Genetic basis of cognitive ageing: Investigations through genetic variant association with white matter integrity

Lorna lopez

Nationality Chilean

Year of selection 2010

Institution The University of Edinburgh

Country United Kingdom

Risk Health

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

1 year

Do you have a healthy aging brain?

We all know an older relative or friend who seems to have aged exceptionally well. Dr. Lorna López sought to understand what makes each of us age differently. By focusing on the connections in the brain, she aimed to identify genes involved in age-related cognitive decline. Her analysis pointed to specific biological pathways that may influence the brain’s white matter. López’s results may bring a new biological understanding of aging and therefore better management and prevention of life risks.
The decline of mental abilities is the most feared aspect of growing old. Genetic factors and the integrity of axonal fibre tracts in the brain, white matter, are both associated with cognition in old age. My aim is to search for genetic influences on white matter integrity that also influence cognitive ageing. Unique to this project is the combination of three kinds of data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936: general cognitive ability tested at ages 11 and 70, genome-wide genetic information, and brain imaging data. My research hopes to advance the understanding of the genetics of cognitive ageing.

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