Prof. Christoph Helmstaedter

The Helmstaedter Workgroup performs important clinical tasks in everyday patient care and is also internationally active in scientific research. Neuropsychology examines the psychological and psychosocial consequences of chronic brain diseases and acute neurological events (e.g. seizures). It also supports the affected patients through training and therapy in coping with the disease. With epilepsy, the influences of the underlying brain disease, seizure occurences, medication and mood on cognitive performance must be taken into account. The examination provides indications as to the location of the underlying brain damage (side and site). Another important function is estimating the reserve capacity and assessing hemispheric dominance for language and memory prior to surgery. Today, questions of quality control and quality assurance in conservative, neurostimulatory, radiological and surgical epilepsy treatment are of increasing importance. Here too, appropriate psychometric instruments are being developed for this purpose. The clinical tasks concern the comprehensive diagnostic test recording of performance problems (e.g. memory deficits) as well as changes in the patient's well-being (e.g. depression), especially before and after epilepsy surgery and before and after medication changes. As part of the multimodal complex treatment of difficult-to-treat epilepsy, patients are offered a detailed psychological consultation or behavioral medicine, psychoeducational group training. The pedagogues and occupational therapists who are involved in this programme are also assigned to the Helmstaedter group. Over the past 30 years, well over 20,000 neuropsychological examinations have been carried out on children and adults with epilepsy, many of them before and after their epilepsy surgery, or accompanying a change in medical epilepsy therapy or several times during the course of their disease (e.g. limbic encephalitis). Thus, the workgroup has extensive expertise in the field of the neuropsychological consequences of epilepsy and its treatment in childhood and adulthood. The workgroup has developed numerous test procedures , some of which are widely used today, including internationally; additional tests and questionnaires are currently under development: