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Neuropsychological assessment is an essential part of The Stern Lab's research, and allows our team to measure an individual's cognitive functioning. The assessments come in various forms, ranging from written exams and puzzles to board-games and drawing exercises. Some provide us with an indication of overall cognitive skills, while others focus on specific areas such as memory, visuospatial processing, language, and executive functioning. One-time administration can give our researchers a rich picture of an individual's current cognitive abilities, while re-administering the tests on a yearly basis provides us with a dynamic record of the person's functioning as it changes over time.
Message from Dr. Stern: Throughout my career, I have examined the utility of existing neuropsychological tests to detect, quantify, and differentially diagnose neurodegenerative diseases and other neurological conditions. However, when there were inadequate existing measures to answer clinical and research needs, I developed and published a new instrument. For example, in my early studies of post-stroke depression, there was a need for an instrument to measure various mood states in patients with aphasia and cognitive impairment. I, therefore, developed the Visual Analog Mood Scales (VAMS). In addition, based upon my training in the “Process Approach to neuropsychological assessment” under Dr. Edith Kaplan, I developed the Boston Qualitative Scoring System (BQSS) for the Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure (ROCF) with colleagues and trainees, thus creating a more comprehensive and sensitive method of evaluating and quantifying the rich information previously missed in previous methods of scoring the commonly used ROCF. And, in response to a stagnating field of neuropsychological assessment, and with funding from NIMH, Dr. Travis White and I developed the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB), a compilation of 33 new tests of attention, language, spatial skills, memory, and executive functioning, each with an equivalent form, with demographically-corrected norms based on a large national standardization sample. I am honored that all of my tests and instruments have been used in both clinical practice and in research studies nationally and internationally (including the inclusion of one of my tests in the MATRICS Battery for Schizophrenia research and several of my tests included in the CHARIOT: PRO Alzheimer’s readiness registry in the UK). I have recently been appointed to the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) of the FDA.
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