Grant: $500,000 - National Institutes of Health - Sep. 22, 2009
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Award Description: A significant potential exists to modify the structure and function of the aging human brain given intensive mental stimulation and physical activity. Age-related cognitive decline has consistently been identified on frontal lobe measures of executive control such as reasoning. Concomitantly, a greater vulnerability of frontal brain networks, which subserve executive control functions, has also been identified with aging. Preliminary evidence highlights the potential of reasoning training as well as physical training to modify and strengthen brain and cognitive function in seniors. Evidence from our lab indicates that frontally mediated, gist-based reasoning (defined as the ability to combine detail information to construct abstract meanings) offers a promising cognitive domain to train. Extracting gist meaning from the massive amount of incoming information is one of the most vital mental skills a healthy mind achieves. Purpose: This proposal is an innovative study to obtain data regarding the benefits of a (a) novel gist-based reasoning training program or (b) physical training on frontal-lobe mediated cognitive measures of executive control in cognitively normal seniors. The project will also employ newly developed (a) brain measures to chart changes in brain blood flow and connectivity combined with (b) a cognitive activation task specifically designed to measure brain regions engaged in gist reasoning versus detail processing. The project also examines shorter dose effects, i.e. after 6 weeks and 12 weeks, than previously examined as well as individual differences based on high and low performers for gist and physical training. The current study seeks to discover neuroprotective, nonpharmacological interventions that could prevent mental decline and strengthen cognitive brain health in seniors, with possible societal savings of billions of dollars. This will be one of the first training studies to explore short-term intensive reasoning and physical training, each documented as pivotal to cognitive brain health with the potential to strengthen frontal regions against the losses associated with aging. Brain & Cognitive Changes after Reasoning or Exercise Training in Cognitively Normal Seniors 65 years of age and older represent one of the fastest growing segments of our society with the population doubling within the next 25 years with dramatic rates of mental decline, costing society billions of dollars each year. The proposed research seeks to discover whether relatively short term mental or physical training can enhance gist reasoning, generalize to untrained cognitive areas and modify/strengthen brain function in areas susceptible to aging processes. To identify neuroprotective and non-pharmacological interventions to prevent mental decline and maximize cognitive brain health during the course of the adult lifespan has major public policy implications.
Project Description: project not started yet
Jobs Summary: As an institute of Higher Education, UT Dallas is principally engaged in educating students and performing research. The effect of this award is to support the university?s research enterprise. As the prime recipient, university has retained and/or created jobs in the following categories: Undergraduates, Faculty, Research Science Associate Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, Post-Doctoral Fellows in accordance with awarded budget. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Not Started
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 22, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.