The BIRT Memory and Information Processing Battery, also known by many as the BMIPB is a technical instrument designed by The Disabilities Trust to measure different types of memory. It helps neuropsychology professionals understand how good someone’s memory is, how it might have been affected by surgery, illness or injury, and whether it has changed over time.
Earlier this year, The Disabilities Trust completed a long-term project to revise and update the original version of the battery, making improvements and adding new sub-tests. Over the course of two years, a team of researchers recruited 505 healthy volunteers, who provided new normative data. The new BMIPB-II can aid clinicians diagnose and monitor the course of conditions that are known to affect memory, such as dementia. The result can also be used to help people make the most of their strongest memory skills, as well as develop ways for compensating for the skills that are less strong, or that have been affected by injury or illness.
We listened to our users and delved into the existing evidence base to develop the new battery. The most significant development are the new norms which, in conjunction with the additional sub-tests, should make the BMIPB-II a must have in the neuropsychology toolkit.
- Dr Sara da Silva Ramos (Research Fellow)
Whilst the massive work undertaken to carry out over 600 testing sessions, has boiled down to a few tables, consisting of normative data and scoring tools, these are nevertheless extremely important in clinical practice. Firstly, this is because populations change over time. In the UK, for example, “the age structure is shifting towards later ages” (ONS, 2019), which means older age groups need to be represented in tests such as BMIPB. Secondly, we need to take into account the “Flynn effect”. The Flynn effect suggests that performance in a range of cognitive tests increases over the course of generations. This means that when compared with older norms, people today may seem to perform better than they would have done if we compared their results to up-to-date norms (Baxendale, 2010). This could, in turn, have important implications when using these tests for diagnostic purposes.
The new BMIPB-II addresses these problems by providing new norms for a larger group, and with good representation from those aged over 70 (19% of the main sample). We developed a number of new sub-tests so that memory performance can be easily compared with other areas such as naming and verbal fluency. The test also includes a task to assess long-term forgetting and has embedded indicators of performance validity. To learn more, please visit our webpage or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Compared to the previous edition, BMIPB (2007).