Af Jochnick brothers visit the Center for the Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging at ARC

24 June, 2013 in subject Okategoriserade

This month, ARC’s psychology sector hosted Jonas and Robert af Jochnick, whose 10-year donation enabled the establishment of the af Jochnick Center for the Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging at ARC. The brothers visited the new 17-office annex that will be integrated into the House of Aging Research and heard progress reports on 5 ongoing projects.
Research Associate Grégoria Kalpouzos described work on the differential impacts of aging on various parts of the brain using structural MRI data from the SNAC-K project. PhD student Alexandra Pantzar, who also works with SNAC-K data, discussed her ongoing study of depression and cognition in old age. The project investigates differences in cognitive performance between non-depressed and depressed older people and examines whether depressive symptoms differ between younger and older persons. Postdoctoral research fellow Goran Papenberg presented his analysis of allelic variation in the Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. COMT is an enzyme that degrades dopamine in the frontal cortex. His work, also based on SNAC-K data, shows that aging may magnify the effects of genetic variation—not only on behavior, but also on white matter integrity. PhD student Beata Ferencz discussed her work on physical activity and three genes that have been implicated in memory. She found that, in the SNAC-K population, risk alleles for these genes were associated with memory problems, but that physical activity could counteract these negative influences. Research scientist Yvonne Brehmer described her Future Leaders of Aging Research in Europe (FLARE) project, which investigates brain plasticity across the lifespan by comparing changes in blood flow after cognitive training in children, younger adults, and older adults.