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Class 8. Cognition+Neuroimaging.docx

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University of Ottawa
Vanessa Taler

Cognition & Neuroimaging What is Cognition?  Cognition is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension  It includes thinking, knowing, remembering, judging and problem-solving.  These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception and planning. Subfields of Cognition  Memory  Executive function (attention, judgment, inhibition)  Language  Categorization & knowledge representation  Numerical cognition  ... Episodic Memory  Some decline in normal aging  Severely impaired in some forms of dementia Other Memory Systems  Semantic & procedural memory are generally intact in normal aging  working memory: some decline is observed in normal aging  Semantic & procedural memory exhibit impairment in some conditions:  semantic memory: AD, semantic dementia  procedural memory: PD  working memory: AD, some decline in normal aging Language  Language function is generally intact, or even improved, in older adults.  However, it is affected in certain brain disorders: Stroke: can have difficulty with production—especially of function words—or with comprehension Alzheimer’s disease: difficulty with knowing the meanings of words Semantic dementia: similar to AD but more specific & severe Executive Function  Executive functions are a set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors  executive function is necessary for goal-directed behavior  includes the ability to: initiate and stop actions monitor and change behavior as needed plan future behavior in novel situations  Also includes concept formation & abstract thinking Executive Function in Aging  Executive function declines in healthy older adults  Notable is a decline in inhibitory function which impacts multiple domains  Older adults also have more difficulty with dual-task paradigms  Results are more than just cognitive: impaired executive function impacts many instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), from driving to risk of falls How Do we Study Cognitio
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