4/22/2021 3:31:52 PM
What does neuropsychology have for us in the coming years?
From saying “sadness” to using “depression”; from terming “anxious” to differentiate between “worry” and “Fear”; and from considering the “mind” as an abstract depiction of the “brain” to admitting that the “mind” is a state that is not solely restricted to the “brain”, neuropsychology has changed a lot.
In the past ten to twenty years, our perception of psychology has been greatly influenced by psychiatry and cognitive/behavioral therapeutic approaches which have focused on the physiological aspect of this science and have gradually started to limit the impact of psychoanalytical theories in the explanation and progress of psychological pathology. Neuropsychology which has originated as an intermediate field between neurology, psychiatry, and psychology had more to say on assessment and symptomatology of the neural aspects of psychology that is to say “neural circuit” behind anxiety rather than only “the nervousness”. With the evolvement in the genome project, the psychological assessment, and the functional neuroimaging of the brain we are looking forward to being able to detect neural pathways responsible for similar pathology that shall increase our ability to perform differential diagnosis and decrease the burden of mental health and clinical mismanagement.
Neuropsychology has a special focus on brain damage and nervous system assessment. It is also focusing on the assessment of cognition and cognitive function domains. With the advancements occurring in the field of information technology, we are expecting to replace the usage of the well-known Wechsler scale with more specific and 3D-built virtual reality machines of the studied brain. Yet will we fully understand what we see?
In order to know that, we must assess our current knowledge of brain lobes and functional anatomy. Many controversial issues and contradicting signs are being yielded with the development of neurology and the genome project. In the past, Alzheimer’s disease was viewed as a neurodegenerative disease in the sense of etiology but now and with the great breakthrough in 2018, more onto the correlations between herpes simplex virus type I (HSV1) and the infectious beta-amyloid of the disease is being explored.
What about the rehabilitation aspect that clinical neuropsychology favors? Not until recently, scientists were able to find electrical implants which reduce paralysis and helps the patient gain his ability to walk again. It initiated as a trial on monkeys rudimentary based to bypassing the site of injury through planting neuroprosthesis in the spinal cord.
Can neuropsychology have more for life and thinking patterns not only clinical-specific aspects of medicine? Neuropsychology is also able to reform our understanding of epistemological issues directly related to the development of the brain and its effect on the mind and cognition and hence knowledge. In the past ten years, more and more are being discovered on the functional difference between the mammalian brain and other species. This was impossible until we became able to track down each and every one of the billions of nerves through CRISPR barcodes map brain development.
We are still young in this field but the human brain does not seize to astonish and astound us. If we are to make the best out of the field, it shall not occur without widening our creative thinking when it comes to proposing explanations and probabilities!
By: Sara Makke
The UJA of Lebanon and a member of NEGOA interest group