Faculty » Ilana Bennett

Most of us are familiar with the notion that our memory gets worse as we get older. But, in fact, not all forms of memory decline with age. And it’s not just about aging. Across the lifespan, there are some adults who have worse memory than their peers. My research focuses on cortical disconnection as a mechanism to explain these individual- and age-related differences in memory. According to this model, degradation of white matter is thought to account for cognitive declines associated with aging. White matter is a critical, yet relatively understudied, part of our brain. It provides the structural framework by which gray matter regions communicate and coordinate their processing. In my lab, we use a combination of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to characterize the effect of aging on white matter and to determine whether white matter aging accounts for age-related differences in learning and memory performance.

Selected Publications

Bennett, I.J., Stark, C.E.L. (2016). Mnemonic discrimination relates to perforant path integrity: An ultra-high resolution diffusion tensor imaging study. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 129, 107-112.

Bennett, I.J., Huffman, D.J., Stark, C.E.L. (2015). Limbic tract integrity contributes to episodic memory performance across the lifespan. Cerebral Cortex, 25 (9), 2988-2999.

Bennett, I.J., Madden, D.J. (2014). Disconnected aging: Cerebral white matter integrity and age-related differences in cognition. Neuroscience, 12 (276), 187-205.

Bennett, I.J., Rypma, B. (2013). Advances in functional neuroanatomy: A review of combined DTI and fMRI studies in healthy younger and older adults. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 37 (7), 1201-1210.

Madden, D.J., Bennett, I.J., Burzynska, A., Potter, G., Song, A.W. (2012). Diffusion tensor imaging of cerebral white matter integrity in cognitive aging. BBA – Molecular Basis of Disease, 1822 (3), 386-400.

Bennett, I.J., Madden, D.J., Vaidya, C.J., Howard, D.V., Howard, J.H., Jr. (2010). Age-related differences in multiple measures of white matter integrity: A diffusion tensor imaging study of healthy aging. Human Brain Mapping, 31 (3), 378-390.