Investigating the effects of oscillating sounds on the memory of older populations

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dc.contributor.advisor O'Neill, Cora en
dc.contributor.advisor Chan, Jason en
dc.contributor.advisor Timmons, Suzanne en
dc.contributor.author Pfalzgraf, Hadley C.
dc.date.accessioned 2020-04-27T11:12:51Z
dc.date.available 2020-04-27T11:12:51Z
dc.date.issued 2019-10-04
dc.date.submitted 2019-10-04
dc.identifier.citation Pfalzgraf, H. C. Investigating the effects of oscillating sounds on the memory of older populations. MRes Thesis, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.endpage 98 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/9860
dc.description.abstract Introduction: Memory functions are associated with various oscillations of electrical activity in the brain, and disruptions of those rhythms can be observed in many neurological syndromes, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Oscillations at the theta (3-7 Hz) frequency, in particular, are thought to play an important role in memory. The peak frequency and amplitude of the theta frequency are modulated by age and could be a useful target to combat the cognitive decline commonly associated with aging. Previous studies have induced theta oscillations using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). We hypothesized that oscillatory auditory stimulation could similarly entrain theta rhythms in a less invasive, more cost-efficient manner. Preliminary data collected from young adults indicated a positive relationship between theta entrainment and improved short-term visuospatial memory. Methods: We recorded the neural activity, using electroencephalography (EEG), from participants aged over 50 years while they completed a spatial memory task. Three groups of participants with varying memory ability were recruited with no memory complaints (n = 15), mild memory complaints (n = 16), and moderate memory complaints (n = 16). During the first part of the task, participants listened to amplitude modulated noise at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 Hz to determine which frequency within the theta band induced the strongest increase in theta power with respect to a pure noise control. Next, participants learned the locations of 30 objects via a spatial memory task administered on a computer. Each object was consistently paired with one of three types of pink noise—constant noise, individualized theta frequency-modulated noise (3, 4, 5, 6, or 7Hz), and 15-Hz-modulated noise (beta). Results: Individuals who identified as having moderate memory complaints had significantly lower MoCA scores than individuals with no memory complaints and preferred lower theta frequencies. Individuals with moderate memory complaints also exhibited lower memory scores in the spatial memory task. Male participants (n = 17) on average displayed higher memory scores compared to female participants (n = 30), despite similar age and memory group distributions. Sounds at an individual’s preferred theta frequency led to an increase in theta activity in the brain compared to pure pink noise and beta sounds. Additionally, there was a main effect of memory complaint group on neural activity in the theta and alpha bands. Conclusions: Subjective memory complaints may be an accurate proxy for the beginnings of age-related neurological changes reflected in EEG activity. More research in this area could contribute to novel diagnostic techniques and therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease. Auditory stimulation could be an easy, non-invasive method to promote beneficial neural activity in aging populations. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.rights © 2019, Hadley C. Pfalzgraf. en
dc.rights.uri https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ en
dc.subject Neuroscience en
dc.subject Theta oscillations en
dc.subject Memory en
dc.subject Elderly en
dc.subject Subjective memory complaints en
dc.subject Alzheimer's disease en
dc.title Investigating the effects of oscillating sounds on the memory of older populations en
dc.type Masters thesis (Research) en
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en
dc.type.qualificationname MRes - Master of Research en
dc.internal.availability Full text not available en
dc.contributor.funder US-Ireland Alliance en
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.internal.school Applied Psychology en
dc.internal.school Biochemistry and Cell Biology en
dc.internal.conferring Summer 2020 en
dc.internal.ricu Cork NeuroScience Group en
dc.relation.project US-Ireland Alliance (The Mitchell Scholarship) en
dc.availability.bitstream embargoed
dc.check.date 2022-02-21


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© 2019, Hadley C. Pfalzgraf. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2019, Hadley C. Pfalzgraf.
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