Christiane Jockwitz

Dr. rer. medic. Christiane Jockwitz obtained her M.Sc. in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (Neuropsychology) from Maastricht University, the Netherlands in 2011. Afterwards, she did her PhD at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Center Jülich, Germany on “Structure-Function Relationships in Resting-State-Networks of older adults”.

Currently, Dr. Jockwitz is Post-Doc working in the Connectivity group of the INM-1 and Institute of Anatomy I, Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf, Germany, employed by the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, RWTH Aachen University, Germany. In her research Dr. Jockwitz investigates the structural and functional organization of the aging brain in relation to cognitive functions, especially during older ages. Dr. Jockwitz has expertise with population neuroimaging and is part of the study committee of the population-based cohort study 1000BRAINS investigating the inter-individual variability of the normal aging brain. In 2017, the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded her an International Short Visit at the University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Aging” at the University of Zurich to cross-validate age-related changes in cognitive performance and brain structure in two large cohorts consisting of older adults.


Abstract: Normal aging in population-based imaging cohorts

Our older adult population is growing, bringing along a tremendous impact on health and economic aspects of the society. Age itself is the highest risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, which highlights the urgent need for a better understanding of brain aging in relation to cognitive decline. Lifespan trajectories show considerable changes in brain structure and function from early to late adulthood. In contrast, older adults are rather characterized by a high inter-individual variability, with a spectrum ranging from accelerated aging to preserved cognitive abilities until old age. However, to unravel this high variability between older adults and their relation to brain structure and function, large sample sizes are needed. Therefore, modern research investigates and identifies genetic, socioeconomic and psychosocial factors that can partially explain the high inter-individual variability of cognitive performance, brain structure and function in large population-based cohorts consisting of thousands of older adults with the ultimate goal of distinguishing normal from pathological aging. In the current state it becomes clear that age itself might not play the major role in terms of explaining differences in brain structure and function and related cognitive decline between older adults. Instead, other factors come into focus regarding the high inter-individual variability of older adults.