New project examines the locus coeruleus and memory selectivity in Alzheimer’s disease

Sara Gallant received a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the BrightFocus Foundation to examine the effects of emotional arousal on attention and memory selectivity during aging and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The project will focus on the locus coeruleus (LC), which helps the brain to selectively focus on important information and ignore distraction when we’re alarmed or excited (Lee et al., 2018). Using a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, and psychophysiological approaches, we will examine how the LC’s ability to facilitate cognitive selectivity changes with age and as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. This is an important question to address in light of recent evidence that the LC is one of the first brain regions to exhibit tau pathology, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (Braak et al., 2011).

Read more about the project here:

Braak, H., Thal, D. R., Ghebremedhin, E., & Del Tredici, K. (2011). Stages of the pathologic process in Alzheimer disease: age categories from 1 to 100 years. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 70, 960-969.

Lee, T. H., Greening, S. G., Ueno, T., Clewett, D., Ponzio, A., Sakaki, M., & Mather, M. (2018). Arousal increases neural gain via the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system in younger adults but not in older adults. Nature Human Behavior, 2, 356-366