Clinical neurophysiology: Research methods and event-related potential components as assessment tools
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The paramount importance of research design and research methodologies within the shared space of neurology, clinical neurophysiology, and cognitive neuroscience serves as the theme around which a range of topics is presented. After a tour of historical figures of human electrophysiology and electroencephalography (EEG), the discussion turns to event-related potential (ERP). Emphasizing the lengthy history of these manifestations of cognition, the chapter outlines the extensive research literature that has demonstrated the sensitivity of ERPs to a range cognitive functions, including attention, language processing, and memory. There follows a series of examples of ERP applications in the clinical domain, including disorders of consciousness, stroke, autism, coma, and concussion. These examples not merely demonstrate the general utility of these electrophysiological responses but stress that their independence from behavioral responses provides a much needed clinical method to assess individuals who are literally or virtually impossible to assess using traditional behaviorally based clinical tools. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that is time that the incontrovertible utility of ERPs be employed more fully within clinical contexts to assist the clinical community in providing objective assessments of a range of neurologic conditions.
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