Franklin Brown, PhD, ABPP

Assistant Professor of Neurology; Chief, Division of Neuropsychology

Research Departments & Organizations

Neurology

Neuropsychological and Psychological Assessment Service

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Epilepsy; Memory; Multiple Sclerosis; Neurology

Research Summary

Dr. Brown studies memory difficulties with neurological disorders.

Though he has a general interest in cognition, Dr. Brown is most known for the development of the Brown Location Test which is a test of visual memory that does not require drawing skills, is not verbally encodable, and lacks a clear pattern, unlike many of the well-established visual memory tests. This has demonstrated validity in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Patients, and is currently being studied in a variety of other patient populations.

He is also further exploring measures of cognitive efficiency. The inability to think efficiently may help explain why some individuals with cognitive complaints from the real world may do well on some test batteries; even though objective third party observers have noticed their difficulties. Many neuropsychological tests may have difficulty measuring thinking efficiency because they are designed to measure one key function; whereas thinking efficiency requires multiple functions working together. This tends to rely on connectivity between areas of the brain, which is heavily reliant on white matter pathways. Thus, cognitive efficiency is an important area to study in disorders with white matter abnormalities (e.g., Multiple Sclerosis).

Specialized Terms: Visual memory; Alzheimer's Disease; Cognitive effects of medication; Multiple Sclerosis; Epilepsy; Vascular Disease

Extensive Research Description

Specific ongoing research includes the following. Visual memory functioning in pre and postsurgical temporal lobe epilepsy patients. I am administering complete epilepsy batteries including the Brown Location Test to epilepsy patients before or after surgery with the goal of identifying those more consistently associated with right temporal lobe epilepsy, and the utility in predicting postsurgical changes. Within this general area, I am also studying the effects of medication, anxiety, depression and other non-neurological variables upon cognitive test performance in presurgical evaluations. Furthermore, we have been finding an interesting association between math and visual memory which is further being explored within epilepsy and other patient populations.

Within multiple sclerosis, I am studying which cognitive tests are most sensitive to the effects of this disease. In addition to traditional MS related tests, I have added the Brown Location Test and Test of Variables of Attention to further study the effects of cognitive inefficiency within MS. Though MS is not typically a primary memory disorder, the BLT includes one subtest of delayed rotated memory which was designed to assess allocentric memory. In preliminary analysis this appears more sensitive to MS than more traditional measures. We are exploring whether this isolated weakness could be related to reduced connectivity due to the effects of MS. My overreaching goal is to identify measures most sensitive to changes with MS and have these ultitmately included as a key measure of disease progression.

Alzheimer's disease is often quoted as the most common cause of dementia. However, in my clinical referrals this does not seem to be the case even though many of those referred have been preliminarily thought to have AD. Yet, on neuropsychological tests their profile seems more consistent with the effects of vascular disease and a subcortical profile - at least those who have mild cognitive impairment. My goal is to improve the accuracy of diagnoses and eventually determining which methods are most accurate according to postmortem studies.

In addition to the above discussed primary areas, I am always interested in new findings among clinically referred patients. Subcortical strokes is a particular area of interest in that they may produce minimal obvious physical changes, yet can impact cognition in ways that may not be immediately apparent but could dramatically impact quality of life and the ability to maintain employment. I have a small subset of thalamic stroke patients and would like to increase this data set to improve our understanding about how these impact cognition, and quality of life.

Selected Publications

  • Comparison of the Computer and Hand Administered Versions of the Brown Location Test (BLT)

    Brown, F. C., O’Connor, B. P., Vitelli, K. M., Heinly, M., Rommel, G. C., Davis, R. N. (In Press). Comparison of the Computer and Hand Administered Versions of the Brown Location Test (BLT). Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2017

  • Spatial memory for asymmetrical dot locations predicts lateralization among presurgical mesial temporal lobe epilepsy patients

    Brown, F. C., Hirsch, L. J., Spencer, D. D. (2015). Spatial memory for asymmetrical dot locations predicts lateralization among presurgical mesial temporal lobe epilepsy patients. Epilepsy and Behavior 2A, 19 – 24. 2015

  • Allocentric but not egocentric visual memory difficulties in adults with ADHD may represent cognitive inefficiency

    Brown, F. C., Roth, R. M., Katz, L. J. (2015). Allocentric but not egocentric visual memory difficulties in adults with ADHD may represent cognitive inefficiency. Psychiatry Research 228, 649 – 658.

