Consolidator grant from European Research Council

13 December, 2013 in subject Okategoriserade

The prestigious consolidator grant from the European Research Council has been awarded Martin Lövdén, Associate Professor at the Aging Research Center. The grant is for the program entitled: ”REBOOT: Releasing the brakes on adult plasticity”.
Age-related cognitive impairments compromise the functional capacity of aging people and create major individual and societal costs. Developing means for preserving and restoring cognitive functioning in old age is therefore of great importance. Age-related cognitive impairments have complex and multifactorial causes. Partly for this reason, pharmaceutical approaches to prevention and treatment have so far been unsuccessful.
Results of cognitive training studies have so far also generally been disappointing. The reason for this may be that plasticity is functionally reduced after normal childhood development. Plasticity is then further reduced in aging because of negative brain changes. In this sense, past studies on the effects of cognitive training in adulthood and old age have, so to speak, attempted to push a car that has the brakes on.
In a series of experimental studies on humans, the grant from ERC will allow the research team to investigate feasible ways to temporarily release inhibitory brakes on adult plasticity, develop routes to diminish age-related negative effects on plasticity, and chart the neural mediators of training-related change in performance so that the effects of cognitive training can be increased and better understood. We hope that resulting insights will pave the way for effective rehabilitation of several neurological conditions and for reducing, delaying, and reverting age-associated cognitive impairments.