12:34pm Saturday 21 October 2017

Psychologists Conducting Cognitive Screening, Research on Aging

With advancing age come many changes in psychological functions, not all of them bad. Sensory acuity, attention and memory show well-documented declines with age. But other faculties, such as vocabulary and emotion regulation may improve across the lifespan.

As the population of the nation and the region ages, understanding age-related changes in psychological function becomes more important. How might these changes affect the health and wellbeing of older individuals? And, more importantly, how might the impact of age-related cognitive decline on the wellbeing of our population be reduced?

These questions constitute the background for the development of a Cognitive Screening Service and Research Participant Registry for the St. Louis community. There are a number of researchers at SLU who conduct research in aging populations, but until now, they have not had ready access to a centralized database of individuals who are interested in research participation.

The goals of the research are to provide a free Cognitive Screening Service for older adults in the St. Louis community and create a Research Participant Registry for Saint Louis University researchers interested in aging.

The Research Participant Registry will maintain a database of interested research participants between the ages of 40 to 90 to provide an organized and confidential resource to identify and contact potential participants.

Cognitive Screening will act as a service to healthy aging individuals in the St. Louis community. The screening consists of a brief test battery assessing orientation, attention, learning, memory, executive function and emotion. Demographic information, such as age, gender, ethnicity, general health and contact information will also be collected. The Cognitive Screening serves the dual purpose of assessing for cognitive problems as well as for enrollment into the Research Participant Registry.

The initiative is designed to make research participation a positive, educational experience that aids research while protecting the privacy and dignity of participants.

Current topics of aging research include memory, stress, decision making, brain correlates of aging, age-based discrimination and employment across the lifespan.

Members the University’s Psychology and Aging research group, along with their areas of expertise are:

  • Tony Buchanan, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator) – The influence of stress on cognition across the adult lifespan
  • David Kaufman, Ph.D. – Neuropsychological effects of aging on cognition
  • Brenda Kirchhoff, Ph.D. – Structural and functional neuroimaging of memory formation in aging
  • Donna LaVoie, Ph.D. – Effects of aging on memories and false memory susceptibility in older adults
  • Cort Rudolph, Ph.D. – Aging and work performance across the adult lifespan
  • Lisa Willoughby, Ph.D. – Cognitive function and wellbeing in older adults

Facts about SLU’s Department of Psychology Free Memory Screening

  • What Does It Involve? You will complete brief tests of your memory and thinking. Respondents with memory concerns will be offered referrals to the Psychological Services Center and the Geriatric Psychiatry Division at Saint Louis University. We will also ask you if are interested in becoming a part of our registry of people in the community who might be interested in participating in future research opportunities at ¬Saint Louis University.
  • Can I participate? Volunteers must be at least 40 years of age and be able to travel to Saint Louis University for participation.
  • I’m Interested! For more details, please call (314) 977-2296 or send us an email message including your telephone number, and the best time(s) to reach you by phone at slu.cns.lab@gmail.com. If no one is able to answer your call, leave your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to return your call.
Jeanette Grider
314.977.2538

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