Appointment of Alejandro Iranzo, Group leader
Our main objective is to gain an understanding of the functional aspects of the nervous system and its diseases through basic and clinical research, using different neurophysiological techniques

Current research

Problem

Very little is known about the physiological bases of the functioning of the nervous system and the pathophysiology of its diseases, such as sleep disorders, coma, epilepsy, neuropathic pain or dysautonomia (the abnormal functioning of the autonomous nervous system). This makes it difficult for patients with diseases of the nervous system to find drugs or other therapeutic alternatives that will cure them or significantly improve their quality of life. Although we have a considerable amount of clinical, neurophysiological and basic knowledge of the nervous system and its diseases at our disposal, it continues to be insufficient.

Approach

The group evaluates the neurophysiological study of nervous system disorders, from the most basic level to clinical practice, including sleep disorders, epilepsy, chronic pain, coma and dysautonomic alterations. Patients are studied with electrophysiological techniques such as EEG, overnight polysomnography, multiple audio latencies, somatosensory and nociceptive-evoked potentials, electromyogram, autonomic and trunk reflexes and the startle reaction (the body’s response to being startled).

Impact

The group’s research has led to the discovery of a new nervous system disorder (anti-IgLON5 disease), characterised by a triad consisting of a complex sleep disorder, cerebral protein antibodies and tauopathy (accumulation of Tau proteins) in the brain. This has made it possible to: demonstrate that REM phase sleep disorder is a predictor for Parkinson’s disease, provide surgical and pharmacological solutions for epilepsy, describe the pathophysiological bases of neuropathic pain and demonstrate that the subcortical motor systems participate in the execution of movements and position.