UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF NEUROLOGY

Neuropsychology

Head

Dr. Tino Zähle, Dipl.-Psych.

Chief Physician

Senior Physician Dr. med. Claudius Bartels

Staff

Verena Bittner, Dipl.-Psych.
Kati Schwiecker, Dipl.-Psych.
Julia Fischer, Dipl.-Psych.
Ivonne Gerth, Dipl.-Psych.

Kai Heimrath, M. Sc.
Caroline Wagenbreth, Dipl.-Psych.
Maria Kühne, B.Sc.
Marina Fine, B.Sc.

Collaborating Investigators

Prof. C. Nico Boehler, Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University
Prof. Nico Bunzeck, University of Lübeck
Prof. Christoph Herrmann, Department of Psychology, University of Oldenburg
Marc Guitart-Masip, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
Prof. Martin Meyer, Neuropsychology, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Prof. Toemme Noesselt, Department of Psychology, University of Magdeburg
Dr. Kerstin Krauel, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg
Prof. Thomas Münte, Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck

Overview

The neuropsychology section specializes in the diagnosis of the consequences of acquired brain injuries, including deficits in memory, attention, visual perception, and the planning and organization of actions. These deficits often occur after brain damage due to stroke, injuries, tumors, and inflammatory and other neurological diseases. They also occur in the cases of progressive diseases like dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

Clinical Responsibilities
We diagnose patients who exhibit cognitive deficits either as inpatients or during special office hours, such as memory or Parkinson’s disease consultations. We focus on the differential diagnosis of dementias, the classification of mild cognitive impairments and depression, and monitor the severity and progression of these conditions. An additional focus is the pre- and post-surgical neuropsychological testing of patients who are being treated with deep brain stimulation.

The Services of the Neuropsychology Section at a Glance:

  • Differential diagnosis of the dementias
  • Preparation of expert neuropsychological evaluations for insurance carriers, courts and insurance compensation
  • Neuropsychological diagnoses and therapy planning
  • Identification of therapy requirements
  • Expert evaluations and diagnoses regarding limitations for the warranty of fitness to drive a car
  • Professional neuropsychological training (we are an accredited institution for advanced training in clinical neuropsychology)

Research

The neuropsychology section investigates neurophysiological processes using noninvasive methods (e.g., transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS], transcranial alternating current stimulation [tACS]) and invasive methods (deep brain stimulation [DBS]). We also participate in several research projects conducted by the university clinic as well as multicenter pharmaceutical studies.

In the DFG-funded project (SFB-779) “Valence, Exploration and Action Selection: Role of the STN,” we investigate the consequences of using high frequency deep brain stimulation to inactivate the subthalamic nucleus (STN). In particular, we are investigating how this deactivation effects the manner in which actions are selected as a function of outcome valence, and the attendant impact on the flexibility of instrumental behavior. The research is motivated both by current neurobiological models and preliminary studies we have conducted which suggest that the STN is critically involved in action selection and the coding of the value of rewards. This would make the STN potentially important for controlling the flexibility of instrumental behaviors by regulating interactions between dopaminergic midbrain structures and the striatum.

In the DFG-funded project (SFB-TRR31) “Neural mechanisms of top-down modulation of auditory brain activity in humans,” we use transcranial electric stimulation (tDCS and tACS) to investigate how auditory temporal resolution is related to underlying neural oscillations. This project explores the possibility that electrical stimulation can be used to generate improvements in perceptual processes.

Because tDCS can affect the excitability of the cortex with consequent modifications of cognition and perception, it could potentially serve as a tool for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders. In an additional project we aim to directly modulate auditory cognition by means of TES. Specifically we are investigating the effects of tDCS over the human auditory cortex on auditory working memory and audio-visual integration.

Further current research is concerned with the systematic investigation of cognitive deficits in chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the evaluation of the effect of cognitive and motor training programs in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Publications

Zaehle T, Becke A, Naue N, Machts J, Abdulla S, Petri S, Kollewe K, Dengler R, Heinze HJ, Vielhaber S & Müller NG (2013) Working memory in ALS patients: preserved performance but marked changes in underlying neuronal networks. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71973.

Zaehle T, Bauch EM, Hinrichs H, Schmitt FC, Voges J, Heinze HJ & Bunzeck N (2013) Nucleus accumbens activity dissociates different forms of salience: evidence from human intracranial recordings. J Neuroscience; 33(20): 8764-71.

Bartels, C. (2012) Demenz bei degenerativen Systemerkrankungen. In : Wallesch, C.W., Förstl, H. (Hrsg.): Demenzen. 2. aktualisierte und überarbeitete Auflage, Stuttgart-New York: Thieme: pp. 246-260.

Beyer F, Münte TF, Fischer J, Krämer UM. (2012) Neural aftereffects of errors in a stop-signal task. Neuropsychologia.; ;50(14):3304-12

Liem F, Zaehle T, Burkhard A, Jäncke L & Meyer M (2012) Cortical thickness of supratemporal plane predicts auditory N1 amplitude. Neuroreport.; 23(17): 1026-30.

Neuling T, Wagner S, Wolters CH, Zaehle T and Herrmann CS (2012) Finite-element model predicts current density distribution for clinical applications of tDCS and tACS. Front Psychiatry.;3:83.

