Assessing premorbid IQ with picture vocabulary tests

An important task in neuropsychology is establishing how a patient’s current state compares to how they were before they suffered  brain injury. Assessing “premorbid” IQ is also of key importance in research studies that compare cognitive abilities in patients with a group of healthy participants, as it is important that the two comparison groups are as well matched as possible.

The most common way of assessing premorbid IQ to date is the National Adult Reading Test or “NART’. This short word reading test includes words with regular and irregular spellings and is highly correlated with IQ, whilst also “holding” after brain injury (being relatively unaffected relative to other tests of cognitive function). The problem with the NART is that it requires patients to read words out loud. Brain injury can also impair speech ability meaning that the test is impossible to use in patients with conditions such as aphasia.

We have recently published a paper in the journal Applied Neuropsychology: Adult which examined the effectiveness of the British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS) as an assessment of premorbid ability. In this test patients’ must point to pictures matching the words spoken by the examiner. Originally developed to assess vocabulary in young children, we found that the BPVS appears to be at least as good as the NART at “holding” after brain injury and assessing premorbid IQ.

Along with other similar picture based tests, we think the BPVS could be a useful tool to assessing premorbid IQ in research as well as clinical neuropsychology practice.

Eyelander Goes Mobile

The Eyelander game for children with visual field loss is now compatible for use on mobile devices such as phones and tablets!

The game is based on visual search training that has been shown to be effective in improving functional visual abilities in adults with homonymous hemianopia. Our recent evaluation trial showed Eyelander delivered similar magnitude of improvement in functional visual abilities in children and young adults as the more boring adult training programmes. You can play the game and sign up for research to give us feedback on the game via the Eyelander website http://www.eyelander.co.uk. It is free to play and is designed to be colourful, fun and engaging for children. Players search for shapes on the screen which help their character to escape from a mysterious island.

We have been taking a step by step approach to making the game more widely available as we build the evidence base for its effectiveness, but we decided now was the time to make it more widely available for tablets and phones. It actually makes the game more fun to play using a touch screen rather than a mouse and cursor so I am really pleased with the results.

 

 

 

 

 

The game was developed in collaboration with The WESC Foundation Exeter, the School of Computer Science University of Lincoln and Mutant Labs Ltd Plymouth. See here for previous blog posts on the game development and evaluation: Eyelander game evaluation and Parkinsons and Spatial Memory studies published “EyeLander” game for children with VI now available! “Game-ifying” visual search training for children

“EyeLander” game for children with VI now available!

EyelandFor the last 2 years I have been working with the WESC Foundation in Exeter to develop a computer game to  improve vision in children and young people with partial visual loss. In EyeLander you play the role of a character (The “EyeLander”) who must escape from an island using her visual skills. You have to make your way through a series of challenges to escape the erupting volcano, including dodging lava, an angry cow and a giant laughing baby! The only way to get through them to your boat is to find various coloured target shapes hidden amongst distracting items on the screen.

Although based closely on visual search training that has been shown to be effective in adults with hemianopia (see earlier post), EyeLander is unique in that is has been developed in collaboration with children at WESC and social computing researchers from Lincoln’s Computer Science department, adopting a user centred design approach. We believe this will make visual search training more effective and fun for children and even adults with visual field loss. angry baby

We will be evaluating the effectiveness of the game over the next few months and are interested in hearing from you if you suffer from any form of partial visual loss and would be willing to take part in the evaluation. We are also seeking involvement from children in the South West with  normal vision to take part in the research by playing the game and being an EyeLander!

Please contact myself (tlhodgson@lincoln.ac.uk) or Jonathan Waddington (JWaddington@wescfoundation.ac.uk tel:01392 454200) if you would like to know more or take part in the research. 

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