Researcher, Douglas Institute
Véronique Bohbot, PhD, is a memory expert. She uses navigation to study different types of memory that depend on distinct parts of the brain. She discovered that individuals spontaneously use different navigation strategies that differ in terms of brain activity, grey matter, hormones, and genotypes. This is important because the literature suggests that reduced grey matter in one of these brain regions, the hippocampus, is associated with increased risk of several neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Véronique Bohbot’s research will help profile the neural activity that occurs in the brain areas that mediate individual navigational strategies, i.e., the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, medial temporal lobe cortices, and frontal cortex. Damage to these brain areas can profoundly hamper navigation, as many individuals continue to use strategies that depend on the damaged structures.
To better understand spatial memory (both visual and auditory), Véronique Bohbot does real-life and virtual navigation tests with healthy volunteers, as well as brain-damaged individuals, and patient populations with epilepsy, leukemia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, diabetes, depression, schizophrenia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson's disease. Véronique Bohbot and her team also use other approaches, including 3D large screen virtual navigation, eye tracking, functional and structural neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and neuropsychology.
Over the years, Véronique Bohbot has developed a Spatial Memory Improvement Program designed to specifically stimulate the hippocampus and brain regions that are associated with healthy cognition in people of all ages. She has shown that this program is successful at improving spatial memory, but more importantly, increasing brain activity and grey matter of the hippocampus, potentially reducing the risk of neurological and psychiatric diseases. This training program is currently being tested in patients with memory impairments such as those with Mild Cognitive Impairment at risk for Alzheimer's disease.
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