Staudigl T, Zaehle T, Voges J, Hanslmayr S, Esslinger C, Hinrichs H, Schmitt FC, Heinze HJ, & Richardson-Klavehn A (2012) Memory signals from the thalamus: Early thalamocortical phase synchronization entrains gamma oscillations during long-term memory retrieval. Neuropsychologia; 50(14):3519-27.

Heimrath K, Sandmann P, Becke A, Müller NG, Zaehle T. (2012) Behavioral and electrophysiological effects of transcranial direct current stimulation of the parietal cortex in a visuo-spatial working memory task. Front Psychiatry.;3:56.

Zaehle T, Beretta M, Jäncke L, Herrmann CS & Sandmann P. (2011) Excitability changes induced in the human auditory cortex by transcranial direct current stimulation: direct electrophysiological evidence.Exp Brain Res.215(2):135-40.

Naue N, Rach S, Strüber D, Huster RJ, Zaehle T, Körner  &, Herrmann CS. (2011) Auditory event-related response in visual cortex modulates subsequent visual responses in humans. J Neurosci. 31(21):7729-36.

Zaehle, T., Sandmann, P., Thorne, J., Jäncke L., & Herrmann, CS. (2011) Trancranial direct current stimulation of the prefrontal cortex modulates working memory performance - combined behavioural and electrophysiological evidences. BMC Neurosci.,12:2.

Zaehle, T. & Herrmann, CS. (2011) Synchrony and White Matter Variations in the Human Brain - Relation between evoked Gamma Frequency and Corpus Callosum Morphology. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 79(1):49-54

Zaehle, T., Rach, S. & Herrmann, CS. (2010). Transcranial alternating current stimulation enhances individual alpha activity in human EEG. PLoS One., 5(11):e13766

Zaehle, T., Lenz, D., Ohl, FW. & Herrmann, CS. (2010). Resonance phenomena in the human auditory cortex: Individual resonance frequencies of the cerebral cortex determine electrophysiological responses Exp. Brain Res., 203(3):629-35

Zaehle, T., Fründ I., Schadow, J., Thärig, S., Schoenfeld, MA. & Herrmann, CS. (2009). Inter- and intra-individual covariations of hemodynamic and oscillatory gamma responses in the human cortex. Front Hum. Neurosci. 3: 8

Zaehle, T., Jancke, L., Herrmann, CS. & Meyer, M. (2009). Pre-attentive Spectro-temporal Feature Processing in the Human Auditory System. Brain Topography, 22(2):97-108

Zaehle, T., Geiser, E., Alter, K., Jancke, L., & Meyer, M. (2008). Segmental processing in the human auditory dorsal stream. Brain Research, 1220: 179-90

Geiser, E., Zaehle, T., Jancke, L., & Meyer, M. (2008). The Neural Correlate of Speech Rhythm as Evidenced by Metrical Speech Processing: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(3): 541-52..

Schmidt, C. F.*, Zaehle, T.*, Meyer, M., Geiser, E., Boesiger, P. & Jancke, L. (2008) (* shared first authorship). Silent and continuous fMRI scanning differentially modulate activation in an auditory language comprehension task. Human Brain Mapping, 29(1):46-56

Bonath B, Noesselt T, Martinez A, Mishra J, Schwiecker K, Heinze HJ, Hillyard SA. (2007) Neural basis of the ventriloquist illusion. Curr Biol. 17(19):1697-703.

Zaehle, T., Jancke, L., & Meyer, M. (2007). Electrical brain imaging evidences left auditory cortex involvement in speech and non-speech discrimination based on temporal features. Behav.Brain.Funct, 3(1): 63

Zaehle, T., Clapp, W.C., Hamm, J.P., Meyer, M. & Kirk, I.J. (2007) Induction of LTP-like changes in human auditory cortex by rapid auditory stimulation: An FMRI study. Restor Neurol Neurosci, 25: 251-259.

Zaehle, T., Schmidt, C. F., Meyer, M., Baumann, S., Baltes, C., Boesiger, P. & Jancke, L. (2007). Comparison of "silent" clustered and sparse temporal fMRI acquisitions in tonal and speech perception tasks. Neuroimage, 37(4): 1195-1204.

Zaehle, T., Jordan, K., Wustenberg, T.,  Baudewig, J., Dechet, P. & Mast, F.W. (2007). The Neural Basis of the Egocentric and Allocentric Spatial Frame of Reference. Brain Research, 1137(2): 92-103.

Clapp,W.C., Zaehle,T., Lutz,K., Marcar,V.L., Kirk,I.J., Hamm,J.P., Teyler,T.J., Corballis,M.C., and Jancke,L. (2005).Effects of long-term potentiation in the human visual cortex: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroreport, 16(18): 1977-1980.

Meyer, M., Zaehle, T., Gountouna, V.-E., Barron, A., Jancke, L., and Turk, A. (2005) Spectral-temporal processing during speech perception involves left posterior auditory cortex. Neuroreport, 16(18): 1985-1989.

Zaehle, T., Wüstenberg, T., Meyer, M. and Jancke, L. (2004). Evidence for rapid auditory perception as the foundation of speech processing - a sparse temporal sampling fMRI study. European Journal of Neuroscience, 20(9): 2447-2456.

Gaab, N., Gaser, C., Zaehle, T., Jancke, L., & Schlaug, G. (2003). Functional anatomy of pitch memory-an fMRI study with sparse temporal sampling. Neuroimage, 19(4): 1417-1426.

 

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