78| Neuropsychology and Sub-Saharan Africa – A Conversation With Drs. Jean Ikanga and Tony Stringer

Culturally informed neuropsychological evaluations require that clinicians develop knowledge of the macrosocietal structures of unfamiliar countries and the cultural backgrounds of their patients. Sub-Saharan Africa is a large region, with over one billion people, some of whom develop neurological conditions and could benefit from neuropsychological services. In this episode, we discuss shared aspects of sub-Saharan culture, particularly in contrast to Western norms, and we introduce and describe the African Neuropsychological Battery.

A pdf of the transcript for this episode is available here.

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Topics Covered

  • Sub-Saharan culture and their relevance to neuropsychology
  • Education, literacy rates, and food insecurity in the region
  • What psychology looks like in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Prevalence rates of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Cognitive universalist versus the cognitive relativist perspective
  • Neuropsychological assessment in Africa
  • The development of the African Neuropsychological Battery (ANB)
  • The ANB subtests
  • Current evidence supporting the psychometrics and clinical utility of the ANB
  • Future plans for the ANB

About Jean

Dr. Jean Ikanga is the first neuropsychologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has affiliations at both Emory University and the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has current grant support and multiple publications examining neurological conditions in people from sub-Saharan Africa.

About Tony

Dr. Anthony Y. Stringer, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, is a Professor and Director at Emory University Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Division of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology.  He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 40/Society for Clinical Neuropsychology) and of the National Academy of Neuropsychology.  Dr. Stringer is the author of A Guide to Adult Neuropsychology Diagnosis, the lead editor of Pathways to Prominence in Neuropsychology, and the developer of the Ecologically-Oriented Neurorehabilitation programs.  He is also the former president of American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN).

Selected Resources



Selected References

Akinyemi, R. O., Izzeldin, I. M., Dotchin, C., Gray, W. K., Adeniji, O., Seidi, O. A., … & Walker, R. (2014). Contribution of noncommunicable diseases to medical admissions of elderly adults in Africa: A prospective, cross‐sectional study in Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62(8), 1460-1466.

Hestad, K. A., Menon, J. A., Serpell, R., Kalungwana, L., Mwaba, S. O., Kabuba, N., … & Heaton, R. K. (2016). Do neuropsychological test norms from African Americans in the United States generalize to a Zambian population? Psychological Assessment, 28(1), 18-38.

Hill-Jarret, T., Ikanga, J., & Stringer, A.Y. (2017). Neuropsychology in Africa. Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, in Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., & Caplan, B (eds), Springer, New York.

Ikanga, J., Taiwo, Z., Lengu., K., Epenge, E., Esambo, H., Esilakoy, C., Gikelekele, G., Kavugho, I., Mampunza, S., Stringer, A.Y. & Spencer, R. (in press), Developing Learning Slope Scores for the African Neuropsychology Battery in a sample of healthy Congolese. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Ikanga, J., Basterfield, C., Taiwo, Z., Bragg, P., Bartlett, A., Howard, C., Spencer, R. , & Stringer, A. (in press). The Reliability of the African Neuropsychology Battery: Data from Congo and America. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology.

Lawler, K., Mosepele, M., Ratcliffe, S., Seloilwe, E., Steele, K., Nthobatsang, R., & Steenhoff, A. (2010). Neurocognitive impairment among HIV-positive individuals in Botswana: A pilot study. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 13(1), 1-9.

Olayinka, O. O., & Mbuyi, N. N. (2014). Epidemiology of dementia among the elderly in sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. doi: 10.1155/2014/195750

Owolabi, M. O., Arulogun, O., Melikam, S., Adeoye, A. M., Akarolo-Anthony, S., Akinyemi, R., … & Owolabi, L. (2015). The burden of stroke in Africa: a glance at the present and a glimpse into the future. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa, 26(2 H3Africa Suppl), S27. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2015-038

Robertson, K., Liner, J., Hakim, J., Sankalé, J. L., Grant, I., Letendre, S., … & Joseph, J. (2010). NeuroAIDS in Africa. Journal of Neurovirology, 16(3), 189-202.