• Memory and temporal-lobe function . The relative roles of novelty/familiarity versus verbal/nonverbal stimuli in learning and retention are not well known. In these experiments, we aim to disentangle these different factors by investigating the neuronal substrate in patients with left or right medial temporal-lobe dysfunction and in healthy individuals using fMRI and behavioral measurements.
• Attention . In this project, we are teasing out the critical variables in a pair of matched verbal versus visuospatial attention tasks and determining the extent to which these are sensitive to lateralized temporal-lobe dysfunction.
• Intracarotid anesthetic procedures (IAPs) . The intracarotid amobarbital procedure is an important part of a comprehensive investigation of patients who are candidates for surgical treatment of epilepsy. Owing to frequent and lengthy shortages of sodium amobarbital, we have initiated the use of a different anesthetic agent (etomidate), and with it we introduced a significant change in the procedure, such that now the time constraints are essentially abolished. We are also working towards development of a reliable fMRI protocol that will yield information currently sought in the IAP memory test.
• Neuropsychological tests . Part of our work relates to development of or improvement of clinical neuropsychological tests. In our specialized setting, patients are usually tested more than once, such as before and after surgery, or at two or more intervals when a deterioration is suspected. In addition, a large proportion of our patients are francophone (and the others, anglophone). Therefore we develop our tests in equivalent alternate forms, to be used in retesting, and in both languages. Examples of our newer work include our test for subtle parietal-lobe dysfunction using haptic search, in collaboration with Viviane Sziklas and Marta Maximov, our test of right-hemisphere visuoperceptual functioning, and a test of social perception that we expect to be sensitive to frontal-lobe dysfunction.