Professor Jean-Marc Lina
Delving into the mysteries of the brainThursday, October 18, 2018
Electricity and magnetism can be major sources of information concerning how the brain functions, and by extension, concerning serious and poorly understood conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and sleep disorders. The work done by Jean-Marc Lina represents a significant advance in the use and interpretation of electrical signals in the brain and the resulting biomedical applications.
Jean-Marc Lina is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department and an expert in brain imaging. He uses a variety of algorithmic signal and information processing methods to observe brain activity and better understand its function or dysfunction.
The two main sources of information are electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The former involves the use of electrodes placed on the subject’s scalp order to detect electrical signals generated by brain activity, whereas the latter allows for the magnetic fields produced by the electrical activity of the billions of neurons in the brain to be measured. Jean-Marc Lina combines the data collected via EEG and MEG to create a detailed map of brain function.
Better understanding of and treatment for epilepsy
Epilepsy can be controlled with the use of medication. However, for so-called “pharmicoresistant” patients, surgery may be the only solution. Electromagnetic neuroimaging (MEG-EEG) allows for the regions of the brain that are linked to the patient’s epilepsy and likely to be subject to surgical removal to be identified. By using intracranial signals, the Researcher and his colleagues have even managed to develop predictive models for epileptic seizures.
The eye is the window to the brain
The eye is a natural protrusion that gives easy access to the brain, acting as a veritable window that allows for the collection of valuable information concerning the health of the patient’s neural system. One way of obtaining this information is to analyze electrical activity on the cornea, which ophthalmological clinicians already do in order to diagnose certain types of retinopathy. Professor Lina would like to analyze this signal more effectively in order to be able to provide doctors with a more powerful tool for their various diagnostic and therapeutic protocols.
Sleep: Neglected and indispensable
We are quick to postpone sleep in favour of other aspects of our lives that we see as higher priorities. Like most experts in sleep, Jean-Marc Lina believes that this is a mistake. Nocturnal rest is crucial to our health. For instance, we know that one of the many benefits of sleep is that it promotes the elimination of beta-amyloids, toxic brain proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s. We also know that sleep consolidates memories, which facilitates learning and cognitive activity. His research in this domain consists of describing the functional networks that sustain brain activity during sleep and how those networks change throughout a person’s life span.