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Title: Investigating neurophysiological changes in ageing and their relation to recognition memory using advanced MRI
Author: Cox, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5947 1253
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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It is believed that with ageing comes a decline in many cognitive processes, ranging from memory, language and executive function to response inhibition and motor and visual processes. However, memory has attracted much attention and is of particular interest in ageing research. This is because it is a form of cognition that probably suffers the clearest decline with age, and can have a detrimental effect on day-to-day living. Additionally, as people are living longer these problems are affecting an increasing number of people and has therefore become an issue of concern. It is believed that these declines stem from neurophysiological changes that occur alongside ageing. It can be seen that research into this area is of particular importance to better understand the healthy ageing brain, and how illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease differ from this normal progression. The focus of this PhD project addresses this issue by exploring healthy age-related declines in recognition memory and their neural correlates, using brain imaging techniques to investigate underlying changes in brain structure. Novel recognition memory tasks were developed (Chapter 4) to tap underlying processes supporting scene recognition (recollection and familiarity), and were run alongside selected cognitive tasks taken from existing standardised batteries (Chapter 5). In addition to these behavioural measures, MR imaging datasets were collected relating to structural (Chapter 6), perfusion and functional (Chapter 7) as well as diffusion (Chapter 8) measures of the brain. The relationships between these imaging measures were investigated in Chapter 9, in addition to looking at how they related individually to a measure of recollection memory when accounting for the influence each imaging measure had on the others. Overall, age effects were found for the novel recognition memory tasks, in particular showing a significant decline in recollection performance with age. This was associated with a number of neurophysiological measures (functional, perfusion, diffusion and volume) which also showed age-related changes. After taking into account the relative contribution of these measures to task performance, no single imaging measure was found to be a significant predictor of recollection performance.
Supervisor: Parker, Geoffrey; Montaldi, Daniela; Parkes, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: fMRI ; Memory ; Aging ; Perfusion ; Diffusion ; Hippocampus