Investigates risk factors for cognitive impairment
Investigates risk factors for cognitive impairment
This project evaluates the link between air pollution and cognitive function in Australia.
This project looks at how beliefs and expectations about age-related change and personal awareness of age-related change correlate to lifestyle and behaviour choices relevant to maintaining cognitive health.
Treatment non-adherence has been associated with reduced efficacy of treatments and increased health care costs, but its impact on cognitive health has never been evaluated. With our ageing population, mild cognitive disorders are likely to severely impact self-management of medication and chronic disease in the 20 per cent of adults aged 70+ who don't have dementia but meet criteria for cognitive impairment. This important impact on cognitive health has rarely been explored and its importance is unmeasured, resulting in minimal development of interventions or policy. We hypothesise that there is a large potential to improve cognitive health by improving chronic disease management. The socio-ecological framework provides a model for understanding how social, psychological and environmental factors, such as access to services, may impact cognitive health via self-management of chronic disease. This work will inform the development and pilot of an intervention to evaluate cognition as an outcome of improved chronic disease management.
This project examined the relationship between diet and cognitive health using longitudinal data in Australia. The results showed that the MIND diet was related to a reduction in the 12-year incidence of MCI and dementia.
There has previously been minimal research on how urban environments impact cognition despite animal work showing associations. In this project, we aimed to measure associations between environmental characteristics, stressors, toxic particulates such as air pollution and cognitive health, and geographically map cognitive function outcomes to identify risk and protective features of environments linked to cognitive health.
This project involves the development of a series of guidelines for cognitive health promotion and prevention of cognitive impairment. For example, guidelines on physical activity, urban environments, cognitive activity (mental fitness and keeping mentally active).
Until now, research has focussed on identifying risk factors for impairment rather than defining ranges of biomarkers associated with optimal cognitive health. Our previous work showed that high levels of glucose in the normal population are associated with brain atrophy, suggesting that we don't know the optimal level of glucose for cognitive health maintenance. This project aims to estimate the levels of biomarkers (such as MRI, blood glucose, vitamin D, HDL, LDL, blood pressure levels, adiposity, CRP, GFR) associated with the optimal ranges of neurocognitive outcomes in cohort studies stratified by age and sex.
This project examines the relationship of psychological and social influence on cognitive health, taking account of factors that may influence this relationship, such as financial hardship mental health. The findings will inform policy in Australia and UK, and provide a more global perspective on psychosocial factors predicting cognitive health in ageing.
We currently lack basic epidemiological information (prevalence, incidence of cognitive deficits) on cognitive impairment within specific chronic disease groups (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal insufficiency) at different ages, particularly younger adults and middle-aged adults who are currently of working age. The aim of this project is to identify prevalence estimates and modifying factors for a range of chronic diseases.
This PhD project comprises a systematic review (accepted for publication, see below), a UK validation of the AARC-10SF and the AARC-50 cognitive functioning subscale, examination of cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of AARC with cognitive functioning, psychological health and physical health, and an investigation of age as a predictor of change in AARC over time.
Vibrant, high-density, destination-rich urban environments provide opportunities for residents to engage in physical, social and cognitive activities benefiting brain and cognitive health. However, such environments may also be associated with harmful levels of pollution and informational overload. This research program will investigate how aspects of urban environments interact with a person’s genetic and psychological characteristics to affect brain and cognitive health through lifestyle behaviours (such as physical activity, sleep, socialising) and, more directly, through exposure to air and noise pollution. This research program is at the cutting edge of an important, emerging area of research in public health and cognition.
Examines environmental correlates of active ageing in mid-aged and older Australians.
Utilises a range of extant datasets to identify destination types and mixes that support an active lifestyle in mid-aged and older adults. Aims to identify individual and environmental moderators of environment-physical activity associations.