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The Resilient Brain: Cognition and Ageing

Joint British Academy / British Psychological Society Lecture, delivered by Lorraine K Tyler, on 22 September 2011 (venue: The Royal Society)

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Normal healthy ageing involves widespread changes in the brain, which are thought to lead to problems with a variety of everyday cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and problem solving.

However, this view is starting to change and a more positive view is emerging in which ageing is no longer seen as an inexorable progressive decline in neural and cognitive fitness. This research focuses on what is preserved as we age, trying to understand the brain mechanisms by which cognitive functions can be preserved in spite of extensive changes in brain tissue.

In this talk Professor Tyler discussed some of the research that takes a positive view of changes across the life-span and in doing so is starting to over-turn existing stereotypes of ageing.

About the speaker
Lorraine K Tyler is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. She heads a University-wide consortium, funded by the BBSRC, to study the relationship between brain function and cognition across the adult lifespan. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995. Her most recent articles include: 'Preserving syntactic processing across the adult life span: The modulation of the frontotemporal language system in the context of age-related atrophy', Cerebral Cortex, 20:2 (2010), 352-364 [Tyler, L.K., Shafto, M.A., Randall, B., Wright, P., Marslen-Wilson, W.D., Stamatakis, E.A.)]; and 'Left inferior frontal cortex and syntax: Function, structure and behaviour in patients with left hemisphere damage', Brain, 134 (2011), 415-431 [Tyler, L.K., Marslen-Wilson, W.D., Randall, B., Wright, P., Devereux, B.J., Zhuang, J., Papoutsi, M., Stamatakis, E.A.].

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