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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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