Our team uses various Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques to study the aging brain. In particular, we are interested in understanding the role of white matter in cognitive aging and brain function. White matter contains the myelinated axons – the cables or wiring of our brains. If those cables become damaged – just as in a computer – the brain becomes “disconnected”, which may lead to cognitive deficits.
In our lab, we use diffusion MRI as well as myelin water imaging and quantitative magnetization transfer techniques to characterize the aging white matter, identify protective lifestyle factors, and evaluate the effects of lifestyle interventions on white matter health. We also use fMRI and measures of brain volume.
To identify modifiers and correlates of brain aging we use sensor-based measures of physical activity, a variety of cognitive assessments, occupational surveys, and study dancers or athletes.