The primary objective of the NeuroBehavioral Analysis Core (NBAC) is to support the ability of investigators to enhance their detailed endophenotypic characterizations of individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Endophenotypic characterization involves generating quantitative measures that bridge between biological changes and behavioral impairments. This requires functional assays at multiple levels of the nervous system and the cognitive and behavioral functions on which they depend. These measures must also be appropriate for representative samples of individuals with IDD and are designed, executed, and analyzed with the most precision and fidelity possible.
Services include functional neuroimaging with Event Related Potentials (ERPs) in a dedicated human electrophysiological suite to examine the neural underpinnings of cognitive and affective processes. The NBAC will also provide the capability to gather, peripheral and autonomic nervous system recordings in response to a range of stimuli. The NBAC will make infrared eye-tracking available to enhance cognitive behavioral experiments with gaze, saccade and pupilometry data. We will also provide guidance in the selection, use, analysis and even development of laboratory-based neurobehavioral tests of cognition (e.g., executive function, memory, processing speed) and motor function. The NBAC will offer periodic workshops to provide more information on the services that it offers as well as specialized workshops on maximizing the ability of individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of a range of ages to comply with the demands of behavioral testing and with neuroimaging via electrophysiology or magnetic resonance imaging. The NBAC also plans to offer support for treatment studies designed to enhance rather than just characterize behavioral functioning.
Five tiers of service are offered: (1) consultation and guidance regarding conceptual design, selection and/or creation of neurobehavioral phenotyping measures.; (2) unsupervised use of laboratory facilities; (3) training and supervision in conducting neurobehavioral tests using core equipment, and in data analysis; (4) battery of assays conducted by the core staff; (5) tailored constellations of assays conducted by the core staff. Combinations of 1-5 will be designed to match the needs of each user.
Requests for services should be made via the Core Manager initially or to the Core Director if necessary. An initial consultation meeting will be arranged and further planning and scheduling of service deliver, or possible development, will follow, based on the individual requirements identified during the initial consultation.