As global life-expectancy increases so do pathological age-related conditions impacting cognition. The worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to rise from 46 to 131.5 million affected people in the next 30 years, which will drastically compromise quality of life for many individuals and place a considerable economic burden on society. As acknowledged by the EU Commission, there is an imperative to ‘improve our understanding of the causes and mechanisms underlying…healthy ageing and disease. Older adults differ vastly in the extent to which their cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, and decision making remain healthy. Highlighting sources of interindividual variability in this resilience to cognitive ageing, particularly in the face of neuropathology such as Alzheimer’s Disease will enhance the development of targeted neurorehabilitation interventions to prevent and redress cognitive decline. Several lines of work indirectly indicate the right fronto-parietal network (rFPN) in the brain, particularly the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is critical for healthy cognition in ageing. This proposal will combine advanced cognitive neuroscience techniques to directly investigate whether neurocognitive markers of healthy ageing (i) relate to interindividual differences in white-matter (WM) structural organisation within the rFPN, and (ii) can be improved by upregulating activity within this network. This fellowship will be conducted at the Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology under the supervision of Prof Kia Nobre, world expert on the cognitive neuroscience of attention, and in close collaboration with Prof Heidi Johansen-Berg, leading authority on white matter plasticity at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN).
Project partnersThe Chancellor Masters And Scholars Of The University Of Oxford