(f)MRI and neuropsychological assessments of neuronal plasticity in younger and older professional musicians

17:00 - 17:30
Dr. Klaus Fabel, Dr. Miranka Wirth & Dr. Theresa Köbe
TUD NIC Kolloquium
Background: The DZNE Dresden focuses on plasticity processes in the adult and ageing brain and investigates, how plasticity determines the brain’s ability to compensate for degeneration. We are interested in professional musicians since musical training increases brain plasticity both on a morphological and functional level in various brain regions, including the hippocampus, and is suggested to be a protective lifestyle factor in the prevention of dementia. History of our project: The hippocampus plays a major role in spatial learning and navigation. In an initial behavioral study, we used an adaption of the Morris water maze task (DSNT) and tested for a difference in spatial memory between musicians (students of the HfM Dresden) compared to control students (non-musicians). In neuropsychological assessments, musicians had better short-term memory and mental flexibility with no differences in visual, verbal or overall long-term memory. The DSNT showed shorter path lengths to the platform (navigation target) in musicians with similar or longer latency times, suggesting that long-term musical training might alter strategies of how hippocampus-dependent spatial information is used. In order to investigate hippocampal activation using fMRI, we conducted a first pilot using the DSNT in 2018. Unfortunately, the DSNT was not entirely adapted for this application, thus fMRI data analysis was cumbersome and reprogramming of the task is needed. Since this will require time and hippocampal activation in musicians is a major objective of our study, we want to compare two well-established and validated fMRI tasks, the Memory Encoding task (FADE, Düzel 2011 & 2018) and the Memnonic discrimination task (Berron 2019 & Maass 2019) in a second pilot (pilot 2). Our aim is: to select one fMRI tasks showing better/more reliable activation of the hippocampus/memory network in younger and older adults. Pilot 2 will include 10 young (18-30y) and 10 older adults (55-65y) in total. Main study: Our major aim is to determine, if lifelong musical training prevents decline in cognitive abilities and brain integrity (measured using MRI). The main study will include a max. of 128 probands (see below). The MRI protocol will e.g., include functional MRI (as determined in pilot 2), high resolution T2 for hippocampus volumetry (ASHS analysis), and DTI (CSD-analysis, ExploreDTI) for the assessment of white matter tracts, e.g. the fornix as the major output of the hippocampus. The overall project (protocol for MRI and neuropsychological assessments) will serve as a platform for future intervention studies using lifestyle-based interventions e.g., dancing in older adults with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Letztmalig verändert: 20.04.2020, 11:47:46


TUD Falkenbrunnen01187Dresden


Neuroimaging CentreChemnitzer Str.46a01187Dresden
+49 351 463 42063
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