The University of Louisiana at Monroe is seeking volunteers for a study into the causes of age-related dementia.
The study is a joint venture of ULM and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention.
ULM will offer free memory and language assessments to individuals 60 years old and older who have never suffered a stroke or serious head injury and have no previous diagnosis of dementia.
The data collected will be used as part of the Louisiana Brain Aging Study, through which researchers hope to develop methods for early detection of dementia and preventative measures.
“We’re excited to be a part of this noteworthy and monumental study,” said Karen Kopera-Frye, head of the ULM gerontology, sociology and political science departments. “We hope to identify the precursors to dementia and how normal age-related change affects memory, both short-term and long-term.”
The assessments will take place on ULM’s campus. They are intended to help researchers understand how aging affects language and memory in healthy individuals and those who later develop dementia, Kopera-Frye said.
With that information, researchers may be able to identify precursors and early signs of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, she said.
“We know very little about how it works and changes,” she said. “No one has ever followed a group and seen what kind of test scores they had before dementia.”