PBS Colloquium

Dartmouth Events

PBS Colloquium

Veronique Bohbot, PhD, McGill University

Friday, February 10, 2017
Moore B03
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Please join us in Moore BO3 on Friday, February 10, 2017, at 4 p.m., as Veronique Bohbot, Researcher at Douglas Institute and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, presents  “Early Detection and Intervention in Healthy Older Adults at Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Abstract:  A larger hippocampus has been associated with healthy cognition in normal aging and with a reduced risk of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and Depression. The hippocampus is implicated in spatial memory strategies used when finding one’s way in the environment, i.e. it is allocentric and involves remembering the relationship between landmarks. On the other hand, a compensatory strategy dependent on the caudate nucleus can also be used, i.e. the response strategy, which relies on making a series of stimulus-response associations (e.g. right and left turns from given positions). Measures of spontaneous navigation strategies from ages 8 to 80 yrs have shown a decrease in spatial memory strategies across the life span, along with a reduction in activity and grey matter in the hippocampus.

Interestingly, those using spatial memory in old age showed increased fMRI activity and grey matter in the hippocampus, suggesting a tight relationship between structure and function maintains in aging. Furthermore, super heathy individuals with the ApoE4 genotype, using response strategies, had atrophy in the entorhinal cortex, a region known to predict conversion rates to Alzheimer’s disease. In order to reverse this process and stimulate the hippocampus, we spent 5 years to develop a 16-h spatial memory improvement program that promotes the use of spatial strategies in 46 different virtual environments, varying in size and complexity. Results indicate that completion of our cognitive intervention was associated with spatial memory improvements, increases in activity and grey matter of the hippocampus. Our findings suggest that spatial memory, which involves learning the relationship between environmental landmarks, is critical to hippocampal function which in turn, may have an impact on the incidence of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Support: CIHR

A reception will follow outside of Moore 202.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Powers
603 6463181

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.