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Scientists join forces to study aging brains

Image: Brain tissue
This brain tissue has undergone antibody labeling for the Aging, Dementia and TBI Study. Dark brown spots are amyloid plaques, implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease. (Credit: Allen Institute)

Scientists from Seattle’s Allen Institute for Brain Science, the University of Washington and Group Health Research Institute have put together a first-of-its-kind database of brain imagery and medical data, to help unravel the potential links between brain injuries, aging and dementia.

The database for the Aging, Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury Study is hosted at the Allen Institute’s Brain-Map.org website. For years, the institute has been mapping the connections between brain function and gene expression, but this database goes way beyond genetics.

The study’s brain samples come from a bigger study called Adult Changes in Thought. That longitudinal research effort, led by Eric Larson and Paul Crane of the Group Health Research Institute and UW, looks at health records and cognitive assessments from thousands of aging adults.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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