Assessing Cognition and Brain Function

Publish Date: 1 April 2013
Author(s): Neal J. Cohen, PhD


Cognition involves thinking and knowing, which are supported by acquiring, processing, and using information. These actions are driven by mental processes in different but interconnected brain regions that specialize in different functions. Dr. Cohen describes “powerful” methods for identifying and characterizing multiple memory systems in the brain. He explains that the hippocampus and relational memory are highly susceptible to damage but also to enhancement by fitness and nutrition. Specifically, he cites potential benefits from antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and flavonoids in the diet. He shares research on the potential benefits of exercise in reducing the negative effects of a diet high in saturated fat and refined sugar on memory performance.
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Author Bios

Headshot of Neal J. Cohen

Neal J. Cohen, Phd

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory, Center for Lifelong Improvement of Minds & Brains, Beckman Institute, USA
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