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Approved research

Linking psychological well-being measures to brain and health biomarkers to understand aging and risk of dementia

Principal Investigator: Professor Antonio Terracciano
Approved Research ID: 57672
Approval date: May 29th 2020

Lay summary

Our objective is to answer four key research questions that may help inform future interventions to promote healthy aging. First, are biomedical and psychosocial factors related to indicators of psychological well-being? We examine how peripheral blood biomarkers (e.g., lipids, inflammatory markers, cystatin C, and urate), physical measures of healthiness (e.g., hearing loss, obesity, arterial stiffness, and lung function), neuroimaging parameters (e.g., brain volumes and function), cognitive performance (fluid intelligence and prospective memory), and behaviors (e.g., drinking, physical activity) are associated with well-being and negative emotionality (e.g., neuroticism, loneliness, irritability, and meaning).

Second, does well-being and negative emotionality predict the risk of adverse health outcomes? We examine the predictive power of these factors on the risk of incident mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Third, do health risk behaviors, disease comorbidities, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors moderate the above associations or provide an explanatory pathway linking psychological, biomedical factors and health outcomes? Forth, what is the role of neuroimaging markers that can assess individual differences in brain anatomy and functioning in mediating psychological well-being, cognitive aging, and risk of dementia? By addressing these research questions, we gain significant insight into the associations between different markers of brain and psychological well-being and biomedical outcomes.