This is an application for a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01). The goal of the proposed project is to provide the applicant with the advanced skills needed to establish an independent research program in cognitive aging using neuroimaging approach to understanding neural basis underlying age-related cognitive changes. The Applicant proposes a comprehensive training plan which combines didactic instruction with established researchers;formal coursework;participation in ongoing seminars in Columbia University, one-to-one directed readings with mentors, and finally conduction of a prospective pilot study from beginning to end. The goal of this study will be to explore the difference in the event-related fMRI activation of young and old healthy participants groups during a delayed item recognition task. Two new approaches are proposed in this project to address;a) poor localization of fMRI data analysis and b) lack of effective measure of subjective task difficulty. This project will take advantage of three of the on-going studies data n the Cognitive Neuroscience Division for the development and evaluation of the proposed methodologies. In addition, a new pilot study will be collected with a revised delayed letter recognition task which is specifically designed for the goal of this project. The proposed project aims will therefore elucidate the interrelationships between multiple measures of neurobiological changes associated with aging and will serve as a bridge for the applicant to establish an independent investigator career in conducting neuroimaging studies in aging populations.
Two major longstanding problems in functional imaging studies comparing event-related fMRI activation in young and old groups is a) the large age-related changes in brain morphology makes it difficult to co-register brains, and b) the lack of control for subjective task difficulty on observed differences in event-related activation between young and older individuals. The current research proposes two new methodologies to address above issues and utilized them in examination of the age difference in the old and young brains activation while performing a memory task.
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