Normal ageing affects the brain’s structure and function; the impact this neural change has on cognitive processes has driven an accelerating interest in using neuroimaging to examine the ageing process. However, key methodological challenges remain unresolved. These include the potential confounds inherent in many neuroimaging analysis methods, which are often developed using data from younger brains. The Cam-CAN project will overcome this difficulty by using a very large sample size and age range in order to enable us to develop tailored templates and normalising procedures.
Moreover, studies of ageing typically only employ a single neural measure (such as grey matter integrity or neural activity), restricting the ability of many studies to provide causal links between neural and cognitive changes. Cam-CAN will employ a range of neural measures, including structural and functional MRI and MEG. Critically for the aims of this project, we will develop novel analysis methods to integrate across types of neuroimaging and behavioural data. This integration is essential for establishing causal relationships that may be based on complex interactions between neural structure and function, and between the neural systems that underpin different cognitive processes. Methodological advances that allow us to identify these complex neuro-cognitive interactions will also be critical for assessing the role of plasticity and reorganisation in maintaining good cognitive function.
Follow the links below to find out more about on going neuroimaging analyses and methods developments: