We will employ Behavioural Neurology approaches to study universal, language-specific, and disease-specific neural network architectures underlying reading/spelling, motor control of speech and handwriting, and visual processing. Prof. Rapcsak’s (UofA) knowledge and expertise lies specifically in Behavioural Neurology which does not exist as a clinical specialization in either the Czech Republic (MU) or Hungary (USZ). This will be the main transfer of knowledge to our European countries. Our work is split into 5 WPs.
WP1 Universal and language-specific neural network architectures for reading and spelling
The overarching goal of our research project is to identify similarities and differences in neural network architectures for reading and spelling in shallow (Czech and Hungarian) vs. deep (English) orthographies by exploring, for the first time, whether variations in orthographic depth have a measurable impact on patterns of regional brain activation and network connectivity during reading/spelling in normal subjects and on the behavioural profiles and lesion correlates of acquired alexia/agraphia in neurological patients.
- To conduct a cross-linguistic functional imaging study of reading and spelling in healthy English, Czech, and Hungarian speakers to determine whether orthographic depth has an influence on patterns of brain activation and network connectivity.
- To conduct a cross-linguistic study of written language processing in English, Czech, and Hungarian speakers with aphasia due to stroke or neurodegenerative disease (AD/PPA) to determine whether orthographic depth has an influence on the behavioural profiles and lesion correlates of acquired alexia/agraphia.
WP2 Motor networks for speech production
- Define cognitive mechanisms and neural substrates of speech prosody impairment in patients with different neurological disorders (stroke vs. neurodegenerative) across 3 different languages (English, Czech, Hungarian)
- Identify if non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) can be used to modulate neural networks engaged in speech prosody control and improve symptoms of hypokinetic dysarthria in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD)
WP3 Motor networks for handwriting
- Describe kinematic abnormalities produced by damage to the cortical vs. subcortical components of the handwriting motor control network
- Determine if non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) can be used to modulate neural networks engaged in handwriting control and improve symptoms of micrographia/dysgraphia in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD)
WP4 Top-down attentional regulation of visual processing and working memory
- Identify behavioural deficits in the attentional modulation of working memory (AMWM) in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD)
- Use fMRI to identify alterations in patterns of brain activation and connectivity associated with deficient AMWM in PD
- Use VBM and TBSS to identify structural changes associated with impaired AMWM and abnormal brain activation/connectivity in PD
- To ensure efficient project administration, financial and contractual management
- To monitor, evaluate and mitigate potential risks which might arise during the project course
- To actively promote and disseminate the project results and the MSCA RISE scheme by reaching out to the general public and other specific target groups