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Brain hemispheric asymmetry in older adults and relationship with cognitive performance: an MRI study using voxel-based morphometry

Grant number: 14/19639-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2015
Effective date (End): September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Principal Investigator:Geraldo Busatto Filho
Grantee:Rodrigo Nicida Garcia
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Changes in cognition are among the most remarkable in the process of aging and are observed both in cases of disease, as in Disease Alzheimer's, as in healthy aging. There are many studies dealing with this theme, however, no published study yet has sought to relate the cognitive aging with the reduction in hemispheric asymmetry. The cerebral hemispheres are asymmetrical, functionally and structurally, this characteristic is related to the lateralization of brain function, which is due the specialization of each hemisphere in different activities. Previous studies have demonstrated, using functional MRI (fMRI), reduction of asymmetry when correlating function with age in some regions, notably the frontal lobe. Even though fMRI studies provide valuable information about the functioning of the brain, the volumetric analysis retains importance, since functional and structural changes do not always correlate. Additionally, there is a paucity of data about symmetric structural changes. In our study, we use a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to analyze a MRI database, to compare levels of asymmetry in the volume of gray matter in specific regions of the brain the elderly. For this, we use processing techniques that evidence the differences between the two hemispheres and quantify them so that we can analyze these data statistically. After the analysis and quantification of asymmetry, we'll relate these data with results of cognitive tests concerning the same population performed in the same day of image acquisition and hopefully this will confirm our hypothesis and demonstrate a relationship between cognitive aging and loss of asymmetry.

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