The data acquired yield very large datasets that require special tools for integration, evaluation and reduction. Computer science expertise and a high performance computer cluster at the Brain Sciences Center provide the needed power to achieve these goals and define brain health in a comprehensive way.
Cognitive function is assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). It consists of 30 questions that test visuospatial/ executive functioning, ability to name objects, memory, attention, general language skills (fluency), abstraction, delayed recall, and orientation.
Blood is acquired for DNA and analysis of polymorphisms; associations with brain, cognitive, and language measures are investigated. DNA is assessed for specific brain-related polymorphisms that are related to cognitive function such as the alleles for apolipoprotein-E, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and catechol- O-methyl transferase. Brain status predictions from genetics will also be investigated.
Participants also are asked to provide demographic and lifestyle information. It is well-known that educational level, exercise, smoking, medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol can affect cognitive function and increase the risk for development of dementia. Therefore, taking these factors into consideration is an important aspect of the project. The survey includes questions about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use; basic health screening; neurological testing; physical activity; nutrition; handedness, education, race, ethnicity, living situation, marital status and limitations
MEG data are acquired while the subject is resting for one minute at 1,017 kHz using a high spatial density system with 248 axial gradiometer sensors (Magnes 3600WH, 4-D Neuroimaging, San Diego, CA). The data consist of 60,000 milliseconds x 248 sensors time series per brain. From these data, following proper prewhitening, 30,628 synchronous neural interactions (SNI) are computed between all possible pairs of sensors.