How much brain power
do you use when you perform a task? That’s what Dr.
Bart Rypma is trying to understand in his research at UTD
Center for Brain Health, and the answer has important implications
for healthy aging.
In studying how
much neural activity our short-term memory requires to carry
out the business of our days, Dr. Rypma has learned that less
think that in neural activity, more means better,” he
says. “But it may be more accurate to think in terms
of efficiency—whether the brain is doing more work cognitively
with fewer neural resources.”
It seems that as
we get older, we require more neural activity in the prefrontal
cortex than younger people to perform cognitive tasks. Now
the question is – “why?” Dr. Rypma recently
received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to
study the physiological bases of age-related changes in short-term
“I hope my
work helps in the development of therapies that target specific
neural systems and vascular systems to improve the quality
of life of older adults,” he explains.
We are currently
working on several studies, click the links below to learn
Cognitive Impairment (MCI) - a comprehensive
investigation of the neural bases of working memory decline
in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by using neuroimaging and
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to understand both the brain
function and brain structure to memory declines in MCI.
Sclerosis (MS) - comprehensive investigation
of the neural basis for Multiple Sclerosis by using neuroimaging
and behavorial techniques to characterize the structural,
behavioral changes of the disease.
War Illness (GWI) - investigation of the neural bases of cognitive impairment due to GWI
Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience - behavioral and fMRI studies of auditory perception and memory, with a focus on speech and music, in normal human cognition. Topics include auditory memory distortion, priming of musical sounds, recognition of speech and music, and working memory for mainstream and underground music.