Susan Mérillat (-Koeneke)

Susan Mérillat (-Koeneke)
University of Zurich | UZH · International Normal Aging and Plasticity Imaging Center

Ph.D.

About

88
Publications
16,172
Reads
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3,072
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Introduction
My research focus is on the understanding of healthy aging (WHO, 2020). Specifically, we employ longitudinal data to model developmental trajectories of brain structure/ function and abilities (e.g. cognition) and their interrelations and use a multitude of between-person factors (e.g., lifestyle) to explain interindividual differences in intraindividual change. An overarching goal is to develop innovative methods and workflows to contribute to sustainable multiscale research data valorization.
Education
April 2003 - April 2006
University of Zurich
Field of study
  • Neuropsychology
October 1997 - April 2003

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Cross-sectional studies have consistently identified age-associated alterations in default mode network (DMN) functional connectivity (FC). Yet, research on longitudinal trajectories of FC changes of the DMN in healthy aging is less conclusive. For the present study, we used a resting state functional MRI dataset drawn from the Longitudinal Healthy...
Article
Full-text available
Background Given the present demographic shift towards an aging society, there is an increased need to investigate the brain’s functional connectivity in the context of aging. Trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are factors known to impact healthy aging and have been reported to be associated with functional connectiv...
Article
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White matter hyperintensities (WMH) of presumed vascular origin are frequently found in MRIs of healthy older adults. WMH are also associated with aging and cognitive decline. Here, we compared and validated three algorithms for WMH extraction: FreeSurfer (T1w), UBO Detector (T1w + FLAIR), and FSL's Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algori...
Article
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Markers of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) have previously been associated with age-related cognitive decline. Using longitudinal data of cognitively healthy, older adults (N = 216, mean age at baseline = 70.9 years), we investigated baseline status and change in white matter hyperintensities (WMH) (total, periventricular, deep), normal appear...
Article
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown that cortical volume declines with age. Although volume is a multiplicative measure consisting of thickness and area, few studies have focused on both its components. Information on decline variability and associations between person-specific changes of different brain metrics, brain regions, and...
Poster
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Highlighted as exceptional abstract in the category of diseases of the nervous system – neurodegenerative, late life.
Article
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Background While it is well-known that deficits in motor performance and brain structural connectivity occur in the course of healthy aging, it is still unclear if and how these changes are related to each other. While some cross-sectional studies suggest that white matter (WM) microstructure is positively associated with motor function in healthy...
Article
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Cross-sectional studies indicate that normal aging is accompanied by decreases in brain structure. Longitudinal studies, however, are relatively rare and inconsistent regarding their outcomes. Particularly the heterogeneity of methods, sample characteristics and the high inter-individual variability in older adults prevent the deduction of general...
Article
Full-text available
Substantial evidence indicates that cognitive training can be efficacious for older adults, but findings regarding training-related brain plasticity have been mixed and vary depending on the imaging modality. Recent years have seen a growth in recognition of the importance of large-scale brain networks on cognition. In particular, task-induced deac...
Chapter
Normal aging is generally associated with deterioration in a number of cognitive abilities, although large individual differences in size and progression of age-related cognitive change exist. Cognitive training interventions have become an increasingly important object of research, aiming at the stabilization and improvement of cognitive abilities...
Article
This study used structural magnetic resonance imaging to examine whether specific anatomical features of Broca's and Wernicke's areas are related to language functions in typically developing older subjects with no specific language expertise. Data from 231 subjects from the Zurich LHAB-study are used for this study. For these subjects, we obtained...
Preprint
Full-text available
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) of presumed vascular origin are frequently found in MRIs of healthy older adults. WMH are also associated with aging and cognitive decline. Here, we compared and validated three freely available algorithms for WMH extraction: FreeSurfer, UBO Detector, and BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorit...
Article
Full-text available
Describing the trajectories of age-related change for different brain structures has been of interest in many recent studies. However, our knowledge regarding these trajectories and their associations is still limited due to small sample sizes and low numbers of repeated measures. For the present study, we used a large longitudinal dataset (four me...
Article
Full-text available
Healthy aging is associated with changes in cognitive performance and functional brain organization. In fact, cross‐sectional studies imply lower modularity and significant heterogeneity in modular architecture across older subjects. Here, we used a longitudinal dataset consisting of four occasions of resting‐state‐fMRI and cognitive testing (spann...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we examined a large sample of 231 generally healthy older adults across 4 years with regard to several brain anatomical measures (volumes of total grey matter volume: GM, normal appearing white matter: NAWM, lateral ventricle: LV, and white matter hypointensities: WMH) and psychometric intelligence (verbal and non-verbal). The datase...
