Brain and Cognitive Changes in Normal and Pathological Aging

Barbara Bendlin, PhD, MA, is a federally funded investigator who studies the interplay of factors that contribute to healthy or pathological brain aging. These include the effect of mid-life metabolic disorders (obesity and insulin resistance), sleep, diet, social-contextual factors and microbial influences.

Getting a PET scan

How Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Brain

Understanding early brain changes in people who may go on to develop cognitive decline is expected to lead to earlier diagnosis, prevention, and the development of new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Bendlin's research team uses cognitive testing, MRI, PET, and fluid biomarker analysis to determine how risk factors for Alzheimer’s affect the brain, particularly in mid-life. 

Current studies focus on:

  • Understanding synaptic degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease measured with UCB-J PET
  • Characterizing the early effects of Alzheimer’s disease on brain myelin and axons with quantitative MRI
  • Determining the role of gut microbiome and intestinal permeability on exacerbation of AD pathology
  • Determining how the places where people live impact their health outcomes.   

Bendlin Lab Website