Sheffield Institute for
Translational Neuroscience

Translational Neuropsychology Group

The Translational Neuropsychology Group (TNG) conducts research on the neuroscientific, clinical and behavioural aspects of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders. The team is using advanced neuroimaging techniques to visualise the dynamic processes in the brain and track the changes in functional brain networks in ageing individuals and patients with dementia. While there is a main focus on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, they also study other disorders such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. The group is led by Professor Annalena Venneri whose research interests include:

  • Early and differential diagnosis of dementia
  • Evaluation of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer´s disease with neuroimaging techniques
  • Clarifying the premorbid biological, personality and cognitive mechanisms underlying psychotic symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases

Reconnecting functional brain networks through
cognitive stimulation

The team has recently demonstrated that intensive ‘brain training’ (cognitive stimulation) can reconnect brain networks and increase brain function, even in old age. Most importantly, they have demonstrated that these improvements directly translate into improved cognitive abilities. Tools are being developed and refined for the early and differential diagnosis of dementia and to assess the response to treatment in Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental risk factors and cross-cultural standardisation and validation of neuropsychological tests are also being assessed.

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The group also conducts research in a variety of areas including:

  • Neuropsychological tests predicting conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer’s Disease and response to treatment in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cross-cultural assessment of dementia
  • Cognitive and physical stimulation, genetic risk and cognitive decline
  • Neurobiological correlates of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Cross-cultural standardisation and validation of norms of neuropsychological tests used in the early identification of dementia of Alzheimer type in British Pakistanis
  • Identifying the biological determinants of cognitive efficiency in ageing
  • Biological correlates of cognitive impairment associated with fatigue in ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Clinical and neuroimaging approach to the evaluation of the effectiveness of virtual reality interventions for upper limb recovery following stroke
  • Identifying deficits in executive and automatic language in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Intensive cognitive stimulation in cognitive decline
  • Procedural skills in cognition and ageing
  • Refining dementia screening tools