The Neuropsychology Unit offers assessment and rehabilitation services for neurological, neurosurgical and psychiatric conditions. This unit has pioneered efforts to establish the fields of clinical neuropsychology, experimental neuropsychology and functional brain imaging in India.
Neuropsychological assessment and neuropsychological remediation are the twin branches of clinical neuropsychology. NIMHANS Neuropsychology Battery, based on Luria’s method was the first neuropsychology battery to be developed in the country. NIMHANS. Neuropsychology Battery – 2004, Neuropsychological Battery for Children, Neuropsychological battery for Intractable epilepsy, Indian standardization of Wecshler Memory Scale-III, and Neuropsychological Battery for spino-cerebellar ataxia are recent developments in the arena of neuropsychological assessment measures. The unit conducts over 1000 neuropsychological assessments per year. Cognitive retraining is given to patients with brain- damage to improve their functioning. Hospital and home- based retraining approaches have been developed by the unit and used extensively. We are the first center in the country to have commenced cognitive retraining. A 3-month clinical-attachment program trains clinical psychologists from different parts of the country in clinical neuropsychology.
Research in cognitive neuroscience has focused on the brain mechanisms which underlie cognitive deficits in the areas of attention, memory, language and executive functions and emotional regulation. This helps in understanding the neural substrates that sub serve these functions. Psychological experiments are conducted to identify the deficient components that contribute to the disruption in psychological processes which in turn are linked to disruption in functioning. The results of these experiments have been utilized to develop innovative cognitive retraining programs, which have been incorporated in routine clinical use, by practitioners across the country.
The first EEG lab to examine the electrophysiological correlates was set up in the Neuropsychology unit in the 1970s. The laboratory has kept pace with international trends and has grown from the initial 4 channel recordings to high density 128 channel recordings at present. Brain dysfunctions in neurological, neurosurgical and psychiatric conditions have been identified with the EEG and ERP techniques and topographic brain mapping has been used to understand the dysfunctions. Expertise on the use of fMRI to understand brain functioning is also available. The Neuropsychology Unit has recently acquired the EEG Neurofeedback equipment. We are the pioneers in this area to initiate research as well as provide neurofeedback therapy services.
Neuropsychology unit in collaboration with the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry has initiated studies in the field of cognitive genomics. Cognitive genomics examines the changes in cognitive processes associated with genetic profiles. The association between genes and cognition is being studied in Huntington’s disease, spino-cerebellar ataxia, Alzheimer’s dementia, prognosis of head injury, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Recent studies in developmental cognitive neuroscience have found an association between genes and parenting on the executive control of attention in children.