Edinburgh Imaging

25 Sep 15. Dr Alexa Morcom

Dr Alexa Morcom, a senior lecturer, discusses her research into cognitive neuroscience of old age.


Transcript - Dr Alexa Morcom

"My name is Dr Alexa Morcom and I’m interested in the cognitive neuroscience of old age.

A puzzle we are currently looking at is the finding from brain imaging studies that older adults seem to activate more regions of the brain compared to the young.

It’s been proposed that this over activation represents some form of compensation, supporting mental function in old age. But, it may just reflect inefficiency due to the brain damage that we know occurs. So to test these completing theories we need ways to characterise the different activity panels they predict.

We recently applied a new method of analysis to adjust this problem. Our results first of all generalised some earlier findings showing that activity in the older adults was more bilateral in the frontal lobes, when forming new memories.

We also found that activity was more distributed across multiple peaks or blogs.

A key future question is how to make these activity patterns to individual memory abilities in older age."