Aging is associated with a wide range of molecular and structural changes throughout an individual's lifespan, resulting in the deterioration of physical abilities and increased risk of disease [1]–[3]. In the brain, aging results in cognitive decline [4] and predisposes to neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease [5]. Therefore, developing biomarkers capable of robustly capturing age-related biological changes is necessary to understand the pathophysiology of various disorders and potentially assess the effects of interventions that target aging [2], [6].

At NRU, we aim to:

  • Validate existing biomarkers of brain aging on large datasets, focusing on test-retest reliability and construct validity. Both are important and need to be established before application in clinical trials
  • Develop new biomarkers of aging using machine learning and neuroimaging. Mainly, we are interested in whether brain imaging using positron emission tomography yields important information regarding aging.

Involved persons:

Ruben Dörfel, Jonas Svensson, and Pontus Plavén-Sigray.


[1] M. P. Mattson and T. V. Arumugam, “Hallmarks of Brain Aging: Adaptive and Pathological Modification by Metabolic States,” Cell Metab., vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 1176–1199, Jun. 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.05.011.
[2] M. Moqri et al., “Biomarkers of aging for the identification and evaluation of longevity interventions,” Cell, vol. 186, no. 18, pp. 3758–3775, Aug. 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.08.003.
[3] M. R. Rose, “Adaptation, aging, and genomic information,” Aging, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 444–450, May 2009.
[4] J. L. S. Sauver et al., “Risk of developing multimorbidity across all ages in an historical cohort study: differences by sex and ethnicity,” BMJ Open, vol. 5, no. 2, p. e006413, Feb. 2015, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006413.
[5] Y. Hou et al., “Ageing as a risk factor for neurodegenerative disease,” Nat. Rev. Neurol., vol. 15, no. 10, pp. 565–581, 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41582-019-0244-7.
[6] A. T. Higgins-Chen, K. L. Thrush, and M. E. Levine, “Aging biomarkers and the brain,” Semin. Cell Dev. Biol., vol. 116, no. January, pp. 180–193, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.01.003.