Social factors in cognitive decline and dementia: Towards an early intervention approach

Project Details


Environment plays an important role in the development of dementia. Environmental factors that indicate poor social health such as lack of social support and loneliness are presumed to increase the risk of dementia. In this project, we put forward the hypothesis that factors improving social health will slow down the development of cognitive decline and dementia by influencing brain health. We use an integrated analysis of data on social health, cognitive functioning, brain morphology and neuro-inflammation in mice, with high or low risk for dementia development.
Studies in mice allow for in depth brain health analyses of neuroinflammatory and neurogenesis markers. This will be studied in socially isolated versus group housed mice, in two validated genetic mouse models for dementia. These two different models (an amyloid model and a tau model) each represent critical components of Alzheimer’s disease putatively with their own impact on social behaviour and sensitivity to the development of neuro-inflammation, loss of synaptic plasticity and sensitivity to interventions. Secondly, we will examine whether differences in physical activity levels contribute to social health and cognitive functioning, to potentially prevent and/or reduce the development of dementia.
Effective start/end date01/01/201801/01/2023