School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

The British Neuropsychological Society Honour Psychology Professor

Congratulations to Professor Sharon Abrahams who has been awarded with the prestigious Freda Newcombe Prize.

Sharon Abrahams photo

Awarded annually, the prize is named in honour of Freda Newcombe (1925 - 2001), who played a pivotal role in the development of the discipline of cognitive neuropsychology. Her work focused on the relationship between cognitive deficits and lesion location, based on the research of ex-servicemen.

The prize is awarded to a distinguished scientist who aligns with the current scientific interests or developments of the Society.

As part of the award Sharon was invited to give a lecture at the British Neuropsychological Society Executive Committee meeting held last week.

Sharon’s lecture, Behaviour to pathology: a window through MND, described over 25 years of pioneering work documenting the cognitive and behavioural changes that are found in some people with Motor Neurone Disease. The studies demonstrate that there is a spectrum of changes ranging from people whose disease is restricted to the motor system (about 50% of people with MND) to those with a specific type of dementia – Frontotemporal dementia. The research provided evidence of the middle range of this spectrum – those with mild cognitive and behaviour change (35%) who show involvement of the frontal lobes of the brain. This research related these changes in thinking and behaviour to brain imaging (functional and structural) and pathological changes in the neuron from donated brain tissue post mortem. The extensive body of work, linked MND to FTD, from her first studies in 1996. This link was later confirmed in 2011 by the discovery of a common genetic mutation.

Freda Newcombe was a corner stone of cognitive neuropsychology and receiving this prestigious prize is a great honour for me.

Professor Sharon Abrahams

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