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Greg Berns: Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs

March 23 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Speaker: Greg Berns, MD, PhD, Emory University

Description: The domestic dog’s accessibility, social intelligence, and evolutionary history with humans has led to increasing interest in canine cognition. The demonstration that dogs can be trained to cooperatively participate in fMRI studies – without anesthesia – has opened up a wealth of new data about canine brain function.

Canine fMRI experiments can be divided into passive and active tasks. Passive tasks focus on mapping different perceptual systems of the canine brain and include responses to simple and complex visual stimuli (e.g. colored shapes vs. faces), auditory stimuli (sounds, voices), and olfactory stimuli (simple volatiles, biological odors). Passive tasks do not require the dog to do anything except remain motionless. In contrast, active tasks involve the elicitation of a response or a trained behavior. Active tasks present unique challenges because of the potential confound of subject movement. However, when the dog is trained to move only on cue, the movement artifacts can be delayed in time from the salient neural events. Examples of this approach include response inhibition and delayed match paradigms for memory. Many of these neural measures are found to correlate with out-of-scanner metrics of personality and behavior, and some have been used to predict a dog’s suitability for specific working roles.

Because the dogs participate in many scan sessions over their lifetime, the project has created a unique longitudinal cohort, which, in some cases has allowed the detection of CNS tumors before symptoms appear. These serial awake-MRI have been used to monitor tumor regression following radiation treatment

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Location: RB101, CVM, NC State University
Time: March 23, 2018/ 4:00-5:00PM
Host: MBS

Greg Berns, Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics & Psychology, Emory.   University Director, Facility for Education & Research in Neuroscience





March 23

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category: