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 neuropsychological disorders.
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
Internship/Residency - Clinical NeuropsychologyUniversity of Arizona Health Sciences Center
Ph.D. - Clinical PsychologyNew School University
Activities and honors
Clinical NeuropsychologyAmerican Board of Professional Psychology
Awards and honors
Laird S. Cermak AwardInternational Neuropsychological Society
Grass Young Investigator AwardAmerican Epilepsy Society
- 2021 - present
American Academy of Clinical Neurophysiology
- 2013 - present
American Epilepsy Society
- 2008 - present
International Neuropsychological Society