We are super proud of Adams Lab member Sander! Last week he successfully defended his PhD thesis, “Shaping the Brain: Causes & Consequences of the Changing Brain Across the Lifespan.”
Congratulations Dr. Lamballais Tessensohn!
The brain changes drastically across the lifespan, rapidly developing during early life and slowly degenerating towards the end of life. We explored for genetic, vascular, and other mechanisms how they influence the brain, and how that influences late-life neurodegenerative disease. This was done by combining data from the Generation R Study – a prospective birth cohort – and the Rotterdam Study – a prospective cohort focused on 45 years and onwards. We also started the ORACLE Study, to cover the age range in between. Regarding genetic mechanisms, we did not find any evidence that genetic burden for late-life neurodegenerative disease affects the brain or cognition during childhood. For vascular mechanisms, we showed that blood pressure and cognition associate weakly across the lifespan, and that blood pressure during early and middle adulthood may associate with more neuropathological burden later in life. We also showed that adverse childhood experiences may accelerate the maturation of the adolescent brain. Finally, we found that cognition and brain-related factors from late life have a larger influence on the incidence of dementia than factors from early life. Combined, these results demonstrate how various mechanisms affect brain health across the lifespan.