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Front. Aging Neurosci., 14 July 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00149

Studying variability in human brain aging in a population-based German cohort—rationale and design of 1000BRAINS

  • 1Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1, INM-2, INM-4, INM-8), Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 2Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  • 3Department of Genomics, Life & Brain Center, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 4Institute of Human Genetics, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 5Institute for Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 6McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • 7Department of Cardiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  • 8Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 9Institute for Science and Ethics, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 10Department of Neurology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 11JARA-BRAIN, Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance, Jülich, Germany
  • 12Department of Neurology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
  • 13Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
  • 14C. and O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany

The ongoing 1000 brains study (1000BRAINS) is an epidemiological and neuroscientific investigation of structural and functional variability in the human brain during aging. The two recruitment sources are the 10-year follow-up cohort of the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) Study, and the HNR MultiGeneration Study cohort, which comprises spouses and offspring of HNR subjects. The HNR is a longitudinal epidemiological investigation of cardiovascular risk factors, with a comprehensive collection of clinical, laboratory, socioeconomic, and environmental data from population-based subjects aged 45–75 years on inclusion. HNR subjects underwent detailed assessments in 2000, 2006, and 2011, and completed annual postal questionnaires on health status. 1000BRAINS accesses these HNR data and applies a separate protocol comprising: neuropsychological tests of attention, memory, executive functions and language; examination of motor skills; ratings of personality, life quality, mood and daily activities; analysis of laboratory and genetic data; and state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, 3 Tesla) of the brain. The latter includes (i) 3D-T1- and 3D-T2-weighted scans for structural analyses and myelin mapping; (ii) three diffusion imaging sequences optimized for diffusion tensor imaging, high-angular resolution diffusion imaging for detailed fiber tracking and for diffusion kurtosis imaging; (iii) resting-state and task-based functional MRI; and (iv) fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and MR angiography for the detection of vascular lesions and the mapping of white matter lesions. The unique design of 1000BRAINS allows: (i) comprehensive investigation of various influences including genetics, environment and health status on variability in brain structure and function during aging; and (ii) identification of the impact of selected influencing factors on specific cognitive subsystems and their anatomical correlates.

Keywords: cohort, connectivity, Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, resting-state, imaging genetics, variability, aging, elderly

Citation: Caspers S, Moebus S, Lux S, Pundt N, Schütz H, Mühleisen TW, Gras V, Eickhoff SB, Romanzetti S, Stöcker T, Stirnberg R, Kirlangic ME, Minnerop M, Pieperhoff P, Mödder U, Das S, Evans AC, Jöckel K-H, Erbel R, Cichon S, Nöthen MM, Sturma D, Bauer A, Jon Shah N, Zilles K and Amunts K (2014) Studying variability in human brain aging in a population-based German cohort—rationale and design of 1000BRAINS. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6:149. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00149

Received: 21 February 2014; Accepted: 17 June 2014;
Published online: 14 July 2014.

Edited by:

Rodrigo Orlando Kuljiš, Zdrav Mozak Limitada, Chile

Reviewed by:

Stefano F. Cappa, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Italy
Douglas Watt, Quincy Medical Center, USA; Cambridge Health Alliance, USA

Copyright © 2014 Caspers, Moebus, Lux, Pundt, Schütz, Mühleisen, Gras, Eickhoff, Romanzetti, Stöcker, Stirnberg, Kirlangic, Minnerop, Pieperhoff, Mödder, Das, Evans, Jöckel, Erbel, Cichon, Nöthen, Sturma, Bauer, Jon Shah, Zilles and Amunts. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Svenja Caspers, Research Centre Jülich, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Leo-Brandt-Str. 2, 52425 Jülich, Germany e-mail: s.caspers@fz-juelich.de

These authors have contributed equally to this work.