Functional preservation of creativity in LGG patients

Mapping original thinking by differential modulation of large-scale cortical networks

Creative thinking represents a major evolutionary mechanism, which greatly contributed to the rapid advancement of the human species. The ability to produce novel and useful ideas, or original thinking, is thought to correlate with intrinsic synchronization of large-scale associative cortical networks, such as the default mode (DMN) and the fronto-parietal control (FPC).


Recent studies suggest that these networks differentially modulate the level of creative thinking. In this study we aim to use a novel, network-based stimulation approach, in order to intra-operatively map creative thinking. We will utilize preoperative resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) in order to identify the DMN and FPC in the individual patient, and establish a baseline creativity score using a modified version of the alternate uses task (AUT). Intra-operatively, we will stimulate specific areas of the DMN and FPC while patients perform the AUT. Based on previous findings, we hypothesize that disruption of the DMN will lead to decreased originality and vice versa with the FPC. This proposed project, which is supported by preliminary data, would be the first to intra-operatively map cortical associative networks underlying creativity, thus promoting the potential to preserve this unique ability in patients.


Furthermore, using multimodal complementary measures may provide a characterization of modulation within and between large-scale cortical networks, as well as their relation to creative thinking. Based on preoperative mapping, this would allow for future preservation of creativity in patients who cannot undergo awake surgeries. Preliminary results demonstrate the ability to intraoperatively interfere with original thinking via direct cortical stimulation, as well as the differences in network organization and integration between patients who require individual network characterization in order to preserve functionality following surgery.


Dr. Gonen is a researcher at the Sagol Brain Institute and the head of the translational neuroscientific lab in the Neurosurgical Department, Tel Aviv Medical Center. Her academic background includes a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, Sociology) from the Tel Aviv Academic College; followed by a PhD from the Behavioral-Cognitive Neuroscience program at the School of Psychological sciences, Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Gonen is the Leading Investigator of the #Neurosurgical Interfaces research team at the Sagol Brain Institute.