Professor Dr. Klaas Enno Stephan, the Director of the Translational Neuromodeling Unit (TNU) of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, was a guest speaker in the IT'IS Brown-Bag-Lunch Seminar series on Friday, October 5, 2018. Prof Stephan delivered a fascinating presentation on "Translational Neuromodeling for Psychiatry and Psychosomatics".
At the TNU, physicians and computational scientists work together to evaluate applications of neuromodeling in clinical practice. Prof. Stephan's excellent talk was a window on how to use computational approaches towards a better understanding of psychological diseases, e.g., schizophrenia, for which reliable diagnostic tools and effective drug therapies are currently limited. Novel mathematical models based on Bayes statistics are being developed to investigate clinical psychiatric and psychosomatic conditions as tools for differential diagnosis and personalized treatment prediction. According to the “Bayesian brain” hypothesis, the brain is essentially a statistical instrument that processes sensory inputs from the environment to infer a deeper understanding of the world. In certain psychiatric conditions, this processing of sensory inputs is disturbed, leading to misinterpretations of reality. The algorithmic architecture of the hierarchical Bayesian model is implemented in the pursuit of clinically useful computational assays for psychiatry and psychosomatics, and subject-specific neuroimaging and electrophysiological and behavioral measures of physiological disruption of information processing in neuronal circuits are used to validate the mathematical models.
Many thanks to Prof. Stephan for a riveting presentation!