A methods development project - funding awarded to Simon Cox from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) Brain Imaging Pilot Fund at UoE. The project allowed Dr Cox to collaborate with Prof Benjamin Aribisala (Lagos State University, Nigeria) on methods development for measuring the integrity of the brain's white matter connections. More specifically, it fused structural and diffusion MRI to identify and measure white matter tracts that specifically connect one cortical region to another in each of a group of 90 males, aged 73, drawn from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study.
CCACE is funded by the UK cross-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing initiative.
The methods developed allowed the identification of specific tracts whose shape and connectivity profiles corresponded well to previous MRI and post-mortem findings. These findings are encouraging for accurate site-to-site connectivity measurements in older age. Information on batch-processing issues, selection of priors and software selection will be fed forward into white matter measurement methods among the full Lothian Birth Cohort samples. This provides the basis for comparing general versus network-specific accounts of brain and cognitive decline.
The work has also contributed to the development of other collaborative projects between the Universities of Lagos and Edinburgh.