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Approved research

The effects of age, sex, genotype and systemic health on brain structure and function.

Principal Investigator: Professor Masud Husain
Approved Research ID: 32011
Approval date: May 2nd 2018

Lay summary

? To investigate the relationship between brain structure and function as a function of age, sex, genotype and systemic health factors. ? To determine whether individuals at high risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia have neuroimaging features that distinguish them from people who are at normal risk. Working in concert with Prof. Steve Smith (UK Biobank lead for brain imaging), our aim is to relate neuroimaging-derived phenotypes (e.g., grey matter volume or functional connectivity) to cognitive function. The findings would have important implications for understanding normal brain aging and deviations from this trajectory in at-risk groups. Our proposal is aligned to UK Biobank?s aim of improving diagnosis ? and potentially treatment ? of disease, including diseases associated with dementia such as Alzheimer?s disease. Identification of early markers of brain dysfunction, in the form of genetic or neuroimaging phenotypes, provides an important and potentially powerful means for identifying those at risk of developing dementia earlier and with more confidence than current methods permit, potentially for treatment intervention trials. We will examine the brain imaging, genotype and cognitive test data collected in UK Biobank in relation to demographic information (such as age, sex, and health factors such as presence of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, etc.). Brain imaging data will be analysed using software developed by Steve Smith and colleagues. Statistical analysis will allow us to determine the normal changes that are associated with aging, so that we can detect departures from these trajectories as a function of genetic and health factors. The full cohort where neuroimaging, cognitive testing, and genetic sampling has been carried out would be included.