Neuroscience PhD candidate, Raven Hardy's, recent research article entitled “Role of age and neuroinflammation in the mechanism of cognitive deficits in sickle cell disease has been selected as a Highlight article for Experimental Biology and Medicine’s 246:1/January issue. Raven, under the mentorship of Dr. Hyacinth Hyacinth, utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to understand cognition in sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a multi-system disorder and is one of the most prevalent monogenic diseases globally. Despite knowledge that SCD is a progressively deteriorating disease and that cognition worsens with age, factors that potentially contribute to neurocognitive and neurobehavioral deficits in SCD are least understood. Raven is working to determine the relationship between cognition, age, and potential mechanisms that influence cognitive and behavioral profiles of SCD. Our lab has observed that microinfarcts are associated with cerebral vasculopathy in aged mice and has recent evidence that aged mice have decreased cognition in sickle cell. In the Highlight Article, Ms. Hardy presents findings that support that there exist a relationship between age and abnormal cognitive and behavioral function. In addition abnormal behavioral and cognitive function was found to be associated with increased neuroinflammation and dendritic spine and arborization alterations. She is currently utilizing cognitive/behavioral paradigms and multimodal imaging to understand the profiles that could potentially be influenced by microinfarcts and lead to cognitive/behavioral abnormalities seen in SCD.