Cerebral mechanisms underlying cognition-related time-of-day modulations in healthy ageing: a functional neuroimaging approach
Christina SCHMIDT, AXA Research Fellow
Support by the AXA Research Fund
TYPE OF SUPPORT
In humans, homeostatic and circadian sleep-wake regulatory processes are continuously working in harmony or in opposition to each other to allow maintenance of sleep and wakefulness states at appropriate time points within the 24 hour light-dark cycle. Importantly, sleep patterns change substantially and continuously with age across adulthood. Our proposal aims at combining signals from a series of techniques for an integrative understanding of the cerebral mechanisms underlying age-related alterations in circadian arousal promotion directly impacting on higher order cognitive behaviours. The investigation of such mechanisms may appear decisive in our aging society in which flexible working hours outside of the normal “day work” hours are increasingly required.
Sleep Tight, Think Right
Spending nights working to meet a deadline is a situation most of us have experienced. And we all know that being efficient the following day can be challenging. Yet, the mechanisms underlying this process are still largely unknown, and Dr. Schmidt’s project aims at unraveling them. Building on her internationally recognized expertise on the interactions between sleep-related processes and cognition, Dr. Schmidt is carrying out interdisciplinary experiments to understand how sleep pressure and aging interact to alter cognitive performance. Her study involves monitoring elderly people using cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques as well as biological and cognitive tests.
Dr. Schmidt’s project has the potential to open up new areas of research, affect the way our society schedules cognitive tasks throughout the day and, in the long run, provide help to older people suffering from sleep-related issues.
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