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

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…