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Editor's Note
 
Memory News
Fatty food weighs down muscles and memory
 
Pumping Neurons: Exercise to maintain a healthy brain
The evidence is growing that moderate regular exercise boosts memory and other brain functions and may help prevent age-related declines.
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How Parkinsonís disease affects the mind

It’s not just a movement disorder. Besides causing tremors and other motion-related symptoms, Parkinson’s disease affects memory, learning, and behavior.

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Creative healing: art therapy for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
As medical science races to cure dementia, storytelling and other creative activities promise a better quality of life for the millions already diagnosed.
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Memory Tip
Medicate Your Memory
Glossary
Shifting Set
 

Shifting set refers to the process of updating or "shifting" cognitive strategies in response to changes in the environment. For example, in some neuropsychological tests, patients are first asked to perform according to some rule (e.g., given a choice between a red and a yellow object, always choose the red object). Next, patients are asked to switch to a new rule (e.g., always choose the larger object, regardless of color). Successful performance requires the ability to abandon an old strategy and start responding according to a new rule.

Patients with damage to the frontal lobes are often impaired at tasks which require shifting set. They may have difficulty abandoning the old rule -- continuing to pick the red object even though they know their choice is wrong -- and they may also have difficulty learning a new rule to replace the old one.

Patients with Parkinson's disease may also have trouble shifting set. This is because Parkinson's disease destroys neurons in the substantia nigra, a brain region that normally helps regulate function in the frontal lobes; as the neurons in the substantia nigra die, the frontal lobes may become somewhat dysfunctional.

by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain