Keynotes

Jennifer J. Vasterling, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
Chief of Psychology, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System
Affiliated Investigator, National Center for PTSD


When Psychological and Neural Trauma Co-occur: PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Events leading to mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI) or concussion may also be psychologically traumatic (e.g., motor vehicle accidents) or occur in the context of on-going psychological trauma (e.g., war, political torture, domestic violence). In such circumstances, mild TBI and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may co-occur. This presentation will address the impact of mild TBI on the development, course, and clinical management of PTSD, as well as how PTSD may influence recovery from mild TBI.  Both diagnostic and treatment considerations will be discussed.

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Erin Bigler, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Department of Psychology
Brigham Young University Provo, Utah, USA

Utilization of Advanced Neuroimaging in 21st Century Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology emerged in an era that pre-dated any contemporary neuroimaging, where measures of motor, sensory-perceptual and cognitive functioning were based on physical exam, observation, paper-pencil and psychometric test results. While computed tomography (CT) was introduced in the early 1970’s and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the 1980’s, their influence on neuropsychology  was initially restricted to simple qualitative classification schemas such as presence/absence of an abnormality, its location or size, including lateralization issues of damage. With 21st Century improvements in quantitative neuroimaging analysis there are a host of image analysis methods now available for use by neuropsychologists. Many contemporary quantitative neuroimaging methods have become more ‘user friendly’ and widely available, where the majority of these methods involve various levels of automation, including fully automated methods that will yield region of interest findings to address volume, thickness, surface area as well as shape and contour of any brain structure along with analyses from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which permit white matter and pathway analyses. A variety of lesion analysis programs exist that provide metrics to assess lesion burden. This lecture will overview quantitative neuroimaging methods of structural MRI findings relevant to 21st Century neuropsychology and  the lecture will plot a future course where neuroimaging information is fully integrated with neuropsychological test findings, in research as well as clinical application.

 


Courtenay Frazier Norbury, Ph.D.
Professor
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey, England

Stability and change in developmental language disorders
In this talk I will argue that child language is characterized by both stability and change: change in that language skills improve from year to year, but nevertheless stable, in that the rank order of children within a language distribution is relatively unchanged over time. In other words, children with low language competence at school entry tend to remain 2-3years behind their typically developing peers. I will present evidence from my own work, and that of other scholars, indicating that the rate of language growth is parallel at thetop and bottom of the language distribution, regardless of child cognitive, behavioural, or environmental factors. As a consequence, ‘narrowing the gap’ between more and less able children presents significant challenges. If language itself is malleable, but rate of language learning is not, what are the implications for clinical and educational services? I will consider this, and what this research tells us about the biological origins of language disorder.

 


A. Vania Apkarian, Ph.D
Professor of Physiology, Anesthesia, PM&R
Department of Physiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, 60610, USA

Risks and Consequences of Chronic Pain
Complementary human and animal studies now provide convincing evidence regarding brain mechanisms involved in the development of chronic pain. Multi-modal human brain imaging studies now show that that brain properties determine risk for development of chronic pain, and also brain anatomy and functional responses and connectivity carve the chronic pain state. Consistent and complimentary evidence is now also available in rodent models of chronic pain, where brain reorganization is now unraveled for receptor gene expression, cellular excitability, and synaptic efficacy, as well as whole-brain functional connectivity, all of which are beginning to unravel novel targets for drug development.   I will review these ideas with

I will review these ideas with especial emphasis on mechanistic concepts and clinical implications of these new advances in the field.

 


Ida Sue Baron, Ph.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Charlottesville, VA
&
Clinical Professor in Pediatrics
The George Washington University School of Medicine
Washington, DC

Neuropsychology of Preschoolers: A Focus for the Future
A foundational neuropsychology of preschoolers remains a late development in pediatric neuropsychological research and practice.  This has in many ways delayed our understanding of the consequences of adverse fetal conditions over the course of early child neurodevelopment. It is imperative that lessons learned from developmental neuroscience and infant and child development specialists become a regular and consistent focus of pediatric neuropsychologists.  The influence of these critical maturational years on outcomes at older age and across the lifespan emphasizes the importance of extending our diagnostic and therapeutic skills downward to earlier ages.