Progetto di Ricerca Giovani Ricercatori – Ricerca Finalizzata 2010
Titolo: Brain and cognitive dynamics of multiple-object processing in normal aging, MCI and Alzheimer disease
PI: Veronica Mazza

The research aims at investigating the brain and cognitive dynamics of multiple-objects processing during normal and pathological aging (Alzheimer’s disease, AD and Mild Cognitive Impairment, MCI). Behavioral and electrophysiological (EEG) responses will be acquired during visual tasks, in which participants will be required to detect the presence of multiple salient elements (target) presented among irrelevant elements (distractors). The project is divided in two main phases to be performed with different participant groups respectively at CIMeC, University of Trento, and at IRCCS, Centro San Giovanni di Dio-Fatebenefratelli in Brescia.
Some behavioral studies indicate that multiple-objects processing undergoes a natural decline in aging. Therefore, as a first step we intend to check if this decline is due to a general aging of all the mental operations associated with the analysis of multiple objects (attention and late stages related to working memory) or whether one of these specific subcomponents is more selectively involved. For this purpose, a series of behavioral and EEG experiments involving the execution of visual tasks will be conducted. Typically, some geometric elements (e.g., rhombus) of different colors will be presented on a computer screen and participants will be asked to perform different types of tasks (e.g., return the number of elements marked with a salient color). In this first phase, both young and elderly healthy subjects will be tested, in order to provide evidence about which stage (attention or later stages related to working memory) is more involved in the decline associated with normal aging. Based on the experimental results obtained in this first phase, the second phase will be focalized on behavioral and neural activity in two forms of pathological aging (MCI and AD). Behavioral and neural activity of MCI and AD patients will be compared with the same patterns obtained in elderly healthy participants.

Ministry of Healt

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