GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Stockton University researchers want to look inside your brain — for science, of course.
A research project called The Relationship Between Brain Activity and Cognitive Reserve, led by Jessica Fleck, associate professor of psychology, will explore which lifestyle factors have the most impact on the degree of connectivity among different regions of the brain.
Prior research has shown that greater connectivity among brain areas was linked to strong thinking and memory performance in older adults. Research projects like this one could contribute to more understanding of cognitive decline and diseases like dementia.
“The National Institute on Aging suggests that changes in the physical brain may occur a decade or more before changes in memory and thinking are observed,” Fleck said. “However, research has suggested that lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and education can influence how the brain changes during aging.”
The study is looking for healthy people between the ages of 45 and 65 years old who are right-handed and do not have a prior diagnosis of dementia, neurological disorder or traumatic brain injury.
Participants will come to two one-hour sessions in early July at Stockton’s main campus in Galloway Township and will be compensated for their time.
Fleck said researchers are particularly interested in including African-American and Hispanic participants, as rates of dementia and cognitive decline are significantly higher among older adults in these groups than they are for older white adults.
Study organizers said people who are Hispanic or Latino will need to be able to read and write in English.
Researchers will study brain activity in participants with an EEG, which measures electrical activity in the brain. Other tests of memory and thinking will also be administered in the second session.
Those who are interested in participating in the project can contact Fleck and the Healthy Brain, Healthy Mind research team at 609-626-3444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.