Marsha R Penner
Selected research topics of contemporary interest. Quarterly listings of specific offerings are available at departmental advising office.
This course will provide an overview of key biological, psychological, and social issues associated with aging, including the neurobiology of aging, cognitive changes associated with aging, and the social impact of increasingly older population demographics. We will consider the most current theories of aging, and will examine data collected from human subjects as well as from animal models of aging. In additional, while we will consider 'pathological' aging (e.g. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias) we will also spend a significant amount of time considering 'normal' aging. These topics will be covered via lectures and student-led presentations. Specific topics that will be covered in class include (but are not limited to): genetics of longevity; genetics of human brain aging and limits of heritability; lifestyle effects on brain aging including exercise, nutrition, and cognitive stimulation; studying aging in populations versus individuals.
Student learning goals
Develop an understanding the of current state of research into the physiology and mechanisms of aging.
Develop an understanding of the current state of research regarding the impact of lifestyle (e.g. exercise, nutrition, mental exercise) on aging and the quality of life of the aged.
Become familiar with common research techniques and methodologies used in the study of aging and neuroscience.
Be able to read, present, discuss, and critically evaluate empirical research in the aging field.
General method of instruction
This class will meet twice a week. The first class of the week (Tuesday) will be devoted to lecture and discussions that provide an overview of the topic under consideration. The second class of the week will be devoted to student led presentation/discussion periods that will be aimed at delving into a particular topic in more depth.
Class assignments and grading
Grades will be based on the following work: Presentation 25%, Term Paper 25%, Weekly Critical Analysis Papers 25%, Participation 25%.