The NeuroPsychometric Research (NPR) Lab is a cognitive neuroscience lab studying the mechanisms that underlie cognitive change in healthy aging and neurologic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, with an emphasis on developing new biomarkers to better understand brain function, brain health and cognitive decline. The lab studies the relationships between brain and behavior in healthy individuals and diseased populations with multimodal neuroimaging techniques and neuropsychometric experiments.
NEW BIOMARKER, TECHNOLOGY OFFERS BROAD APPLICATIONS
The NPR lab has made important strides to better measure and understand brain function, brain health and cognitive change. Researchers recently published two studies that significantly advance diagnosis and treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Groundbreaking Biomarker to Predict Cognitive Change
The NPR Lab assessed the stiffness of blood vessels in individuals with MS to identify the “Arterial Compliance Index” (ACI), a novel biomarker reflecting the extent of injury of arteries and veins along the cerebro vascular tree.
The study, published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal (August 2019), demonstrates that ACI performs approximately 15% better than all other currently available MS metrics combined. This could help monitor the disease, aid in treatment, and distinguish between MS patients who are prone to develop cognitive impairment and those who are not.
“By providing a predictor of future cognitive change, this groundbreaking technology creates the opportunity for early intervention”
– Dinesh Sivakolundu, the study’s lead author
For more information and to download a brochure visit our page on Vascular Integrity SysTem for Assessment and Treatment (VISTAT), the patent-pending technology that will soon be available for use with MS patients and for exploration of broader applications with a healthy-aging population.
Patent-pending tool creates 3D images of brain lesions
Researchers also created 3D images of MS brain lesions using a new, patent-pending technology tool, which revealed different physical properties for the two types of lesions. In collaboration with a team from UTSW led by Dr. Darin T. Okuda, they then identified blood oxygen levels as a reliable biomarker to determine which damaged regions in an MS patient’s brain have the capacity to heal, and which do not. Results were published in Wiley Online Library (May 2019).
“Our new technology has the potential to be a game-changer in the treatment of MS by helping doctors be more precise in their treatment plans”
– Bart Rypma, PhD and the principal investigator in the NeuroPsychometric Research Lab
The lab consists of three state-of-the-art laboratories in the DFW area: the Center for BrainHealth, The University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.