The Biomedical Engineering & Aerospace Neuroscience (BEAN) group is housed in the Medical Physics Laboratory of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Its main aim is:
- To study the effects of microgravity, isolation and confinement on various aspects of the central nervous system such as sleep physiology, cognition and arousal.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical physical and cognitive training on weightlessness, neurodegeneration and psychiatric disorders.
- To develop deep learning models within the context of precision medicine for integrating and multi-faceted activity, behavioral and sleep data for early identification of neurodegenerative phenomena or sleep-related disorders (insomnia, hyperarousal, apnea/hypopnea events)
The BEAN group is interdisciplinary one consisted of electrical and computer engineers, computer scientists, physicists, economists, biologists, pulmonologists, sleep experts, neurologists and psychiatrists. It employs neurophysiological data acquisition through electroencephalographic (EEG), electrocardiographic (ECG), electroculogrammic (EOG), electromyographic (EMG) recordings. The group employs a set of contemporary mathematical tools (event-related potential (ERP) analysis, resting-state functional connectivity/ graph theory analysis and investigation of time-frequency brain-heart interactions for investigating the aforementioned scientific aims.
Recent findings demonstrated the flexibility of deep learning techniques to learn sleep-related neurophysiological patterns1 which are indicative of the detrimental microgravity effects on the central nervous system2. There are several countermeasures which could promote neuroplasticity during long-term space flights2 and earth analogues but also in physiological and pathological aging3,4,5.
1Chriskos, P., Frantzidis, C. A., Gkivogkli, P. T., Bamidis, P. D and Kourtidou-Papadeli, C. (2019). Automatic Sleep Staging Employing Convolutional Neural Networks and Cortical Connectivity Images. IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems
2Frantzidis, C. A., Dimitriadou, C. K., Chriskos, P., Gilou, S. C., Plomariti, C. S., Gkivogkli, P. T., Karagianni, M. A., Konstantara, L. P., Nday, C., Kostakis, E. K., Bamidis, P. D. and Kourtidou-Papadeli, C. (2018). Cortical connectivity analysis for assessing the impact of microgravity and the efficacy of reactive sledge jumps countermeasure to NREM 2 sleep. Acta Astronautica.
3Frantzidis, C. A., Vivas, A. B., Tsolaki, A., Klados, M. A., Tsolaki, M., and Bamidis, P. D. (2014). Functional disorganization of small-world brain networks in mild Alzheimer's Disease and amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: an EEG study using Relative Wavelet Entropy (RWE). Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 6, 224.
4Frantzidis, C. A., Ladas, A. K. I., Vivas, A. B., Tsolaki, M., & Bamidis, P. D. (2014). Cognitive and physical training for the elderly: evaluating outcome efficacy by means of neurophysiological synchronization. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 93(1), 1-11.
5Zilidou, V. I., Frantzidis, C. A., Romanopoulou, E. D., Paraskevopoulos, E., Douka, S., & Bamidis, P. D. (2018). Functional re-organization of cortical networks of senior citizens after a 24-week traditional dance program. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 10.
- Assoc. Prof. Panagiotis D. Bamidis
- MD, Dr. Chrysoula Kourtidou-Papadeli
- Dr. Christos A. Frantzidis
- Dr. Christiane M. Nday
- MD Emmanouil K. Kostakis
- MSc. Maria Karagianni
- MSc. Panteleimon Chriskos
- MSc. Christina S. Plomariti
- MSc. Georgios Ntakakis
- MSc. Vasilis Nigdelis
- MSc. Lamprini P. Konstantara
- Greek AeroSpace Medical Association – Space research (GASMA-SR)
- Human Physiology, German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germany
- Laboratory for Human Brain Dynamics, AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd., Nicosia, Cyprus
- Sleep and Brain Plasticity Centre, Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, and Sleep Disorders Centre, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, GSTT NHS Trust, United Kingdom
- 3rd Department of Psychiatry, Neuroscience Sector, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
- Laboratory of Clinical Neurophysiology, AHEPA Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki
- 1st Department of Neurosurgery, «AHEPA» University General Hospital, 54634 Thessaloniki, Greece
- The Reactive Sledge Jump (RSL) experiment was a 60 days head down tilt (6°) bed rest study, which employed reactive jumps in a sledge system as a countermeasure. Its aim was to investigate the long-term effect of microgravity on human physiology and the potential impact of the countermeasure. It was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and took place in the ‘envihab’ premises of the German Aerospace Agency in Cologne. The RSL study involved a control and a training group. The participants were randomly assigned to its group. The experimental conditions were identical for both groups apart from the countermeasure. The jump (RSL) training was performed regularly during the entire HDT phase for the training group. There were 48 training sessions. It employed 23 healthy, male volunteers who signed a written informed consent valid for all the experimental aspects of the study. The ethical approval of the study was given by the ethics committee of the Northern Rhine Medical Association (Arztekammer Nordrhein) in Duesseldorf, Germany, and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz). The participants' age was among 18 to 45 (mean: 29 ± 6 years). The aim of the RSL study was to investigate the detrimental effects of microgravity on human physiology and to investigate how the RSL countermeasure may have a beneficial effect on musculoskeletal cardiovascular, hormonal and central nervous system. The RSL study was performed in two campaigns since the ‘envihab’ facilities can host simultaneously 12 participants at separate rooms. Each campaign was divided into three main phases. The first acclimatization phase was denoted as Baseline Data Collection and was lasted for 14 days (BDC-14 to BDC-1). During that phase the countermeasure was prescribed for familiarization of all the participants. The bed rest experimental phase was denoted as Head Down Tilt and was lasted for 60 days (HDT1 to HDT60). Finally, there was a two-week recovery period (R1 to R14).
The sleep study was among the ESA-LTBR funded proposals (AO2009-BR) and was conducted by experienced neurophysiologists belonging to the Medical Physics Laboratory. They were supervised and leaded by the Greek Aerospace Medical Association and Space Research (GASMA-SR). Its aim was to assess the effect of both microgravity and RSL training on sleep macro-architecture and brain function. The study used 32 channel PSG devices for performing entire night sleep recordings at five different time instances (BDC-14, HDT21, HDT35, HDT50 and R7). The recordings included 19 EEG, 2 electrocardiographic (ECG), 4 electrooculogrammic (EOG) and 2 chin electromyographic (EMG) electrodes
- The SmokeFreeBrain (http://smokefreebrain.eu/) was funded by the European Union's (EU) Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 681120. It aimed to investigate the neurophysiologic effect of varenicline in sleep macro-architecture, after 21 days of varenicline treatment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial that attempts to shrink the knowledge gap in our understanding of the varenicline effects on sleep by performing polysomnographic (PSG) investigations along with behavioral and clinical assessments of smokers seeking pharmaceutical treatment. Our primary objective is to evaluate whether a pharmaceutical based smoking cessation intervention on smokers with respiratory problems may induce changes in the brain activity, either oscillatory or through functional connectivity, as measured via PSG. Coupling this with clinical and behavioral evidence has the potential to reveal whether the neuroplastic changes are indices of sleep macro-architecture improvement.
- The ANAPNEO project is directly funded by Smartcardia, which is a Swiss medical device company with focus on clinical quality data and validation (http://www.smartcardia.com/). Its aim is to scientifically evaluate and validate a smart, wearable device used to extract multi-faceted daily and sleep data for precision sleep medicine and prevention of sleep disorders.