub-divisions of amygdala based on cytoarchitecture and the functional maps obtained from diverse behavioral, emotional, and physiological stimulation. We measured magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings from 12 healthy individuals passively exposed to affective stimuli from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) collection using a 2 (Valence levels). ×. 2 (Arousal levels) design. Source power was estimated using a beamformer technique with the activations referring to the amygdala sub-divisions defined through probabilistic cytoarchitectonic maps. Right laterobasal amygdala activity was found to mediate negative valence (elicited by unpleasant stimuli) while left centromedial activity was characterized by an interaction of valence by arousal (arousing pleasant stimuli). We did not find a main effect for amygdala activations in any of its sub-divisions for arousal modulation. To the best of our knowledge, our findings from non-invasive MEG data indicate for the first time, a distinct functional specificity of amygdala anatomical sub-divisions in the emotional processing. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Liu L.,RIKEN | Liu L.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Ioannides A.A.,RIKEN | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

It is now apparent that the visual system reacts to stimuli very fast, with many brain areas activated within 100 ms. It is, however, unclear how much detail is extracted about stimulus properties in the early stages of visual processing. Here, using magnetoencephalography we show that the visual system separates different facial expressions of emotion well within 100 ms after image onset, and that this separation is processed differently depending on where in the visual field the stimulus is presented. Seven right-handed males participated in a face affect recognition experiment in which they viewed happy, fearful and neutral faces. Blocks of images were shown either at the center or in one of the four quadrants of the visual field. For centrally presented faces, the emotions were separated fast, first in the right superior temporal sulcus (STS; 35-48 ms), followed by the right amygdala (57-64 ms) and medial pre-frontal cortex (83-96 ms). For faces presented in the periphery, the emotions were separated first in the ipsilateral amygdala and contralateral STS. We conclude that amygdala and STS likely play a different role in early visual processing, recruiting distinct neural networks for action: the amygdala alerts sub-cortical centers for appropriate autonomic system response for fight or flight decisions, while the STS facilitates more cognitive appraisal of situations and links appropriate cortical sites together. It is then likely that different problems may arise when either network fails to initiate or function properly. © 2010 Liu, Ioannides.

Plomp G.,RIKEN | Plomp G.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Van Leeuwen C.,RIKEN | Ioannides A.A.,RIKEN | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2010

We studied the spatiotemporal characteristics of cortical activity in early visual areas and the fusiform gyri (FG) by means of magnetoencephalography (MEG). Subjects performed a visual classification task, in which letters and visually similar pseudoletters were presented in different surrounds and under different task demands. The stimuli appeared in a cued half of the visual field (VF). We observed prestimulus effects on amplitudes in V1 and Cuneus relating to VF and task demands, suggesting a combination of active anticipation and specialized routing of activity in visual processing. Amplitudes in the right FG between 150 and 350 ms after stimulus onset reflected task demands, while those in the left FG between 300 and 400 ms showed selectivity for graphemes. The contrasting stimulus-evoked effects in the right and left FG show that the former area is sensitive to task demands irrespective of stimulus content, whereas the left FG is sensitive to stimulus content irrespectively of task demand. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Liu L.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Poghosyan V.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Saridis G.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | And 5 more authors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Cross-modal activity in visual cortex of blind subjects has been reported during performance of variety of non-visual tasks. A key unanswered question is through which pathways non visual inputs are funneled to the visual cortex. Here we used tomographic analysis of single trial magnetoencephalography (MEG) data recorded from one congenitally blind and two sighted subjects after stimulation of the left and right median nerves at three intensities: below sensory threshold, above sensory threshold and above motor threshold; the last sufficient to produce thumb twitching. We identified reproducible brain responses in the primary somatosensory (S1) and motor (M1) cortices at around 20 ms post-stimulus, which were very similar in sighted and blind subjects. Time-frequency analysis revealed strong 45 to 70 Hz activity at latencies of 20 to 50 ms in S1 and M1, and posterior parietal cortex Brodmann areas (BA) 7 and 40, which compared to lower frequencies, were substantially more pronounced in the blind than the sighted subjects. Critically, at frequencies from α-band up to 100 Hz we found clear, strong and widespread responses in the visual cortex of the blind subject, which increased with the intensity of the somatosensory stimuli. Time-delayed mutual information (MI) revealed that in blind subject the stimulus information is funneled from the early somatosensory to visual cortex through posterior parietal BA 7 and 40, projecting first to visual areas V5 and V3, and eventually V1. The flow of information through this pathway occured in stages characterized by convergence of activations into specific cortical regions. In sighted subjects, no linked activity was found that led from the somatosensory to the visual cortex through any of the studied brain regions. These results provide the first evidence from MEG that in blind subjects, tactile information is routed from primary somatosensory to occipital cortex via the posterior parietal cortex. © 2013 Ioannides, Liu, Poghosyan, Saridis, Gjedde, Ptito and Kupers.

Drozdz S.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Drozdz S.,University of Rzeszow | Kwapiena J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd.
Acta Physica Polonica B | Year: 2011

Complex systems are typically represented by large ensembles of observations. Correlation matrices provide an efficient formal framework to extract information from such multivariate ensembles and identify in a quantifiable way patterns of activity that are reproducible with statistically significant frequency compared to a reference chance probability, usually provided by random matrices as fundamental reference. The character of the problem and especially the symmetries involved must guide the choice of random matrices to be used for the definition of a baseline reference. For standard correlation matrices this is the Wishart ensemble of symmetric random matrices. The real world complexity however often shows asymmetric information flows and therefore more general correlation matrices are required to adequately capture the asymmetry. Here we first summarize the relevant theoretical concepts. We then present some examples of human brain activity where asymmetric time-lagged correlations are evident and hence highlight the need for further theoretical developments.

Ioannides A.A.,AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. | Sargsyan A.,Orbeli Institute of Physiology
IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine | Year: 2012

Ecologically relevant stimuli are rarely used in scientific studies because they are difficult to control. Instead, researchers employ simple stimuli with sharp boundaries (in space and time). Here, we explore how the rhythmogram can be used to provide much needed rigorous control of natural continuous stimuli like music and speech. The analysis correlates important features in the time course of stimuli with corresponding features in brain activations elicited by the same stimuli. Correlating the identified regularities of the stimulus time course with the features extracted from the activations of each voxel of a tomographic analysis of brain activity provides a powerful view of how different brain regions are influenced by the stimulus at different times and over different (user-selected) timescales. The application of the analysis to tomographic solutions extracted from magnetoencephalographic data recorded while subjects listen to music reveals a surprising and aesthetically pleasing aspect of brain function: an area believed to be specialized for visual processing is recruited to analyze the music after the acoustic signal is transformed to a feature map. The methodology is ideal for exploring processing of complex stimuli, e.g., linguistic structure and meaning and how it fails, for example, in developmental dyslexia. © 2012 IEEE.

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