Murray Grossman, M.D.
About the Lab
The research interest of this lab is to evaluate the cognitive and physiological basis of language and communication. Language processing skills, including word meaning and sentence comprehension, are complex tasks that involve multiple components. These tasks involve linguistic computations like constructing a phrase- level description of an utterance and looking up the meaning of individual words in semantic memory. In addition, there are related cognitive operations that contribute to language processing. These operations include retaining transient mental representations when comprehending a sentence and using working memory. Cognitive processes of this sort must be executed in a temporally organized fashion.
We develop behavioral and neuroimaging tests that assess specific components of complex language and cognitive processes. Healthy adults and individuals with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Cortical Basal Degeneration, and Parkinson's disease are studied in an effort to better understand the impact of healthy aging and diseases on linguistic functioning.
Our work uses this information to improve our understanding of the neural basis for higher cognitive functioning in humans. We also use these data as part of a biomarker dataset that can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy and optimize the informativeness of treatment trials in neurodegenerative diseases. Cognitive, neuroimaging, and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers together can provide important information during life about the specific pathologic process that is causing a patient’s impairment. With this knowledge, we can begin to identify the specific protein abnormalities that contribute to a patient’s neurodegenerative disease. In an era of etiologically-specific treatments, this will allow administration of the most appropriate treatment for a neurodegenerative condition. Moreover, sensitive measures used to optimize diagnosis can be used to determine whether a treatment is efficacious. In this way, we can use state-of-the-art science to improve delivery of optimal care to patients.