Outside Collaborators

  •  Elicited Imitation Language measureUsing the resources of the Core, we partnered with Dr. Janet Sherman, former Mass ADRC neuropsychologist, and her colleagues at MIT to offer our subjects and expertise to pilot a new test developed to assess potential language pathology. This task is able to detect a deficit in MCI in the ability to integrate syntactic and semantic information. A paper reporting these first results is being prepared for submission for publication now.
  • Visual Narrative Memory TaskDr. Blacker has been working Dr. Russell Wood of the Schepens Eye Institute to test the Sensory Information Acquisition Test, a measure he developed for use in trials of visual assistive devices in patients with macular degeneration and related disorders. In its current format, the study participant watches and describes twelve 30-second video clips and then completes a brief questionnaire. The developers are concerned that cognitive impairments might limit its utility for their purposes, and conversely, believe that it will serve as a sensitive and engaging cognitive task for our purposes. Thus, we plan to administer the test to our subjects from cognitively normal to those with cognitive impairment or dementia to understand how memory and executive function deficits affect performance on the test, and to vary the number and length of video clips, use static images, include delays and distracters, and investigate alternative scoring methods to optimize its use in our population. The test offers the advantage of potential administration over the internet.
  • Collaboration on Preoperative Assessments. Dr. Blacker has been working closely with a group at Brigham & Women’s Hospital interested in developing a procedure that could be used to screen individuals for cognitive impairment that might complicate surgical procedures and post-operative recovery. She worked with them to select and test potential screening instruments, which were found to be feasible and well accepted by staff and patients; the Mini-Cog was selected for future work because it was the most reliably scored. A larger project administering the Mini-Cog in the BWH PreOp Center with standard personnel has been completed, and a manuscript describing this work has been drafted. An R23 with Drs. Blacker and Locascio as co-investigators to undertake a larger and more thorough evaluation of this screening in practice received an excellent priority score and is being considered for funding.
  • Collaboration on a Longitudinal Measure for Assessment of Cognition in Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Blacker recently worked with Dr. Mary Zanarini, who has followed a cohort of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder at McLean Hospital for many years, and now wishes to examine the longitudinal cognitive outcome of this disorder. Dr. Blacker helped her select her measures, and will serve as a co-investigator on a pending R01 grant.