Course Details

PSYC 367: Neuropsychology of Aging

With the aging population comes a variety of challenges, including those to cognitive health and decline. Neurodegenerative diseases create various forms of dementia and cause unique problems beyond those that are an outcome of healthy aging. The disabling effects of aging and dementia extend beyond the person to family, friends and wider community. The need to understand and extend knowledge of both healthy aging and the pathological changes that occur with neurodegenerative diseases with aging is of great importance. By understanding how the brain is impacted by age, dementia, and other clinical syndromes, both management of the cognitive issues and advances in treatments to improve mental functioning can be made. This course takes a neuropsychological approach to study healthy aging and neurodegenerative disease. In this seminar, lectures and discussions explore the cognitive, behavioral, and molecular aspects of healthy aging and neurodegenerative disease processes in humans. Cognitive topics include working memory, long term memory, attention, familiarity and recollection, emotion, and social factors that interact with aging. The physiological and cognitive outcomes of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and various types of dementia are compared with the physiology and cognitive decline evident in healthy aging. Students will read primary articles on these topics, and propose a project based on course discussion and interactions with people at senior centers and convalescent centers in Northfield.  Prerequisite: Neuroscience 127 or Psychology 216 and Psychology 110 or instructor permission
6 credits; SI; Offered Fall 2019; J. Neiworth