From aiding in recovery for patients with neurologic damage to analyzing the long-term effects of brain fog from COVID-19, the Brain and Behavior Lab in the Department of Psychology is at the forefront of deepening the understanding of the brain and how it impacts behaviors.
The lab features state-of-the-art equipment, including a 72-channel electroencephalograph that measures electrical activity in the brain; functional magnetic resonance imaging that measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood oxygenation; and transcranial direct current stimulation—low, direct current delivered via electrodes on the head to help patients with brain injuries or neuropsychiatric conditions.
The UH lab is also one of the first in the country to use new technology called optically pumped magnetometry, which gives researchers a sharper image of brain activity that is critical in study of the brain.
“Understanding how the mind works, and finding better tools to measure how our minds and our brains are not performing, is critical to be able to understand them and to be able to do something about it,” said Jonas Vibell, lab director and College of Social Sciences assistant professor.
Vibell’s team of approximately 10 students (undergraduate and graduate) are working on several projects, including one that is investigating the effects of COVID-19 on the brain. Through a nearly $40,000 grant from the CSS Social Science Research Institute, Vibell’s team will investigate the brain’s neuronal latencies to figure out why those who have contracted COVID-19 have reported experiencing brain fog. The researchers are currently recruiting volunteers to be part of the study. Anyone interested can email the lab through its website.
“It’s really exciting and really feels like we’re on the forefront of science,” said Kyra Gauthier Dickey, a Brain and Behavior Lab member and UH Mānoa psychology PhD student. “Had I not been in this lab, I would have no idea that these kinds of fascinating projects are being created. To be able to work on something that has a local impact, it feels good.”
See the full story at UH News.