Atypical Cognitive Deficits in Developmental Disorders: Implications for Brain Function

By Sarah H. Broman; Jordan Grafman | Go to book overview

Introduction

Sarah H. Broman Jordan Grafman National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Fascinating but often catastrophic experiments of nature occur that alter brain function. When these events are studied carefully, they can reveal not only therapeutic strategies to be used against the disabling conditions, but new information about basic biological and behavioral processes in human development. Promising examples are childhood syndromes of genetic, congenital, or still undefined eitiologies whose effects include cognitive and other behavioral deficits that are dearly selective. In addition to using neuropsychological assessment to define these specific patterns of deficit, the noninvasive techniques of brain structural imaging, brain functional imaging, and electrophysiological recording can aid in localizing the affected cognitive functions in the brain and identifying underlying neural mechanisms. This multidisciplinary and multifactorial examination of developmental disorders can help to develop more complete models of brain-behavior relations and, at the same time, identify more specific interventions for different etiological groups.

To examine what was known about the neuropsychology and brain structure and function in three syndromes currently under investigation, and to evaluate the utility of such models as research tools, a workshop was convened at the National Institutes of Health in the spring of 1991 under the sponsorship of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This volume is a collection of the papers presented there.

The goal of the workshop and of this volume is to add to the knowledge base of cognitive neuroscience within a developmental framework. Much of what we know about the neurological basis of cognitive function in humans has been learned from studies of central nervous system trauma or disease in

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