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Laura Rabin, PhD
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Dartmouth Medical School
Areas of Interest:
subjective cognitive decline, clinical neuropsychology, Alzheimer's dementia
Biography & Research:
Laura A. Rabin, Professor of Psychology at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center of CUNY is a neuropsychologist by training with extensive experience in designing and executing longitudinal memory and aging studies. Her research focuses on characterizing the cognitive and neurophysiological changes associated with preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is preceded by a preclinical phase during which individuals present with memory deficits and subjective cognitive complaints within the context of preserved activities of daily living. Subjective perception of cognitive decline (SCD) is very common among older adults, though no straightforward relationship exists between cognitive complaints and performance on conventional neuropsychological instruments. In recent years greater attention has been paid to non-depressed, healthy older adults who present with SCD despite intact neuropsychological functioning. These individuals show biomarker abnormalities consistent with AD pathology, are at increased risk for future cognitive decline, and may represent the first symptomatic manifestation of AD. The primary goals of Dr. Rabin’s research program are to characterize SCD from a neuropsychological perspective and to determine the cognitive and neurophysiological variables that predict transition to dementia. With support from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, she uses novel paradigms to test hypotheses regarding the nature and clinical significance of self- and informant-reported cognitive complaints in older adults. In addition, research on SCD lacks a standardized definition and approach to assessment, which limits comparability of findings across studies and may also limit SCD’s acceptance within the field. Dr. Rabin’s research addresses the refinement of SCD assessment approaches. Currently, she is a member of an international working group that seeks to establish a conceptual framework for SCD research and derive a subjective report measure with predictive validity for dementia that can identify and track individuals with SCD in research and clinical settings around the globe. Although Dr. Rabin’s main area of research focuses on cognitive aging, other ongoing interests relate to basic test usage practices among neuropsychologists and the ecological validity of neuropsychological instruments. Dr. Rabin has also have had the privilege of collaborating with talented graduate students whose research interests span cognitive, sociocultural, and biological variables implicated in various psychological disturbances. These collaborations have led to publications and grant proposals in areas broadly related to clinical neuropsychology including religious and sociocultural influences on the development of eating disorders, divided attention deficits in mild traumatic brain injury, psychological implications of parental bereavement by suicide, and cognitive and psychological correlates of academic procrastination.