Cognitive Aging and Mental Health - Erika Jonsson Laukka group
Our group focuses on cognitive processes and their brain correlates to understand individual differences in cognitive aging and mental health. To achieve this, we collect data on different cognitive and brain modalities and make use of existing longitudinal databases.
The overall aim of our research is to identify determinants of individual differences in old-age cognitive performance and age- and dementia-related cognitive decline. This will increase our understanding of why persons age at different rates and which persons are at high risk of developing a dementia disorder. Increased knowledge in these areas might help promoting that elderly persons maintain their previous cognitive levels well into old age.
My main research focus centers around the Cognition, Brain, and Aging (COBRA) project, a 3-wave longitudinal project with testing every fifth year. Participants (n =181) were in their mid 60s at baseline. We seek to elucidate the question of why some older persons exhibit marked decline in brain and cognition as they grow older, whereas others age gracefully.
The goal of research is to better understand the processes underlying motivation and decision-making and to develop tests that can be used to phenotype heterogeneous populations of psychiatric patients with the goal to improve classification and treatment outcomes of psychiatric patients.
My research concerns the molecular mechanisms underlying cognitive aging. To study differences in aging trajectories, I combine (epi)genetic, lifestyle and neuroimaging techniques (MRI and PET). The objective of the StoneAge Study is to investigate the factors contributing to neuroinflammation, with a focus on brain iron accumulation. Using data from multimodal imaging studies on the neurotransmitter dopamine, I seek to elucidate the role and predictive power of epigenetics in brain and cognitive aging.