Aging Effects on Visual Memory Resolution

An fMRI Study of Complex Scene Memory in Younger and Older Adults
2008 Seed Grant
David Gallo, Ph.D.
University of Chicago

Dr. David Gallo’s experiments will advance our understanding of aging effects on visual memory
resolution, a topic with considerable value to an aging society. Visual memories are known to
depend on the integrity of medial temporal and posterior cortical areas. Not coincidentally,
functional activity in these regions also tends to be impaired in the preclinical stages of
Alzheimer’s disease (when people begin to report abnormal memory lapses, but have not yet
been diagnosed with potential disease). Understanding the effects of healthy aging on the
functional response of these regions, independent from potentially confounding psychological
variables, therefore has important health implications. By developing an fMRI technique to
objectively measure visual memory resolution in younger and older adults, this study will lay the
foundation for future fMRI studies of individual differences in visual memory resolution.
Individual differences in visual memory details, and the degree of correspondence with
subjectively reports, could serve as a potential marker for the transition between healthy aging
and the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In this way and others, knowledge of the
functional and neural consequences of healthy aging on memory is critical for our understanding
of disease-related memory impairments.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…