People’s individual cognitive capabilities differ, and differences widen as people age. At ARC, we focus on understanding the reasons for these differences. Why do some 80-year-olds have better memories than 35-year-olds? Why do some people maintain a youthful brain but others develop dementia? How does behavior over the life course affect brain changes? Is it possible to slow, stop, or reverse cognitive decline by mental and/or physical training?
Several factors typically interact to cause faster cognitive decline and dementia, and some factors can protect against disease. We use SNAC-K and other large databases to study the impact of multiple factors. Collaborating in the CAIDE and HARMONY studies enables us to investigate how risks accumulate over the entire life course. Our research focuses on vascular factors like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity; lifestyle factors like diet, smoking, alcohol use, and leisure activities; and genetic factors.
ARC also participates in FINGER, one of the first intervention studies attempting to postpone dementia by modifying a wide range of risk factors at the same time.
Brain aging, our largest research area, is divided into 4 subareas and 12 projects:
- Cognitive functions in normal aging – Martin Lövdén, Erika Jonsson Laukka
- Genetic aspects of cognitive aging – Lina Keller
- Mild cognitive impairment/Secondary dementia prevention – Barbara Caracciolo
Risk factors for dementia
- The role of vascular risk factors in brain pathology – Chengxuan Qiu, Weili Xu
- Risk factors in middle age, cognitive decline, and dementia – Miia Kivipelto, Alina Solomon
- Brain reserve and dementia risk – Hui-Xin Wang, Miia Kivipelto
- Psychological stress and dementia risk – Hui-Xin Wang, Almira Osmanovic Thunström
- Diet and antioxidant hypotheses for neurodegeneration – Francesca Mangialasche, Weili Xu, Behnaz Shakersain
- Possible short- and long-term effects of cognitive training - Martin Lövdén, Yvonne Brehmer
- Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to prevent cognitive impairment and disability (FINGER) - Miia Kivipelto
- Population-based structural imaging of gray- and white-matter integrity in aging – Grégoria Kalpouzos
- Functional brain activation during cognitive and emotional processing in young and old adults – Jonas Persson
- IRON protocol – Grégoria Kalpouzos
Additional projects in the field of brain aging are underway at the af Jochnick Center for the Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging.