Neural Basis of Memory and Related Cognitive Processes
Suzanne Corkin and her colleagues use behavioral, structural brain imaging (MRI), and functional brain imaging (fMRI) paradigms to address questions concerning the cognitive and neural basis of learning and memory in humans. The research participants include patients with global amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as young and older individuals without neurological disorders. The overarching goal of this research is to identify the cognitive processes that support different kinds of memory in humans, and to relate those processes to specific brain circuits. Current research topics include further examination of emotional memory enhancement in healthy aging, and two new projects characterizing heterogeneity in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), respectively. Specifically, Corkin and colleagues are developing automated neuroanatomical labeling tools for multispectral MRI data with optimal contrast for visualizing brain regions that are targeted by PD or AD pathophysiology. The researchers will integrate these new tools with existing segmentation and parcellation methods to derive comprehensive morphometric profiles of PD and AD brains. In parallel, the Corkin Lab is developing and administering behavioral tasks that elucidate the nature and severity of individual PD and AD patients’ cognitive and psychiatric deficits. Investigators also assess putative molecular biomarkers, measured in blood and urine, which may play a role in PD or AD. Data analyses integrate results from these multiple sources using multivariate statistical and modeling techniques to examine heterogeneity in PD and AD, as well as the heritable aspects of these catastrophic disorders.
The Corkin Lab is also probing the cognitive neuroscience of healthy aging. As people age, memory and cognitive control processes (e.g., planning for the future and paying attention to important details) often decline. Corkin and her colleagues are combining magnetoencephalography, fMRI, and MRI methods to characterize the neurobiological and information processing mechanisms underlying decreased cognitive control in healthy aging.
Salat, D.H., Tuch, D.S., van der Kouve, A.J., Greve, D.N., Pappu, V., Lee, S.Y., Hevelone, N.D., Zaleta, A.K., Growdon, J.H., Corkin, S., Fischl, B., and Rosas, H.D. (2008) White matter pathology isolates the hippocampal formation in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Aging.
Piguet, O., Connally, E., Krendl, A.C., Huot, J.R., and Corkin, S. (2008) False memory in aging: effects of emotional valence on word recognition accuracy. Psychology and Aging, 23, 307-314.
Ziegler, D.A., Piguet, O., Salat, D.H., Prince, K., Connally, E., and Corkin, S. (2008) Cognition in healthy aging is related to regional white matter integrity, but not cortical thickness. Neurobiology of Aging.
Wonderlick, J.S., Ziegler, D.A., Hosseini-Varnamkhasti, P., Locascio, J.J., Bakkour, A., van der Kouwe, A., Triantafyllou, C., Corkin, S., and Dickerson, B.C. (2009) Reliability of MRI-derived cortical and subcortical morphometric measures: effects of pulse sequence, voxel geometry, and parallel imaging. Neuroimage, 44, 1324-33.