Neuropsychological Research

Neuropsychological research in the PLAN Lab is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Harry Miller at Kelowna General Hospital. Investigations primarily focus on stroke and traumatic brain injury populations. Current research includes the following:

Predicting Functional Outcome and Caregiver Burden in Stroke: Members of the PLAN Lab are conducting a number of ongoing studies to investigate the use of neuropsychological assessment data to predict functional outcome post-stroke as well as caregiver burden. Data is being collected from acute and discharged stroke patients who are receiving neuropsychological services through the department of psychology at Kelowna General Hospital. The goal of this research is to create a time-relative biopsychosocial model linking stroke factors, functional outcomes and caregiver burden, with the mediating effects of cognition. This will allow more holistic models to be established in the treatment and care of stroke patients, and include those involved in care and life after stroke.

The Use of Eye-tracking technology to Evaluate Hemispatial Neglect in Stroke Patients: Hemispatial neglect is defined as a failure to attend to the contralesional side of space in patients who have suffered a stroke. For example, these patients will only dress the non-neglected side of the body, apply make-up to only one side of the face and will often collide with objects on the neglected side of the body. With many neglect patients unaware of their condition, persistent neglect is a poor prognostic indicator for functional independence following stroke. Egocentric neglect causes inattention to stimuli presented on the contralesional side of the body (e.g., inattention to the entire left side of a page), while allocentric neglect results in poor report of elements on the contralesional side of individual objects (e.g., inattention to the left side of individual words on a page). Few studies agree on the assessment, frequency, or prognosis of neglect or its subtypes. Members of the PLAN Lab are currently using eye-tracking technology to determine 1) whether allocentric and egocentric neglect can be accurately dissociated among patients using state of the art measurements of neglect subtype; 2) the relative frequencies of each subtype, and 3) whether there is a relationship between neglect subtype and prognosis, in terms of recovery and functional outcome.