Effects of normal and healthy aging on hippocampal subfield anatomy

The goal of this study is to investigate if hippocampal morphology and volume are subject to change throughout the course of healthy aging in 95 healthy individuals aged 18-80 years, using recent advancements in subfield imaging developed in our lab. By combining the use of high-resolution MRI, a tracing protocol, and novel fully-automated algorithms that assess subfields along the entire length of the hippocampus (Winterburn et al., NeuroImage, 2013; Pipitone et al., NeuroImage, 2014), analysis of subfield structure can occur at an unprecedented level of detail and accuracy. In addition to investigating age-related changes in hippocampal subfields, by combining subfield changes with cognitive testing measures, we will not only investigate whether certain subfields may be more vulnerable to tissue loss over the course of age but also investigate whether such changes are correlated with loss of cognitive function. Lastly, we will analyze the relationship between specific gene variants known to be implicated in healthy aging and their relationship with hippocampal morphology and function. Given that the results from this study may provide novel evidence for the association of certain regions important and implicated in healthy aging, this study will provide an important neuroanatomical baseline for future hippocampal studies and could provide new insight to our understanding of healthy memory circuitry through the adult lifespan.