Brain and behaviour: mechanisms of human attention in patient and healthy populations

Attention problems are a major source of disability associated with a wide range of disorders, including autism, stroke and schizophrenia. In British Columbia alone, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year by the health system for the treatment and rehabilitation of people with disorders of attention. And this does not take into account the additional costs for the education system or the toll on patients and families. I am studying the brain mechanisms underlying our attention processes and comparing how these processes affect perception and action in healthy children and adults, and those who have attention disorders. My research team is using behavioural and neuropsychological assessments, combined with advanced imaging technologies, to reveal brain processes involved in different attention tasks and behaviours. New knowledge about how the brain works in these activities will help in understanding and possibly developing better treatment and rehabilitation options for people with attention disorders.