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The NIH Toolbox -First Comprehensive & Standardized Tests of Brain Function- To Be Released Next Week

Neuroscience Just Got Faster, Cheaper and Easier (press release):

“On Sept. 10 and 11, Gershon will introduce the new NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Behavioral and Neurological Function to hundreds of researchers at a special National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference in Bethesda, Maryland. At the end of September, the resource will be made fully available to the research community and clinicians.

Gershon, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has led an ambitious six-year NIH-funded study reflecting the efforts of 235 scientists around the world that provides the first common measurements for neurological and behavioral health. Currently, one researcher’s test to measure depression, for example, isn’t the same as another’s, so their study results aren’t comparable. Research is built on others’ findings so standardization will be of significant benefit.

The new set of tests — available in Spanish and English — slashes the number of questions and time required for study participants by up to 90 percent. The tests also are royalty-free (some other tests often have expensive royalties that hike the cost of research) and can be administered by anyone with a basic college education, a less expensive alternative to the Ph.D. level-person with specialized training now required to administer them.”

About the NIH Toolbox:

  • “NIH Toolbox is a multidimensional set of brief measures assessing cognitive, emotional, motor and sensory function from ages 3-85, meeting the need for a standard set of measures that can be used as a “common currency” across diverse study designs and settings.”
  • “By using multiple constructs of each domain, the NIH Toolbox monitors neurological and behavioral function over time, and measures the domain constructs across developmental stages. This facilitates the study of functional changes across the lifespan, including evaluating intervention and treatment effectiveness.

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