The body-mind connection: Exploring the biological mechanisms underlying the effects of somatic health on brain aging
Swedish Research Council
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
With this application, we seek support for a multidisciplinary research program to identify strategies and treatments to better and more effectively reduce poor health in older adults. We focus on cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disorders, using an approach that integrates mind and body perspectives by addressing a wide variety of novel research questions concerning possible common biological mechanisms. Using existing data from 3 cohort studies, integrated with biological and neuroimaging data, we will implement 7 interrelated projects with 4 major aims: 1) Verify whether associations between individual and contextual factors and body- and mind-related disorders are mediated by similar biological mechanisms; 2) Determine the most important biological pathways for mediating associations between somatic disorders and cognitive deficits or dementia; 3) Detect the beneficial and detrimental roles of drug use and polypharmacy and their links to somatic and mental health; and 4) Measure the impact of cognitive decline and dementia on physical functioning and disability. The program will be carried out by a group of experts from 4 centers at Karolinska Institute; Karolinska University Hospital; and Perugia University, Italy. We are convinced that the scientific strength of the team, our unique data resources, and the novel conceptual framework of our proposal will lead to significant scientific and clinical advances in the proposed 4-year time frame.