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.

Public Health Relevance

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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Study Section
NST-2 Subcommittee (NST)
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Fureman, Brandy E
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Children's Research Institute
United States
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Newport, Elissa L; Landau, Barbara; Seydell-Greenwald, Anna et al. (2017) Revisiting Lenneberg's Hypotheses About Early Developmental Plasticity: Language Organization After Left-Hemisphere Perinatal Stroke. Biolinguistics (Nicos) 11:407-422
Sepeta, Leigh N; Casaletto, Kaitlin Blackstone; Terwilliger, Virginia et al. (2017) The role of executive functioning in memory performance in pediatric focal epilepsy. Epilepsia 58:300-310
Krivitzky, Lauren S; Walsh, Karin S; Fisher, Evelyn L et al. (2016) Executive functioning profiles from the BRIEF across pediatric medical disorders: Age and diagnosis factors. Child Neuropsychol 22:870-88
Sepeta, Leigh N; Berl, Madison M; Wilke, Marko et al. (2016) Age-dependent mesial temporal lobe lateralization in language fMRI. Epilepsia 57:122-30
Berl, Madison M; Walker, Lindsay; Modi, Pooja et al. (2015) Investigation of vibration-induced artifact in clinical diffusion-weighted imaging of pediatric subjects. Hum Brain Mapp 36:4745-57
Berl, Madison M; Terwilliger, Virginia; Scheller, Alexandra et al. (2015) Speed and complexity characterize attention problems in children with localization-related epilepsy. Epilepsia 56:833-40
Sepeta, Leigh N; Croft, Louise J; Zimmaro, Lauren A et al. (2015) Reduced language connectivity in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsia 56:273-82
Croft, Louise J; Baldeweg, Torsten; Sepeta, Leigh et al. (2014) Vulnerability of the ventral language network in children with focal epilepsy. Brain 137:2245-57
Berl, Madison M; Zimmaro, Lauren A; Khan, Omar I et al. (2014) Characterization of atypical language activation patterns in focal epilepsy. Ann Neurol 75:33-42
Salpekar, Jay A; Berl, Madison M; Havens, Kathryn et al. (2013) Psychiatric symptoms in children prior to epilepsy surgery differ according to suspected seizure focus. Epilepsia 54:1074-82

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