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Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is being used in varitey of research projects emphasing the prospective identification of critical changes in older adult’s cognitive functioning with the potential for improved and earlier diagnosis of cognitive difficulty. The NIRS equipment will serve to augment our ongoing behavioral and neuroscientific investigations of performance and brain indicators that will collectively improve early detection of those at risk for cognitive impairment. In addition to the understanding of risk factors and patterns of change, early diagnosis provides one of our best opportunities for effective treatment.

Our research lab adopts a multifaceted approach (measurement, neuropsychology, neuroscience, and biology) to the study of cognitive aging and decline. Studies include: (1) Examination of hemodynamic brain activation pre vs. post physical and/or cognitive training; (2) Examination of longitudinal changes in brain activity as an early marker of cognitive impairment; (3) Coupling of change between (in)stability of brain activations (i.e., intraindividual variability in brain) with behavioral fluctuations in cognitive performance; and (4) Including brain activation patterns as one among a number of biomarkers (e.g., coupled with physiological indicators, genetic markers) for detecting change and other later life outcomes.