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    New article reporting the design and results of the Brain-MRI Study was published in Journal of the Japan Medical Association

    Research: 2023/07/19

    New article about the Brain-MRI Study has been published in the Journal of the Japan Medical Association. The article describes the background, purpose, design, data management and reports on the results of the study.
    In recent years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used to study the early detection and risk assessment of disease. Amongst these, large-scale prospective cohort studies have been particularly effective in allowing us to understand how cognitive decline and mental illness progress on a deeper level.
    In 2014, we started the TMM Brain-MRI Study as part of the TMM Community-based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study) and the TMM Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study (TMM BirThree Cohort Study). The study looked at how the brain changes with age by examining data from the same individual over time. By 2019, brain MRI images and test results for cognitive assessments and psychological status from more than 12,000 people ranging from young to old were collected. The ongoing study is now at the second survey stage, with data from approximately 60% of the total participants collected.
    The goal of this study is to create a database of each individual’s brain by analyzing MRI data, cognitive assessments, psychological profiles, and data from the main cohort study. This includes those such as health status, lifestyle, and body biomarkers (indicators of body information) to be able to analyze normal aging, as well as the progression of diseases. The initial analysis showed that 1)the total gray matter volume as well as the left and right hippocampal volumes analyzed indicated that the brain atrophies as we age; and 2) approximately 16% of the subjects in the study had a possibility of cognitive decline (concluded from the administration of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a test of cognitive function, to a total of 3,610 people aged 65 or older). This study is the first large-scale study in Japan on brain structure and related characteristics during the healthy aging process, a situation that is rare and valuable worldwide.

    “The Brain-MRI Study is an extremely important addition to the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project's dataset,” said Professor Shunji Mugikura, a neuroradiologist and group leader of the Brain Imaging and Research at the ToMMo. “We are already leveraging this unique dataset to contribute novel insights to the global understanding of these very important age-related changes. Historically, such data was almost entirely obtained in the Western countries, so the Brain-MRI Study will provide knowledge of such factors about the Japanese population for the first time.”

    Dr. Makiko Taira, a neurologist and deputy group leader of the research, as well as being the first author of the publication said, “By coupling brain structure data and the massive genomic and biomarker data acquired from the TMM CommCohort Study and TMM BirThree Cohort Study, the Brain-MRI Study is enabling unique analyses of genetic factors impacting the maintenance of brain integrity in normal aging and its loss in late life neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

    Publication Details

    Title: Tohoku Medical Megabank Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study: Rationale, Design, and Background
    Authors: Makiko Taira, Shunji Mugikura, Naoko Mori, Atsushi Hozawa, Tomo Saito, Tomohiro Nakamura, Hideyasu Kiyomoto, Tadao Kobayashi, Soichi Ogishima, Fuji Nagami, Akira Uruno, Ritsuko Shimizu, Tomoko Kobayashi, Jun Yasuda, Shigeo Kure, Miyuki Sakurai, Ikuko N. Motoike, Kazuki Kumada, Naoki Nakaya, Taku Obara, Kentaro Oba, Atsushi Sekiguchi, Benjamin Thyreau, Tatsushi Mutoh, Yuji Takano, Mitsunari Abe, Norihide Maikusa, Yasuko Tatewaki, Yasuyuki Taki, Nobuo Yaegashi, Hiroaki Tomita, Kengo Kinoshita, Shinichi Kuriyama, Nobuo Fuse and Masayuki Yamamoto
    Journal: Journal of the Japan Medical Association
    Published date: July 14, 2023
    DOI: 10.31662/jmaj.2022-0220