The Krieger Mind/Brain Institute (MBI) presents a talk by Peter Rapp, Ph.D., on April 22, 2013 at 4 p.m. Dr. Rapp is a Senior Investigator at the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience and Chief of the Neurocognitive Aging Section of the National Insitute of Aging. He will be presenting in the MBI Conference Room.
Topic Introduction: Deficits in memory and other domains of cognitive function are among the most troubling signs of aging. Alongside the devastating impairments of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders, a much larger segment of the population experiences milder decline in cognitive health that is nonetheless sufficient compromise the quality of life and capacity for independent living. An earlier view was that neuron death is an inevitable consequence of growing older and the proximal cause of age-related cognitive impairment. Pronounced and distributed neuronal degeneration, however, is now understood to be a signature of pathological aging, and considerable evidence suggests instead that the brain changes associated with normal aging are regionally selective, involving relatively subtle alterations in connectivity and a blunted capacity for dynamic modification. The magnitude of these neurocognitive changes varies substantially across individuals, and growing interest has focused on strategies to promote optimally healthy outcomes. Studies in preclinical animal models have provided a valuable window on these issues.