Multisensory integration in aging and Alzheimer’s disease

As people age, their senses become less sharp. Healthy older adults can combine information from different senses, such as hearing and vision, to make up for this. Alzheimer’s disease attacks the areas of the brain that combine sensory information. Because of this, Alzheimer’s disease patients may lose the ability to compensate for reduced sensation. This could explain why Alzheimer’s disease patients have a much larger risk of serious falls.

For my project, I will study the brain activity involved in combining information across different senses. I will record brain activity from healthy young adults, healthy older adults, and Alzheimer’s disease patients. The participants will perform a task requiring them to quickly and accurately combine visual and auditory information. I will compare recordings from the different groups to see how aging and Alzheimer’s disease affect the brain activity.

The information I learn from my project will inform approaches to treatment and accommodation. My ultimate goal is to help people live fuller, more independent lives as long as possible.