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Broadly speaking, research in the lab investigates four areas:

1. The neurocognitive factors of aging, especially in older adults with or at risk for dementia

  • Examining cognitive/brain function of cognitively unimpaired older adults, older adults with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease 

  • Considering the impact of sex and gender on the continuum of cognitive impairment

Representative Publications

Al-Yawer, F., Pichora‐Fuller, M. K., Wittich, W., Mick, P. T., Giroud, N., Rehan, S., & Phillips, N. A. (2023). Sex-specific interactions between hearing and memory in older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Findings from the COMPASS-ND study.  Ear and Hearing, DOI:

Grunden, N., & Phillips, N. (2022, October 14). A network analysis of cognition: Using COMPASS-ND neuropsychological data to explore early risk of Alzheimer’s disease [Oral Presentation]. CCNA Partner’s Forum and Science Days, Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging 

Sollazzo, K., Mancor, E., Grunden, N., Rehan, S., Phillips, N. (2022). Serial Position Effects and Hearing Loss in the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (S316). Symposium talk at the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science 33rd annual Meeting. July 17-21, 2022, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Mancor, E., Sollazzo, K., Grant, N., Rehan, S., Phillips, N. (2022). No Sex Differences in Cognitive Reserve in Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment (S315). Symposium talk at the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science 33rd annual Meeting. July 17-21, 2022, Halifax, NS, Canada. 


2. The complex relationships between sensory factors (hearing, vision, olfaction), cognition, and brain anatomy and functional connectivity


Representative Publications

Rehan, S., Giroud, N., Al-Yawer, F., Wittich, W., & Phillips, N. (2021). Visual performance and cortical atrophy in vision-related brain regions differ between older adults with (or at risk for) Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 83(3), 1125-1148.

Giroud, N., Pichora-Fuller, M.K., Mick, P., Wittich, W., Al-Yawer, F., Rehan, S., Orange, J.B., Phillips, N.A. (2021). Hearing loss is associated with gray matter differences in older adults at risk for and with Alzheimer’s disease. Aging Brain, 1, 100018.

Grant, N., & Phillips, N. (2021). Default-Mode Network Connectivity in Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Influence of Hearing Loss. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 25(1).

Papadatos, Z., & Phillips, N. (2021). Does olfactory dysfunction have the same relationship with limbic system integrity in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease? Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 17(S6).

Phillips, N. A., Isler, L., Kabir, R., Hämäläinen, A., Wittich, W., Pichora-Fuller, M. K., and Mick, P. (2022).  Hearing and visual acuity predict cognitive function in adults aged 45-85 years Findings from the baseline wave of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).  Psychology and Aging. 37(8), 891–912.


3. The relationship between bilingualism/multilingualism and cognition and brain function, including:

  • Understanding speech in noise in one’s first and second language (and the usefulness of visual speech cues)

  • the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive reserve in those with or at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Much of this work is done in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM) and the Montréal Bilingualism Initiative (MoBI)


Representative Publications

Coulter, K. and Phillips, N.A.  (2022).  Conflict-based speech error monitoring in bilinguals: Differences between first and second language monitoring.  Journal of Neurolinguistics, 63.

Chauvin, A. and Phillips, N.A.  (2021).  Bilinguals Show Proportionally Greater Benefit from Visual Speech Cues and Sentence Context in their Second Compared to their First Language.  Ear and Hearing. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000001182

Duncan, H., Nikelski J., Pilon, R., Steffener J., Chertkow, H.M., & Phillips, N.A. (2018).  Structural brain differences between monolingual and multilingual patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease: Evidence for cognitive reserve. Neuropsychologia.  Jan 31;109:270-282. Epub 2017 Dec 26.


4. Continued research involving the Montreal Cognitive Assessment


Representative Publications

Nasreddine, Z.S., Phillips, N.A., Bédirian, V., Charbonneau, S., Whitehead, V., Collin, I., Cummings, J.L., and Chertkow, H.  (2005). The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA): A Brief Screening Tool For Mild Cognitive Impairment.  Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 53, 695-699.   

Al-Yawer, F., Bruce, H., Li, K., Pichora-Fuller, M.K., Phillips, N.A. (2022). Sex-Related Differences in the Associations between MoCA Scores and Pure-Tone Measures of Hearing. American Journal of Audiology, 31, 220-227.

Al-Yawer, F., Pichora-Fuller, M.K., & Phillips, N. (2019).  The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) after Omission of Hearing-dependent Subtests: Psychometrics and Clinical Recommendations. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 67(8), 1689-1694.   

Phillips, N.A., Chertkow, H., Pichora-Fuller, M.K., and Wittich, W.  (2020).  Special issues on using the MoCA for remote assessment during COVID-19 (Letter to the Editor), Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 68(5), 942-944.

Phillips, N.A., Andrews, M., Chertkow, H., Pichora-Fuller, M.K., Rockwood, K., & Wittich, W. (2020). Clinical judgement is paramount when performing cognitive screening during COVID-19, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 68(7), 1390–1391.


Please participate in our research!

Dementia Research

Canada’s largest study on dementia, the Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) Study, is currently seeking:

  • Men aged 60 years and older without cognitive impairment 

  • Women aged 50 years and older with Alzheimer’s disease

Please get in touch with to learn more about how to participate in Canada’s largest study on aging and dementia! 

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