Neuropsychological lab is the cognitive branch of our lab for behavioral, functional, cognitive, and perceptual testing, which is a core component of our research and included in all of our studies.
In addition, we employ several cognitive training paradigms in our research that allows us to tailor to older adults with a variety of cognitive and functional abilities. These paradigms are typically administered on a computer or tablet, or during an MRI scan to assess changes in brain activity simutaneously.
The Cardio Lab is the exercise branch of our lab where we conduct cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) to
measure cardiopulmonary function and aerobic capacity. Our exercise equipment includes a Precore RBK 835 recumbent cycle ergometer (i.e. inclined bike) and a Parvo Medics TrueOne 2400 metabolic cart. We also collect electrocardiography (ECG) data during CPET for cardiac electrophysiological analysis and monitoring participant safety.
Currently, we use the Cardio Lab to research the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function. We conduct graded exercise tests (GXT) to develop individualized exercise schedules for participants in our aerobic-cognitive intervention to see whether a combined intervention provides a synergistic effect on cognitive function.
Recumbent cycle ergometer (bike)
ECG (or EKG) is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on body. Although ECG is typically used in to examine cardiac function, recent studies have reported that specific components of ECG are closely related to central nervous system function (e.g. Thayer et al., 2009).
We combine ECG with brain imaging techniques to investigate whether this combined methodology can serve as an avenue to better understand brain function and neurodegenerative processes.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Functional MRI is widely used in studies to explore the brain function. We perform our fMRI assessments at the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging (RCBI), a research facility offering a state-of-the-art Siemens Prisma 3T magnet.
We use T1, resting-state and task-related fMRI, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to assess changes in brain function and structure characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases, in addition to intervention-related neuroplasticity.
The Golisano Children’s Hospital at URMC operates a unified 3T Siemens Biograph mMR PET/MR scanner. We utilize this scanner for assessing brain pathology (e.g., glucose hypometabolism, amyloidosis) that occurrs in aging or neurodegeneration.
EEG is a non-invasive method used to directly record neural activity in the brain along the scalp. EEG equipment consists of a 64-channel acquisition system connected to a fabric cap that records brain activity during rest and/or a task. We collaborate with researchers at URMC and UR Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences for this area of research.