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Neuropsychology and Aging Laboratory Neuropsychology and Aging Laboratory

Welcome!

The long-term goal of the work in the Neuropsychology and Aging laboratory is to keep older adults functioning independently at home with high quality of life, while reducing caregiver burden and cost of care to society. If you are a student and interested in getting involved, please email: schmitter-e@wsu.edu.

Cognitive Aging and Dementia Neuropsychology Research

The goal of this research program is to develop cognitive interventions that will help older individuals with progressive neurological disorders (e.g., AD, PD) delay functional disability and increase their quality-of-life. Participants in many of our studies are healthy older adults and early-stage dementia patients who complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess different cognitive skills (e.g., memory, problem-solving). We are currently investigating the relationship between memory deficits and everyday functional disabilities, and experimenting with several interventions and smart environment technologies to help persons with dementia compensate in their daily lives for declining memory.

Traumatic Brain Injury Neuropsychology Research

Difficulties with memory, attention and complex problem-solving are common cognitive problems that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI). By bridging basic science research with rehabilitation techniques, our work is designed to help persons with TBI overcome cognitive difficulties. Participants in our studies complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess many different types of cognitive abilities. In conjunction with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, we have investigated the recovery process of several important cognitive abilities (e.g., time perception, prospective memory, self-monitoring, and metamemorial abilities) following a TBI. We have also evaluated the efficacy of using a simulated community environment in rehabilitation (e.g., facsimiles of grocery store, cross walk, restaurant) and the efficacy of a newly developed diagnostic instrument administered within the simulated community.

Get Involved:

If you are interested in participating in our research, please give our lab a call to see what studies you may qualify for. Our number is 509-335-4033.

Donate to the Howard Hosick Student Research Fund Here

Howard Hosick was a professor of Zoology and Genetics at WSU for 34 years. Late in 2004 he began to have memory and administrative function difficulties, and finally in April of 2006 he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 62. During that time he found out about a class that was going to be held for people with memory issues and their spouses, given by Dr. Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe. As a result of this experience, Dr. Hosick was able to use a memory notebook for the next two or three years. Dr. Hosick’s wife, Cynthia, was his primary caregiver. Because of her experience, Dr. Schmitter-Edgecombe invited her to join class panels about memory issues and caregiving challenges, and to participate in some related research to find technology that could be helpful for a memory-impaired person. Dr. Hosick had some research funds remaining after his retirement. The personal help the Hosicks gratefully received from Maureen’s research, and the ensuing friendship between Dr. Schmitter-Edgecombe and Mrs. Hosick, led to the decision to donate the funds to be used for graduate student support in Maureen’s lab.