The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Dr. Michael Derek Rugg $3,305,350 for his research on Neural Selectivity, Retrieval-Related Reinstatement, and Age-Related Memory Decline. This project aims to investigate the connection between encoding- and retrieval-related neural activity as well as the possible contribution of the degree of encoding-related neuronal differentiation and reinstatement to age-related memory decline. By building on recent work using functional and structural fMRI, this project also plans to examine the cross-sectional profile of neural selectivity, reinstatement, the anterior shift, and their relationships with memory performance, in a large (N=160) lifespan sample of cognitively healthy adults with an age range between 18-90 years).
This project also aims to conduct a further analysis on anterior medial temporal regions that have been strongly implicated in pre-clinical and early Alzheimer’s Disease, along with conducting a second study and third study that will assess whether the findings from this project will generalize to the auditory modality and examine the role of retrieval demands (recall of general vs. specific details from the study event) on age differences in the anterior shift. In light of developing further research for Human Complex Mental Function studies, his research will contribute to the understanding of age-related differences in cognitive abilities, and the brain systems supporting them, that accompany age- and Alzheimer’s-related episodic memory decline.