Lauren Clawson L&S Biological Sciences
Targeting Impaired Homeostasis As A Therapeutic For Cognitive Decline
With the prevalence of dementia estimated at 50 million people worldwide, cognitive decline proves to be endemic in the older population. Though cognitive deterioration is widely recognized to be linked to aging, its development is a complex process with multiple etiological pathways, making its complete understanding challenging. Two pathological processes contributing to dementia in the aging brain are circadian degradation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction (BBBd). This summer, I will use mouse models to explore the efficacy of a novel, non-invasive gamma light treatment in mitigating these causes of age-associated cognitive decline. Specifically, I seek to answer: Can 40 Hz invisible spectral flicker light treatment rescue circadian degradation, age-associated BBBd, and cognitive function in vulnerable mice? Using current knowledge of optical flickering light treatment, I hypothesize that age-related circadian degradation leads to BBBd which drives cognitive decline in vulnerable individuals. These findings will enhance understanding of the mechanisms of age-related cognitive decline and have the potential for wide-ranging treatment.