Although healthy aging is subject to widespread neural atrophy, there exists no simple correspondence between the degree of these changes and cognitive performance. Interestingly, language comprehension remains surprisingly well preserved, even though the brain regions on which this ability relies have been shown to deteriorate both on a structural and functional level.
My research project addresses this intriguing mismatch between the structural changes and the relative preservation of cognitive ability. Uncovering these dynamics will increase our understanding of the neurobiological infrastructure of why some cognitive functions deteriorate and others do not in the case of healthy aging. Moreover, it sets a background against which it is possible to assess the effects of pathological disease.