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Trinity College Dublin

The ageing brain: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study of structural changes in the brain of a ins

Research Field: 
Life Sciences
Resource Type: 
Resource Type: 
Resource Type: 
Visualisation Support
Resource Class: 
Lead PI: 
Dr. Alice Witney
Ageing is known to lead to changes in behaviour that lead to a loss of functioning. With an increasingly ageing population it is important to develop a good experimental model of how neural changes relate to natural ageing, and how neural changes may be linked to observed behavioural decline. This understanding would help to optimise adaptation to the age related changes, and maximize quality of life over an individual’s lifespan. Insects are potentially important model systems to study age related changes. Compared with other animals, their life span is more appropriate for a longitudinal laboratory experiment - comparing the same animal over its natural lifespan. Further, despite their short life span, they remain complex animals, with large behavioural repertoires. The locust Schistocerca gregaria is particularly useful model for analysing changes in brain volumes through ageing. They have relatively large brains that have been characterized using histological methods, creating a standard locust brain, accessible to the research community. Further, some of the functions of locust brain areas have already been established through previous research. Recent developments in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enable high-resolution images of the locust brain that can reveal the different brain areas, and enable the brain volumes to be determined.The brain volumes of locusts of known age will be determined, and comparisons will be made with the known standard volumes.
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Last updated 27 Jul 2011Contact Research IT.