  • The relationship of self-reported subclinical obsessive-compulsive symptoms and impulsivity among adults with AD/HD.

    Brown FC, Katz LJ, Roth RM, Beers SR. The relationship of self-reported subclinical obsessive-compulsive symptoms and impulsivity among adults with AD/HD. Psychiatry Research 2014, 216:131-6. 2014

  • Influence of anxiety on memory performance in temporal lobe epilepsy.

    Brown FC, Westerveld M, Langfitt JT, Hamberger M, Hamid H, Shinnar S, Sperling MR, Devinsky O, Barr W, Tracy J, Masur D, Bazil CW, Spencer SS. Influence of anxiety on memory performance in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B 2014, 31:19-24. 2014

  • Voices of Students with ADHD: Issues Related to College Adjustment and Self-Advocacy

    Stamp, L, Banarjee, M., Dahlstrom-Hakki, I., Brown, F. C. (2014). Voices of Students with ADHD: Issues Related to College Adjustment and Self-Advocacy. The Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability 27, 2

  • Processing speed and working memory performance in those with both ADHD and a reading disorder compared with those with ADHD alone.

    Katz LJ, Brown FC, Roth RM, Beers SR. Processing speed and working memory performance in those with both ADHD and a reading disorder compared with those with ADHD alone. Archives Of Clinical Neuropsychology : The Official Journal Of The National Academy Of Neuropsychologists 2011, 26:425-33. 2011

  • Visual memory in patients after anterior right temporal lobectomy and adult normative data for the Brown Location Test.

    Brown FC, Tuttle E, Westerveld M, Ferraro FR, Chmielowiec T, Vandemore M, Gibson-Beverly G, Bemus L, Roth RM, Blumenfeld H, Spencer DD, Spencer SS. Visual memory in patients after anterior right temporal lobectomy and adult normative data for the Brown Location Test. Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B 2010, 17:215-20. 2010

  • A new measure of visual location learning and memory: development and psychometric properties for the Brown Location Test (BLT).

    Brown FC, Roth RM, Saykin AJ, Beverly-Gibson G. A new measure of visual location learning and memory: development and psychometric properties for the Brown Location Test (BLT). The Clinical Neuropsychologist 2007, 21:811-25. 2007

  • Development and evaluation of the Sleep Treatment and Education Program for Students (STEPS).

    Brown FC, Buboltz WC, Soper B. Development and evaluation of the Sleep Treatment and Education Program for Students (STEPS). Journal Of American College Health : J Of ACH 2006, 54:231-7. 2006

  • Relationship of sleep hygiene awareness, sleep hygiene practices, and sleep quality

    Brown, F. C., & Buboltz, Jr. W. C. (2002). Relationship of sleep hygiene awareness, sleep hygiene practices, and sleep quality. Behavioral Medicine, 28(1), 33 - 39.

  • Applying sleep research to university students: recommendations for developing a student sleep education program

    Brown, F. C., & Buboltz, Jr. W. C. (2002). Applying sleep research to university students: recommendations for developing a student sleep education program. Journal of College Student Development, 43(3), 411 - 416.

  • Treatment approaches for sleep difficulties in college students

    Buboltz, Jr., W. C., Soper, B., & Brown, F. C., & Jenkins, S. M. (2002) Treatment approaches for sleep difficulties in college students. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 15(3), 229 - 237.

  • Prevalence of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in university students

    Brown, F. C., Soper, B., & Buboltz, Jr. W. C. (2001). Prevalence of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome in university students. College Student Journal, 35(3), 472 - 476

  • Sleep habits and patterns of college students: a preliminary study

    Buboltz, Jr. W. C., Brown, F.C., & Soper, B. (2001). Sleep habits and patterns of college students: a preliminary study. Journal of American College Health, 50(3), 131 - 135.

  • Gender differences in depression among college students: A multicultural perspective

    Kelly, W. E., Kelly, K. E., Brown, F. C., & Kelly, H. B. (1999). Gender differences in depression among college students: A multicultural perspective. College Student Journal, 33(1), 72 – 76.

See list of PubMed publications

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