The candidate's application provides the requisite training to establish a clinical research career committed to identify the susceptibility factors in the cognitive comorbidity of epilepsy which is in line with NIH Curing Epilepsy Benchmarks. The candidate is a clinical pediatric neuropsychologist who is proposing to obtain cross-disciplinary training from a neurologist lead co-mentor, neuropsychologist lead co-mentor and distinguished panel of expert mentors and contributors in advanced MRI techniques, developmental cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, and biostatistics. This is a cross-sectional study of 50 children with localization related epilepsy who will be matched to healthy controls for age, gender, and SES. Sophisticated neuroscience methods will be used to investigate the functional and structural neuroanatomy of verbal working memory. Working memory, language, and other cognitive domains will be examined by conducting neuropsychological testing, and then all children will participate in functional and structural neuroimaging tasks. It is hypothesized that children with epilepsy will have specific weaknesses in working memory and show greater deviance in the structure and function of brain regions activated. These results will be crucial for developing an informed model of specific brain based cognitive impairments to base and measure future treatments against. This training will enable the candidate to obtain unique cross-disciplinary training using integrated neuroimaging and neuropsychology methods. The candidate will also be well-situated to transition this methodology into other neurodevelopmental disorders over the duration of her career.
Children with epilepsy often experience behavioral and cognitive difficulties. One area of difficulty is executive functioning which is a set of skills important for efficient task performance. This study characterizes the neural network of one aspect of executive functioning, namely working memory, in children with epilepsy using neuroimaging and neuropsychological measures.
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