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2013 Grants - Negash
Implicit Learning Paradigms as Potential Markers of Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease
Selamawit Negash, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
2013 New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity
One of the greatest challenges in Alzheimer's research is the development of simple ways to detect the disease in its earliest stages, thereby distinguishing early-stage Alzheimer's disease from the changes in brain function that accompany normal aging. One capability of the brain that can be measured and may serve as way to identify early-stage Alzheimer's disease is implicit learning. Implicit learning is learning that occurs without the person being consciously aware that they are learning.
Selamawit Negash, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed to study whether measurement of implicit learning ability could be used to identify people who have early-stage Alzheimer's disease. A potential advantage of this approach is that implicit learning paradigms can be designed to utilize specific regions of the brain, such as those commonly affected by early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Thus, the researchers plan to study two implicit learning techniques that depend on brain regions affected by Alzheimer's disease. These studies could lead to the development of simple, inexpensive and noninvasive methods for identifying people who have changes in their brain consistent with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.