Factors Leading to Healthy or Pathological Brain Aging
Under the direction of Dr. Bendlin, the laboratory team is studying the interplay of factors that contribute to healthy or pathological brain aging. In particular, the effect of factors that contribute to or protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as studying the impact of modifiable factors that may affect trajectories of aging. These include the effect of mid-life metabolic disorders (obesity and insulin resistance), sleep, diet, and microbial influences.
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. A number of tools are used in the lab's research, including cognitive testing, MRI, PET, and CSF analysis, to determine how risk factors for Alzheimer’s affect the brain, particularly in mid-life. Our NIA funded research program is focused on characterizing the early effects of Alzheimer’s disease on brain myelin and axons, in addition to determining the role of preclinical inflammation in cell and dendritic damage.