PSYC 5285: Neurobiology of Aging: Changes in Cognitive Processes

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher. 

Instructor: Etan Markus

Recommended for clinical, developmental, and neuroscience graduate students, as well as upper level undergraduates.

Instructor permission required.

Aging is an important topic of research due to its political, economic and social implications, and the fact that we all will (hopefully) personally experience this stage in the lifespan. We will examine aging at the neurobiological, personal, and family levels. Human data will be presented together with animal models of specific age-related deficits. This will be followed by a presentation of the neurobiological changes found during aging. Finally, the relationship between the behavioral and neurobiological findings will be examined. The emphasis will be on the normal aging process, although some age-related pathologies will also be examined.

Topics include:

  • What is aging? Must we age?
  • Evolution and models of biological aging.
  • Changes in the brain: Brain imaging, EEG, neurons, dendrites & synapses
  • Changes in motor ability and perception
  • Age-related changes in complex cognitive & adaptive functioning
  • Animal models of aging
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Normal vs. pathological aging

Format: Lectures, class discussion and student presentations.