Dr. Lena Palaniyappan awarded research funding from the Quebec Bio-Imaging Network

December 6, 2023

We are pleased to share that Dr. Lena Palaniyappan has been awarded research funding by the Quebec Bio-Imaging Network (QBIN) to support his pilot project, “Magnetoencephalography in psychosis program (MEGPSY): Towards an understanding of linguistic disorganization and impoverishment in schizophrenia”.

Project summary

When brain cells are firing, they create a small magnetic field around them. This can be measured by a brain scan approach called Magneto Encephalo Graphy, or MEG. MEG looks like a helmet with a long cylinder and you can play games as we record the changes in the brain activity. There is a well-established MEG unit at the Neuro, managed by Dr. Sylvain Baillet’s team.
Brain cells fire with a certain rhythm, creating impressive oscillatory patterns. These oscillations, we believe, help us to bind different pieces of information (e.g. words we speak) together to make a coherent whole (e.g., a meaningful message). Healthy oscillations are key for us to have optimal social interactions in our daily life. We believe that defective oscillations in conditions like psychosis affect our ability to interact socially via interpersonal conversations.  Dr. Lena Palaniyappan and Dr. Sylvain Baillet are teaming up to study this issue in a program called MEGPSY – MEG in Psychosis, by analyzing speech and MEG recordings together.
This novel proposal has already received two grants to kickstart the work. One from Quebec Bioimaging Network, via a FRQS-funded grant program, and the other from McConnell Brain Imaging Centre’s Collaboration Grant. This work is a first step to understand how we can correct some of the difficult to treat features of severe mental illnesses that ultimately result in social dysfunction.

Research  Team

The Project is being co-led by Dr. Lena Palaniyappand and Dr. Sylvain Baillet. Dr. Fernando Asté, a research track resident in Psychiatry, is coordinating this project along with Nadia Zeramdini, Jessica Ahrens of the CEYMH (Douglas) and Dominic Boutet from the Neuro. This team will be working with clinicians at Douglas PEPP, Douglas l’Étape clinic, St. Mary’s Hospital, and Lakeshore Hospital to recruit patients and healthy matched volunteers.