Health

Published on March 5th, 2020 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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UofSC Study Seeks to Understand Healthy Aging and the Brain

Columbia, SC. – A new study funded by the University of South Carolina will investigate the relationship between healthy aging and the brain. Led by S.C. SmartStateTM Endowed Chair of Memory and Brain Function Dr. Julius Fridriksson, the Aging Brain Cohort (ABC) study will enroll and collect data from 800 healthy South Carolina residents. Participants in the study will go through two days of testing and will complete various tests of cognitive function and have their brain structure and function measured using state-of-the-art imaging techniques like MRI.

Over one million South Carolinians are expected to reach the age of 65 or older by 2030. Abnormal brain conditions can have devastating effects on memory and other cognitive functions and, in advanced stages, can lead to loss of independence and decline in quality of life. Challenges to meeting this population’s growing need of services and resources require planning and preventive action. According to Dr. Fridriksson, “brain health and aging have seen an explosion in research activity to address the increasing rates of seniors and health-associated cognitive decline.”

With this in mind, Dr. Fridriksson established the ABC study, a collaborative endeavor  involving over 20 UofSC scientists, to answer key questions about behavioral and brain changes that can be expected as we age. Data from this study will provide clues regarding lifestyle and genetic factors that predispose individuals to aging-related health issues, and illuminate factors that protect individuals from the negative effects of old age. Learning more about what factors we can control to improve age-related health outcomes will help South Carolinians to understand and prepare for the future, and the rich dataset collected for this study will attract other world-class researchers to the UofSC. The Aging Brain Cohort is actively recruiting healthy older adult participants (between the ages of 60 and 80), and will begin enrolling younger participants (ages 20-60) over the next four years.  Individuals interested in participating can view a video of the study experience, and determine their eligibility by filling out a short form located on the project’s website, abc.sc.edu, or by calling the project’s recruitment officer, Briana Davis (803-576-8420). Persons interested in following the progress of the study can find updates on the website http://abc.sc.edu or follow the study’s progress on Facebook (ABC-Aging Brain Cohort), Twitter (@abcuofsc) or Instagram (abc_uofsc).

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