Georgina Rawson
Georgina Rawson
Georgina Rawson

Georgina Rawson

‘Slow wave sleep and biomarkers of neurodegeneration in obstructive sleep apnoea’

Monash University, Vic
Awarded 2023
Co-funded by the Bartolina Peluso/Rotary Club of Strathmore

“The results of this study will contribute to current knowledge surrounding early detection of neurodegeneration, and methods of intervention to decrease the risk of early development of dementia.”

General Health PhD Scholarship

Researcher Profile

I obtained my undergraduate degree at Flinders University in South Australia, where I continued to work in sleep and dementia research following my graduation. During my time as a research assistant, I developed a passion for exploring neurodegenerative diseases, developing tools for early detection, and methods of early intervention. In 2023, I moved to Melbourne to commence a PhD at Monash University.

Here at Monash, I am able to combine my interests in sleep research and neurodegenerative disease to explore how poor quality sleep is associated with increased risk of neurodegenerative disease.

Project Summary

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder, which causes the airway to collapse during sleep, leading to dips in oxygen levels and fragmented sleep. There is growing evidence that individuals living with OSA have an increased risk of developing dementia compared to individuals without it. Specifically, individuals with OSA tend to have higher levels of several proteins associated with the development of dementia in their brain, which can also be detected in their blood.

Recent studies suggest that the prevalence of these proteins may be influenced by several sleep parameters such as adequate breathing during sleep and the amount and quality of different sleep stages, but this has not yet been studied in individuals with OSA. The current project will analyse the blood levels of proteins associated with neurodegeneration and dementia in individuals recently diagnosed with OSA and will explore the relationship between disordered sleep and the accumulation of these proteins.

These findings will help understand the association between OSA and dementia risk, and what aspects of sleep should be targeted to reduce dementia risk.

Supervisors: A/Professor Melinda Jackson, A/Professor Matthew Pase and A/Professor Mark Howard

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