Brain Iron as a Biomarker of Impending Cognitive Decline

Recording of Presentation


Speaker: Ana Daugherty

Bio: Dr. Ana Daugherty earned her doctorate in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from Wayne State University in 2014. She then completed a competitive post-doctoral research fellowship at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and returned as a faculty member to Wayne State University in 2018. She is joint appointed to the Institute of Gerontology, Department of Psychology, and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. She has studied cognitive neuroscience of aging for over 12 years and has published more than 40 refereed journal articles on topics of healthy aging and dementia, and the role of vascular and metabolic health in cognitive decline.

Talk Abstract: Cumulative and progressive decline in brain structure and function occur in typical aging, and at greater magnitude, constitute pathology such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Brain atrophy, disrupted function, and cognitive deficits stem from microstructural and metabolic changes, including mitochondrial dysfunction, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress. All of which share a common antecedent: non-heme iron accumulation. Dr. Daugherty will describe her work applying MRI methods to measure regional brain iron accumulation in vivo and its application as a biomarker to predict future cognitive decline. In a series of longitudinal and cross-sectional studies, she has illustrated iron accumulates in typical aging to predict neural and cognitive declines 2-7 years later. High iron concentration disrupts task-based functional activation even among middle-aged adults. Poor vascular and metabolic health exacerbate iron accumulation, and this may partially convey the associated risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. She will summarize the available evidence with the FRIENDS model of aging: Free-Radical Induced Energetic and Neural Decline in Senescence.

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