Emery Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
Physician Investigator (Cl)
Anes. Research - Monthly, Mass General Research Institute
Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia
Harvard Medical School
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
|MD Harvard Medical School 1987|
|PhD Harvard University 1988|
Neural Signal Processing Algorithms
Recent technological and experimental advances in the capabilities to record signals from neural systems have led to an unprecedented increase in the types and volume of data collected in neuroscience experiments and hence, in the need for appropriate techniques to analyze them. Therefore, using combinations of likelihood, Bayesian, state-space, time-series and point process approaches, a primary focus of the research in my laboratory is the development of statistical methods and signal-processing algorithms for neuroscience data analysis.
We have used our methods to characterize:
- How hippocampal neurons represent spatial information in their ensemble firing patterns
- Analyze formation of spatial receptive fields in the hippocampus during learning of novel environments
- Relate changes in hippocampal neural activity to changes in performance during procedural learning
- Improve signal extraction from fMR imaging time-series
- Construct algorithms for neural prosthetic control the spiking properties of neurons in primary motor cortex
- Localize dynamically sources of neural activity in the brain from EEG and MEG recordings made during cognitive, motor and somatosensory tasks
- Measure the period of the circadian pacemaker (human biological clock) and its sensitivity to light
- Characterize the dynamics of human heart beats in physiological and pathological states
- Track brain states under general anesthesia
Understanding General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is a neurophysiological state in which a patient is rendered unconscious, insensitive to pain, amnestic, and immobile, while being maintained physiologically stable.
General anesthesia has been administered in the US for more than 165 years and currently more than 60,000 people receive general anesthesia daily in this country for surgery alone. Still, the mechanism by which an anesthetic drug induces general anesthesia remains a medical mystery.
We use a systems neuroscience approach to study how the state of general anesthesia is induced and maintained. To do so, we are using fMRI, EEG, neurophysiological recordings, microdialysis methods and mathematical modeling in interdisciplinary collaborations with investigators in HST, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston University.
The long-term goal of this research is to establish a neurophysiological definition of anesthesia, safer, site-specific anesthetic drugs and to develop better neurophysiologically-based methods for measuring depth of anesthesia.