Memory complaints are abundant even in healthy elderly, and a clear-cut distinction between pathological declines and normative changes is not easily drawn. Cumulative evidence from research on amnesia suggests that specific areas of the brain may be critically important for acquisition, maintenance and retrieval of memories. In spite of considerable gains of the last decades, our understanding of the relationship between brain aging and the associated declines in memory is still lacking. Aging does not affect all memory functions uniformly. Declarative memory is impaired both in healthy elderly and in amnesiacs, priming is relatively spared in both groups, whereas skill and source memory are spared in amnesia, but impaired in aging. The question is, whether this pattern of selective age-related memory deficits reflects a distinct pattern of brain deterioration. The main objective of the proposed project is to provide a better understanding of the neuroanatomical substrates of the memory functions declining with age. In a series of studies, healthy adults aged 18-88 will undergo tests of amnestic and cognitive functions. The size of specific brain structures will be estimated from magnetic resonance imaging scans using computer-assisted morphometry. The relations between tissue volume in the brain regions of interest (ROIs) and memory functions will be examined using linear models. The following questions will be addressed in three studies. 1. Is age-related atrophy of the hippocampal formation and diencephalic structures predictive of declines in declarative memory? 2. Is intact neocortex necessary for normal repetition priming? 3. Are age-related differences in source memory linked to age-dependent prefrontal cortical atrophy through the decline in working memory? 4. Are the deficits in procedural (skill) memory, frequently observed in older adults, related to age-dependent atrophy of the basal ganglia and the cerebellum?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
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University of Memphis
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Brandmaier, Andreas M; Wenger, Elisabeth; Bodammer, Nils C et al. (2018) Assessing reliability in neuroimaging research through intra-class effect decomposition (ICED). Elife 7:
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