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Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Noninvasive neuromodulation for impaired cognition
In the past century, age-related cognitive deficits and dementia have surged, and this trend is expected to intensify with the rapidly aging global population. The cognitive decline associated with normal aging primarily consists of impairments in memory which can affect decision-making, visual-spatial ability, language, personality, and ultimately diminish quality of life. In this talk, I will present neuroscience evidence from my laboratory suggesting that we may soon be able to reverse some components of memory decline in older people. Our approach aims to modify brain network synchronization patterns through the safe and noninvasive application of low-intensity electrical alternating current. The approach is guided by models of electrical fields, personalized to individual brain network dynamics, and applied using high-definition electrodes to achieve maximum spatial resolution. We have validated the approach across a series of randomized, double blind, sham-controlled studies with healthy younger and older people and, preliminarily, in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. The results show how noninvasive neuromodulation can be used to selectively isolate and augment signatures of neuroplasticity (i.e., theta-gamma cross-frequency coupling and theta phase synchronization), leading to various forms of memory improvements, with effects lasting at least one month. The overarching goals of this research program are to leverage innovative neuroscience tools and analytic procedures to deepen our understanding of the brain mechanisms behind age-related cognitive impairments, and ultimately, to contribute new knowledge to the development of effective, non-pharmacological interventions for addressing cognitive decline in healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
A pizza lunch will be served. Please bring your own beverage.
This is a joint seminar with the Penn brainSTIM Center.