RESEARCH POSITIONSIN NEURAL ENGINEERING
Trinity Centre for Bioengineering
Cognitive decline and its consequences is one of the biggest limiting factors to independence in the elderly. The prevalence of cognitive impairment sharply increases with age. In the next decade, the number of people over 60 is forecast to double from Year 2002 count, growing to almost 1.2 billion people. By 2050 this will increase to 2 billion and the cost of caring for the elderly over 80 in OECD countries may triple from current level of 1.5% of gross domestic product. Considerable research is directed at a better understanding of the mechanisms of ageing, specifically those associated with cognitive function. Recent evidence has suggested that age-related changes in behaviour, brain structure
and brain function may be far more complex than previously thought. Based on these behavioural findings and the results of our previous studies into speech production, the aim of this study is to compare the neural correlates of speech production between healthy older and younger adults using a brain imaging (fMRIand EEG) during specific cognitive challenging speech tasks.
Speaking is one of the most complex and important human skills. During speaking phonological plans are formed and executed at 5-10 syllables per second using approximately 100 different muscles. Many older persons experience difficulties and breakdowns in speech production, such as reduced speaking rate and increased durations of segments, syllables, and sentences compared to younger adults. These age-related impairments in speech production are likely related to a decline in oro-facial motor control, as shown by decreased accuracy of movement amplitudes and increased temporal variability of movements as well as impairment of phonological processing, in particular the sequencing of phonological units.
The Neural Engineering Group within the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering invites applications for Post-Doctoral Researcher and PhD student positions with specific acoustic signal processing and neuroimagingskills.
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