Karen Blackmon, Ph.D., studies cognitive and emotional
changes across the lifespan in people with epilepsy. She is committed to global
capacity building to improve prevention and management of epilepsy and
Research Focus Areas
- Neuropsychological comorbidities in epilepsy. Epilepsy
is associated with memory problems, depression, and anxiety. Recurrent seizures, medication side effects,
loss of work, and social stigma can all contribute to comorbidity risk, Neurobiological
factors also play a role and remain poorly defined. Dr. Blackmon researches
neurobiological factors that increase the risk of neuropsychological
comorbidities in epilepsy, particularly those that contribute to the risk of
cognitive or psychiatric decline following epilepsy surgery.
- Brain malformations and cognition. Brain
malformations can directly disrupt cognitive and behavioral networks, giving
rise to seizures and neuropsychological disorders. Dr. Blackmon investigates
the degree to which malformations of cortical development negatively impact
cognition and behavior using neuropsychological testing and MRI morphometry.
- Viral encephalitis. Dr. Blackmon studies
the long-term consequences of viral encephalitis on cognition. She is part of
an international consortium that is tracking children exposed to Zika virus in
utero, to identify risk factors for long-term disability. She is working with a
team of neurologists and infectious disease specialists at Mayo Clinic to understand
the long-term effects of COVID-19 on cognition and mental health.
- Global health. Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide. The bulk of this
burden is felt in low-income and middle-income countries, where there are
limited resources for prevention and management of neurological disease. Dr.
Blackmon has been working to build capacity for epilepsy diagnosis and care in
the Eastern Caribbean in partnership with local health care providers and
researchers, with the goal of reducing epilepsy-associated disability burden.
Significance to Patient Care
Tracking and characterizing cognitive and emotional
symptoms associated with epilepsy is essential for identifying factors that
exacerbate and mitigate the risk of disability in people living with epilepsy.
Knowledge gained through research can be shared with partners in low-income and
middle-income countries to improve prevention and management of neurological
disorders and ultimately, to reduce global disparities in disability rates for
people with neurological disorders.
- Memory Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
- Global Health
Mayo Clinic locations
Post Doctoral Fellowship - Clinical NeuropsychologyNew York University School of Medicine
Activities and honors
Awards and honors
Laird S. Cermak AwardInternational Neuropsychological Society
Grass Young Investigator AwardAmerican Epilepsy Society