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MRI Story Study

Research Background

AD and other dementias are characterized by a decline in semantic memory. Semantic memory is the ability to recall names, words, and concepts, which is important for language and communication. Because these abilities remain relatively intact in healthy aging compared to other cognitive abilities, semantic memory tests may offer an effective way to identify dementia. Changes in cognition are thought to follow changes in brain activity, but the brain is able to "compensate", meaning affected individuals may behaviorally show little to no changes in overall cognition, despite AD-related in their underlying brain function. Consequently, by the time that semantic deficits can be observed behaviorally in AD, it is often too late for interventions to be effective. Therefore, identifying early disruptions in cognition in individuals at risk for AD and the ways in which the brain can remain resilient against these disruptions are critical for forecasting AD and other dementias. 

An outstanding problem is that there currently is no standard way of identifying early changes at the brain neural level. Given that semantic memory remains relatively intact in healthy aging compared to other cognitive functions and that AD pathology is known to disrupt brain regions involved in semantic memory processes, tests of semantic memory in language comprehension may be especially informative in identifying individuals at risk for AD.

Study Aims

  • Test the feasibility of using story comprehension to detect early changes in brain function and cognition to identify individuals at risk for AD

Study Participation 

The MRI Story study is a pilot study recruiting adults ages 65-89 years old. MRI Story involves

  • 1 cognitive assessment involving memory and thinking 

  • 1 fMRI brain scan

  • 1 blood draw


​Participants will be paid up to $50 for completion of all study measures. 

COVID Procedures: We follow all NY state and University of Rochester Medical Center guidelines to ensure your and our staff's safety. A mask is required at all times when inside our facilities. We will conduct screening questionnaires and perform temperature checks upon your arrival and escort to our lab. All staff are screened daily and wear personal protective equipment (i.e., gloves, mask, face shield) during study visits. The number of staff and visitors to our lab is limited to those essential for in-person activities, and all interview rooms and equipment are disinfected regularly, as well as before and after each participant's appointment.  

Interested in

participating in a study

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