Superstars on SuperAgers
The research led by lead author Christa Dang and the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Study of Ageing (AIBL) challenged widely-accepted models of cognitive and brain aging by following participants who were classified either cognitively normal for their age or ‘SuperAgers’ for up to 8 years.
In research undertaken during her PhD, Dr Dang uncovered cognitive decline was not inevitable in aging and that having low levels of the toxic protein amyloid beta (Aβ-), was associated with better memory and executive function performance over time.
“It is possible to reach old age with little-to-no cognitive decline. You don’t need to have an exceptional memory for this to be possible. How good a person’s memory is to start with does not affect their chances of staying healthy,” said Dr Dang.
It was a proud moment for the members of the AIBL team, who have won the Nelson-Butters award three times with different topics and different lead authors over the years.
This research is the first in a body of work that focuses on characterizing brain and cognitive changes in aging when no Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers are present.
The research has been published in a paper entitled, “Superior memory reduces 8-year risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia but not amyloid β-associated cognitive decline in older adults” in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology (Doi: 10.1093/arclin/acy078).