Exploring the complex interplay between lifestyle factors, brain pathology, and cognitive reserve in cognitive decline and dementia

PI: Chengxuan Qiu

The overall aim is to explore the complex interplay between lifestyles, brain pathology, and cognitive reserve in determining cognitive phenotypes of brain aging in Swedish and Chinese older adults. Specifically, we seek to (1) develop quantitative approaches for assessing cognitive reserve capacity over the lifespan; (2) clarify the relations of lifestyle and intellectual factors to various brain pathologies and cognitive function; and (3) explore the compensatory mechanisms of cognitive reserve in modifying the relations of brain pathologies to dementia. These issues will be addressed by taking into account genetic and sociocultural diversities. To achieve the goal, we will implement five subprojects within six aging research projects in Sweden and China where data are already available. We also plan to perform brain MRI and amyloid-PET scans in subsamples within the established cohort of older adults in Shandong. This project will advance our understanding of the role and mechanisms of lifestyle and intellectual factors in cognitive aging, thus facilitating the development of interventions that delay the onset of dementia, and reducing its huge economic and societal burden.

This 3-year joint research project is supported by the joint project grants from the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (2018-2020). The project is led by researchers from Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet (PI, C Qiu) and Shandong Provincial Hospital affiliated to Shandong University (PI, Y Du).