Brain Anatomy in Old Age

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Longitudinal Healthy Aging Brain (LHAB) database project

The LHAB Database Project is a prospective longitudinal study, which has the primary goal of describing the development of brain structure / brain function and behavior in a sample of healthy elderly individuals (65+). The project specifically focuses on domain-overlapping links between brain and psychometric measures to evaluate for example if changes in one domain are associated with concurrent or lagged changes in the other domain. Beyond this, additional individual information (e.g. biographical information, activities, well-being) is collected to explain interindividual variability in the observed developmental trajectories. Another important aspect is the establishment of a data management portal that fosters current and future research as well as re- and meta-analyses of these valuable longitudinal multi-domain data.

Project status: ongoing (begin of data acquisition in 2011), several sub-projects
Contact: Dr. Susan Mérillat

 

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Crossvalidation project: Cortical thickness and cognitive ability in healthy aging (LHAB – 1000BRAINS collaboration)

Normal aging is accompanied by an inter-individually variable decline in cognitive abilities and brain structure. This variability, in combination with methodical differences and differences in sample characteristics across studies, poses a major challenge for generalizability of results from different studies. To explore whether results can be generalized across samples when using identical data preprocessing and analysis procedures, this joint research project aims to cross-validate age-related differences and aging-related changes in cognitive abilities and brain structure (measured using cortical thickness (CT)) in two large independent samples (65+): the LHAB database project (URPP) and the 1000BRAINS (Research Center Juelich, Germany).

Project status: ongoing
Contact: Dr. Susan Mérillat

 

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Aging-related changes in functional brain networks (LHAB – SLS collaboration)

In this joint project the aim is to investigate individual trajectories of aging-related change with regard to connectivity strength in the Default Mode Network (DMN). Beyond the domain-specific analyses, changes in DMN connectivity will be related to demographic factors and to cognitive ability. By including resting-state fMRI data of two large longitudinal aging samples – the LHAB database project (URPP) and the SLS (Seattle Longitudinal Study) – the present work provides the largest investigation of longitudinal DMN connectivity trajectories in aging so far and combines aspects of knowledge gain and cross-validation.

Project status: ongoing
Contact: Dr. Franz Liem