Facilities and research methods

Research methodologies

The NPBD Unit measures and assesses neurocognitive function and related biomarkers using a range of innovative research methodologies.

Neurocognitive testing

We conduct paper-based and computerised neurocognitive assessments using:

  • Computerised Mental Performance Assessment (COMPASS) battery, developed to capture the effects of nutritional interventions on cognitive performance
  • Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) battery used in over 1000 clinical trials, including those assessing effects of food ingredients and supplements.
  • Tailored cognitive assessments that can be marked and paired with neuro-imaging methods (E-PRIME)
  • Validated and tailored infant/child assessments under parallel testing procedures and sensitive to physiological change.
  • Psychiatric, Stress and mood assessments


Salford University and collaborating institutions house a variety of neuroimaging technologies to study cognition, development, decision-making and brain metabolomics.

  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS).
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)- Housed/ collaboration with Lancaster University.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Housed/ collaboration at Salford Royal Hospital.
  • Magnetic Resolution Spectroscopy (MRS) Housed/ collaboration at Salford Royal Hospital.

Cognition-relevant biomarkers

We have the capability to study the biomarkers from different bio fluids (blood, saliva, urine) and their relationship to cognitive performance such as:

  • Reactive Oxygen Species (Oxidative stress).
  • Nutrient levels (e.g. vitamins, blood glucose etc.)
  • Proteomics (salivary proteome analysis) – In collaboration with University of Sheffield.
  • Cytokines (i.e. Inflammation and immunity)
  • Hormones (i.e. stress hormones, sex hormones, gut hormones)