Chronic hypoxia as a possible pathway linking clinical conditions of the heart, lungs, and blood with accelerated brain aging

PI: Chengxuan Qiu

Senior Lecturer in Medicine

The ultimate goal of this project is to improve our understanding of chronic conditions of the heart, lungs, and blood (e.g., heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and anemia) in relation to accelerated brain lesions, cognitive decline, and dementia. We hypothesize that chronic cerebral hypoxia is a possible pathway linking these chronic conditions with accelerated progress of brain lesions and cognitive aging. To achieve the goal, we plan to carry out four subprojects among older adults aiming to illustrate: (1) the heart-brain aging relation, (2) the lung-brain aging relation, (3) the blood-brain health relation, and (4) the load of chronic hypoxia-brain health relation.

This proposal is based on two existing longitudinal datasets, where epidemiological, clinical, and cognitive data are integrated with MRI and blood biomarkers of brain lesions: the Swedish National study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K) and the embedded SNAC-K MRI study (2001-2019) and the Icelandic AGES-Reykjavik Study (2002-2011).

The project is being implemented by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in epidemiology, neurology, geriatrics, cardiology, psychology, neuroimaging, and biostatistics. Findings from this project will facilitate the development of preventive and therapeutic interventions to slow age-related cognitive decline and delay dementia onset.

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).