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PSY313H5 Study Guide - Prospective Memory, Metamemory

Course Code
Giampaolo Moraglia

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- with the baby boom generation, a change is occuring in how adults think and deal with their
own development
- people are becoming more interested in adult development and aging
continue reading chapter 1 notes in binder
- periods of development notes from binder up to aging
Pg. 35-63- read chapter 2 notes in binder
Pg 85- 99- sensorimotor functioning notes to
Pg. 130- 138
Neurological system
- also known as the nervous system-
- it is a communication link among cells and organs of the body, and it is important for the
functioning of many other body systems (sensory perception, motor control)
- it has 2 parts
1) central nervous system – brain and the spinal cord- responsible for higher order functions- ex.
Memory, language, intelligent behaviour, reflexes
2) peripheral nervous system- connects the CNS to the rest of the body
Structural and functional changes
- brain changes with age, but it varies for different people
- in healthy older people, changes are slight, don’t make much of a difference
- brain increases in weight until age 30, then slight weight loss, followed by a rapid weight loss
- by age 90, may lose 10% of its weight- perhaps because it loses its neurons, nerve cells- don’t
replace themselves
- different parts of the brain lose different numbers of neurons
- ex. Cerebellum loses alot- affecting balance and fine motor coordination
* loss of brain matter
- functional change= slowing of responses- reflexes dissapear
- slowing down of the central nervous system can affect physical coordination and intellectual
- interferes with ability to learn and remember, poor performance on timed tests (ex. Intelligence)
- however, nerve cells may create more dendrites- compensates for loss of neurons by increasing
synapses (or connections) among remaining cells
- autonomic nervous system is apart of peripheral nervous system
- declines with old age- harder to stand extreme temperatures, less control over anal muscles and
Dementia- confusion, forgetfulnes, personality changes
- physiologically based intellectual and behavioural breakdown

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- doesn’t happen to all aging people
- most are irreversible, some can be changed with treatment
- dementias thought to be due to other causes fall under Alzhiemers
Dreaded diseases of aging
- most common and most feared terminal illnesses for aging people
- robs people of intelligence, awareness, ability to control bodily functions, kills them
- prevalence is expected to increase
- risk of it increases with age – thus if people are living longer, will be at greater risk for it
- memory impairment, breakdown of language, deficits in visual and spatial processing
- can’t recall recent events or take in new information
- personality changes- egocentric, impaired emotional control, rigid (can help in early detection)
- irritability, anxiety, depression, delusions, wandering
- longterm memory, judegement, orientation become impaired- can’t do basic activities in daily
- can’t remember family, can’t control bladder, can’t eat, can’t walk
- death comes 8-10 years after symptoms appear
Causes and risk factors
- an abnormal protein beta amyloid peptide accumulates
- brain also contains alot of neurofibrillary tangles (twisted masses of dead neurons) and
amyloid plaque (nonfunctioning issue formed between spaces in neurons)
- AD is heritable-
- but education and cognitively stimulating activities can reduce risk
-by building a cognitive reserve: allows a deteriorating brain to continue to function under stress
up to a certain point without showing impairment (how cognitive activity can protect against
- diet, excercise, lifestyle (less saturated fats, more unhydrogenated, vitamin E)
- smoking increases risk
- sleep apnea, head injuries early in life
Diagnosis and prediction:
- can only fully be diagnosed by looked at the brain tissue of a dead person
- tools for living patients= neuroimaging- can see brain lesions
- reduced metabolic activity in hippocampus can predict a memory impairment in the next 9
- blood tests that measure amyloid proteins can predict it in early stages
- neurocognitive screening tests, paper-pen cognitive tests, psychometric tests
- genetic testing has a limitied role
- healthy middle-aged people who don’t show symptoms, and have the APOE-e4 gene- show
decline in spatial attention, working memory, prospective memory (wha to do int he future)

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Treatment and prevention
- no cure- but early treatment and diagnosis can improve quality of life
- medication= memantine- inhibits action of glutamate – which can overstimulate brain cells
resulting in cell damage
- may be given with cholinesterase inhibitors and alot of vitamin E
- memory training and memory aids can improve cognitive functioning, behavioural therapies
imrpove communication,
- drugs can reeduce depression
- proper diet with exercise = important
CANCER- a disorder of many systems
- a term for 100 different diseases
- involves uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells- if untreated, invades healthy tissue
- can spread to many body organs
- 2nd leading cause of death in elderly
- weak immune system-
- older people have had more time to develop cancers- which take time to grow
- some cancers are more curable than others (ex. Skin cancer)
- death rates for some types have decreased, others increased (lung cancer)
- discovering 2 mutant genes of cancer in colon and rectum- can also help identify other types
- mutations prevent errors in DNA to be corrected- that arise in cell divison- thus cell
multiplication is not controlled
- not all cancers are genetic- some are created by environmental carcinogens- cancer causing
agents like pollution, pesticides, plastics, exposure to sun
- avoid smoking, eat healthy, excercise, to prevent it
- chemotherapy (anticancer drugs), radiation treatments, surgery, people can live alittle longer
- have discovered telomerase- enzyme present in most cancers, allows tumour cells to grow-
medications are trying to block its action
- gender related cancers= breast cancer and prostate cancer
- chance of it increases with age
- early detection is key to treating it
-mammography- X-ray used for early detection- detect 1-3 yrs before lump is felt
- clinical examinations are also important
- 2 genes responsbible-
- thus genetic screening occurs in women with strong family histories, also Tamoxifen- reduce
the risk
- alcoholincreases risk
- long term use of hormone replacement therapy- increases risk (but not estrogen alone)
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