MEMORY AND COGNITION IN ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND AGING

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

It is well known that learning and memory depend on adequate attention and
cognitive processing of information to be remembered, that cueing is
necessary to elicit complete recall of all items from storage, and that
effective cueing depends on adequate processing of the cue with its target
when information about the target is encoded. Investigation of the
apparent memory deficits which seem to be a major feature of aging and
dementia has been limited by the difficulty of inducing effective
processing at encoding and retrieval. This project will induce encoding of
information needed for retrieval by asking the subject to search an array
of pictures or words to identify each item as specified by an appropriate
cue (such as its category) so that the same cue can be used to elicit cued
recall of items not recovered by free recall. Identification of each item
shows that the processing has been carried out, that the item can be named,
and results in effective cued recall. Speed of cued recall, which reveals
differences in memory not shown by number of items recalled, also will be
investigated. The long-term objectives are to show that apparent memory
deficits of normal healthy aged can be eliminated when processing is
controlled, to more accurately assess maximum memory capacity in
Alzheimer's disease (AD), and to investigate encoding and retrieval of
memory traces by normal aged and patients with AD. The specific aims are
to show: that normal aged can learn and remember as well as young but that
patients with AD cannot encode or retrieve as much or recall as quickly;
that normal aged can encode enough information for recall of each item by
two cues and for recall of two items by a single cue, but that patients
with AD cannot; that normal aged do not forget more rapidly but that
patients with AD do; and that recall failure by normal aged and by patients
with AD is due to retrieval failure, and that patients with AD have more
retrieval failures. Demonstration of intact learning and memory by normal
healthy aged implies that impaired learning and memory despite effective
processing is due to disease that may be treatable or preventable.
Accurate evaluation of learning and memory capacity when processing is
controlled at encoding and retrieval is needed to understand the
interaction of memory and cognition in the dementia of AD, to correlate the
dementia with neuropathologic changes, and to evaluate the effects.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date12/31/891/1/90

Funding

  • National Institute on Aging
  • National Institute on Aging
  • National Institute on Aging

ASJC

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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