Article
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Healthy aging is associated with weaker functional connectivity within resting state brain networks and stronger functional interaction between these networks. This phenomenon has been characterized as reduced functional segregation and has been investigated mainly in cross-sectional studies. Here, we used a longitudinal dataset which consisted of...
Article
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Age-related differences in white matter (WM) microstructure have been linked to lower performance in tasks of processing speed in healthy older individuals. However, only few studies have examined this link in a longitudinal setting. These investigations have been limited to the correlation of simultaneous changes in WM microstructure and processin...
Article
Der Beitrag zeigt die Erfordernisse und Konsequenzen der Umsetzung des modernen Konzept des gesunden Alterns (WHO, 2015) für die Schweiz auf.
Article
Little is still known about the neuroanatomical substrates related to changes in specific cognitive abilities in the course of healthy aging, and the existing evidence is predominantly based on cross-sectional studies. However, to understand the intricate dynamics between developmental changes in brain structure and changes in cognitive ability, lo...
Article
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Normal aging is accompanied by an interindividually variable decline in cognitive abilities and brain structure. This variability, in combination with methodical differences and differences in sample characteristics across studies, pose a major challenge for generalizability of results from different studies. Therefore, the current study aimed at c...
Chapter
Im Kapitel werden die wichtigsten entwicklungsregulativen Theorien besprochen, die übergeordnete Mechanismen der Entwicklung im Umgang mit Ressourcenveränderungen beschreiben. Zudem werden aktuelle Entwicklungen der Alternsforschung beleuchtet wie die Fokussierung auf Stabilisierungsprozesse, die Benutzung alltagsnaher objektiver Mess- und Analysev...
Article
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We examined whether it is possible to identify individual subjects on the basis of brain anatomical features. For this, we analyzed a dataset comprising 191 subjects who were scanned three times over a period of two years. Based on FreeSurfer routines, we generated three datasets covering 148 anatomical regions (cortical thickness, area, volume). T...
Article
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Aging is associated with microstructural white matter (WM) changes. WM microstructural characteristics, measured with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), are different in normal appearing white matter (NAWM) and WM hyperintensities (WMH). It is largely unknown how the microstructural properties of WMH are associated with cognition and if there are regi...
Article
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Cerebellar volume declines with aging. Few studies have investigated age differences in regional cerebellar volume (RCV) and their association with motor and cognitive function. In 213 healthy older adults, we investigated the association of age with motor skills, cognition and RCV. Subsequently, we studied the association of RCV with motor skills...
Chapter
Full-text available
Normal aging is generally associated with deterioration in a number of cognitive abilities, although large individual differences in size and progression of age-related cognitive change exist. Cognitive training interventions have become an increasingly important object of research, aiming at the stabilization and improvement of cognitive abilities...
Article
Multi-domain training potentially increases the likelihood of overlap in processing components with transfer tasks and everyday life, and hence is a promising training approach for older adults. To empirically test this, 84 healthy older adults aged 64 to 75 years were randomly assigned to one of three single-domain training conditions (inhibition,...
Article
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A major contribution to our understanding of the aging brain either comes from studies comparing young with older adults or from studies investigating pathological aging and using the healthy aging older adults as control group. In consequence, we know relatively well, what distinguishes young from old brains or pathological aging from healthy but...
Article
Age-related behavioral declines may be the result of deterioration of white matter tracts, affecting brain structural (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) during resting state. To date, it is not clear if the combination of SC and FC data could better predict cognitive/motor performance than each measure separately. We probed these relationships i...
Article
A major part of our knowledge about the functioning of the aging brain comes from task-induced activation paradigms. However, the aging brain's intrinsic functional organization may be already a limiting factor for the outcome of an actual behavior. In order to get a better understanding of how this functional baseline configuration of the aging br...
Article
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Background There is no doubt that good bimanual performance is very important for skilled handball playing. The control of the non-dominant hand is especially demanding since efficient catching and throwing needs both hands. Methodology/Hypotheses We investigated training-induced structural neuroplasticity in professional handball players using s...
Article
Objectives Functional neuroimaging and voxel-based morphometry studies have confirmed the important role of the cerebellum in motor behavior. However, little is known about the relationship between cerebellar gray (GMv) and white matter (WMv) volume and manual motor performance in aging individuals. This study aims to quantify the relationship betw...
