Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My academic interest is in intellectual function and its adaptability over the course of a personís lifetime despite the stressors placed upon it. Researchers have learned about a few risk factors for dementia, such as prolonged loss of consciousness, head injury, and old age. It is likely that there are also risk factors for non-Alzheimerís cognitive loss causing the changes often attributed to normal aging. With a better knowledge of these risk factors, better protection against them at an earlier age and perhaps much of the lost cognition now attributed to normal aging might be spared.
My papers have focused on the evaluation of ways in which co-morbid factors such as folic acid deficiency or its administration, or anticholinergic drugs prior to ECT affect cognitive function. Anticholinergic medications deplete brain stores of the acetylcholine, known to be a key neurotransmitter in language acquisition and memory storage and retrieval. These drugs not only worsen symptoms of Alzheimerís disease, but are known to cause delirium when given in high doses. I have been interested in the long-term effects of these drugs and whether cognitive impairment is prolonged.