What: Brain resilience in aging and Alzheimer’s disease: the role of lifestyle
Where: BCBL auditorium
Who: Eider M. Arenaza-Urquijo, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher. BarcelonaBeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), Spain.
When: 12:00 PM
There is extensive evidence that a variety of lifetime experiences have long lasting effects on brain and cognitive health. Understanding these effects is particularly important to promote healthy aging and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
I will present a series of studies combining cognitive and lifestyle evaluations and multimodal neuroimaging (functional and structural MRI, FDG, amyloid and tau-PET) that aim to understand lifestyle contributors and mechanisms of brain resilience.
In cognitively normal older adults, those with higher education showed greater brain structure and function, enhanced executive and memory functions and lower amyloid deposition. The benefits of formal education were present even in older adults carrying the highest genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In older adults with mild cognitive impairment, our research suggests that higher education promotes compensatory processes that help diminish the effects of pathology on cognition. Besides the benefits of early-life education, engagement in cognitive or physical activities during late adulthood was also associated with preserved brain structure.
In addition, I will present a potential FDG-PET-based imaging signature of resilience. The signature includes the anterior cingulate and temporal lobes and was identified using a data-driven approach. The “resilience signature” predicted better cognitive performances over time in very old adults with Alzheimer’s disease pathology, in 2 independent cohorts. Interestingly, the topographic pattern of the signature overlaps with the regional effects of education observed in previous studies and with brain areas potentially involved in cognitive reserve and successful aging.