Published: 23-08-2017 16:18 | Updated: 29-08-2017 11:13

New thesis on measuring the damage in white matter

Soheil Damangir. Photo: Selma Wolofsky

Hi Soheil Damangir, PhD student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics. On 25 August you will defend your thesis "The matter of white and gray matter in Alzheimer´s Disease”, what´s the main focus of the thesis?

My thesis is about the role of white matter (i.e. the connection between different parts of the brain) in relation to changes in gray matter and cognition. We wanted to understand how damages to white matter and also the risk factors that cause damage to white matter affect decline in cognition.

Which are the most important results?

We showed that cognitive decline is not all about change and neuronal loss in gray matter; and that damage to white matter is also very important specially for healthier people. We also proposed a new way of measuring the damage in white matter and showed that it can pick up subtle changes very early in the disease.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

In future our method may help to identify minute disease related changes in the white matter. This can be specially beneficial for people who experience subtle cognition problem but seem normal on conventional cognition tests.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I was awarded a fellowship from the European committee for treatment and research in multiple sclerosis to start a one-year fellowship in VU university hospital in Amsterdam after my PhD. After that I will move to California to spend some years closer to my family. I wish I can keep conducting research either in an academic or industrial setting there and then return back to continue my research in Karolinska.