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Neuroscience just got faster, cheaper and easier
Date:8/30/2012

CHICAGO --- Richard Gershon has a shiny new toolbox for neuroscientists that will revolutionize their clinical research by making it radically faster, cheaper and more accurate. It also will help researchers recruit children and adults for studies because participation will be much less time consuming.

On Sept. 10 and 11, Gershon will introduce the new NIH Toolbox to hundreds of researchers at a special National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference in Bethesda, Maryland. At the end of September, he will give away the tools for free to NIH researchers.

Gershon, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has led an ambitious six-year NIH-funded study reflecting the efforts of 235 scientists around the world that provides the first common measurements for neurological and behavioral health. Currently, one researcher's test to measure depression, for example, isn't the same as another's, so their study results aren't comparable. Research is built on others' findings so this hodgepodge mires progress.

The 44 new tests --- available in Spanish and English --- slash the number of questions and time required for study participants by up to 90 percent. The tests also are royalty-free (other tests often have expensive royalties that hike the cost of research) and can be administered by anyone with a basic college education, a less expensive alternative to the Ph.D. level-person with specialized training now required to administer them.

An intelligence test that normally takes three hours is whipped off 30 in minutes with the new NIH Toolbox version. Many traditional "gold standard" tests are trimmed from 30 items to five. Every new test was validated to make sure it yields comparable or better results than the longer ones.

Many of the streamlined tests are accomplished through computer adaptive testing - Gershon's expertise. In this approach, the computer i
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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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