Article
Aging is associated with impaired motor performance across a range of tasks. Both primary neural representations of movement and potential compensatory cognitive mechanisms appear to be disrupted in older age. Here we determined how age is associated with resting state sensorimotor functional connectivity, and whether connectivity strength is assoc...
Article
Relatively little is known about reliability of longitudinal diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) measurements despite growing interest in using DTI to track change in white matter structure. The purpose of this study is to quantify within- and between session scan-rescan reliability of DTI-derived measures that are commonly used to describe the characte...
Article
This study was conducted to examine the statistical influence of brain size on cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar compartmental volumes. This brain size influence was especially studied to delineate interactions with Sex and Age. Here, we studied 856 healthy subjects of which 533 are classified as young and 323 as old. Using an automated segment...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to accurately process numerical magnitudes and solve mental arithmetic is of highest importance for schooling and professional career. Although impairments in these domains in disorders such as developmental dyscalculia (DD) are highly detrimental, remediation is still sparse. In recent years, transcranial brain stimulation methods such...
Article
Full-text available
Much is known about practice-induced plasticity of the motor system. But it is not clear how a physical training influences the mental rehearsal of the practiced task and its associated hemodynamic responses. In the present longitudinal study with two measurement time-points, we used the method of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a...
Article
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The present lab-review presents and discusses our previous and current research into motor training-induced neuroplasticity by classifying our work on the basis of two broad aspects: (1) the applied study design (i.e., cross-sectional vs. longitudinal) and (2) the complexity of the motor task subjected to training (i.e., elementary finger movements...
Article
Physiologic studies revealed that neurons in the dopaminergic midbrain of non-human primates encode reward prediction errors. It was furthermore shown that reward prediction errors are adaptively scaled with respect to the range of possible outcomes, enabling sensitive encoding for a large range of reward values. Congruently, neuroimaging studies i...
Article
Previous neuroimaging studies in the field of motor learning have shown that learning a new skill induces specific changes of neural gray and white matter in human brain areas necessary to control the practiced task. Former longitudinal studies investigating motor skill learning have used strict training protocols with little ecological validity ra...
Article
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To examine the effect of various forms of training interventions, with and without virtual reality, on the initiation and maintenance of active participation during robot-assisted gait training. Intervention study at the Rehabilitation Centre Affoltern a. A., University Children's Hospital, Zurich. Ten patients (5 males, mean age 12.47 years, stand...
Article
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The key objective of the International Normal Aging and Plasticity Imaging Center (INAPIC) at the University of Zürich is to facilitate research on normal healthy behavioral and neural development and aging to explore the potential for plasticity and compensation across the lifespan. The INAPIC invites international research groups to submit propos...
Article
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Virtual reality (VR) offers powerful therapy options within a functional, purposeful and motivating context. Several studies have shown that patients' motivation plays a crucial role in determining therapy outcome. However, few studies have demonstrated the potential of VR in pediatric rehabilitation. Therefore, we developed a VR-based soccer scena...
Article
Human gait is a complex process in the central nervous system that results from the integrity of various mechanisms, including different cortical and subcortical structures. In the present study, we investigated cortical activity during lower limb movement using EEG. Assisted by a dynamic tilt table, all subjects performed standardized stepping mov...
Article
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a massed compared to a distributed practice upon visuomotor learning as well as upon the regional oscillatory activity in the sensorimotor cortex. A continuous visuomotor tracking task was used to assess visuomotor learning; the underlying neuronal correlates were measured by means of EEG. The...
Article
Evidence suggests that motor, sensory, and cognitive training modulates brain structures involved in a specific practice. Functional neuroimaging revealed key brain structures involved in dancing such as the putamen and the premotor cortex. Intensive ballet dance training was expected to modulate the structures of the sensorimotor network, for exam...
Article
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In studies on transfer of practice effects, researchers use simple or complex movements that involve a significant cognitive element. In the present study, the authors studied intermanual and intramanual transfer of practice with a task that can be considered intermediate in difficulty. Using finger tapping as a motor task, 30 participants practice...
Article
Full-text available
Several recent studies have shown practice-dependent structural alterations in humans. Cross-sectional studies of intensive practice of specific tasks suggest associated long-term structural adaptations. Playing golf at a high level of performance is one of the most demanding sporting activities. In this study, we report the relationship between a...