Dementia Research

‘Cognitive Ageing and the Interplay between Biological, Psychological and Environmental Factors’

Deakin University, VIC
Awarded 2019
Co-funded by Bing Taylor PhD Scholarship (District 9675)

“The topics of ageing, health and psychology are of utmost importance, in a rapidly growing ageing society.”

Researcher Profile

I am a science and psychology graduate, having completed a Bachelor of science (Nutrition), Graduate Diploma (Psychology) and Graduate Diploma Advanced (Psychology). Over the course of my studies, I have developed an integrated model of scientific knowledge, providing a frame work for novel creative ideas and potential improvements in various theories and methods.

My commitment to my research interests in ageing, health and psychology, prompted me to apply to complete a PhD, which I have now commenced at Deakin University focusing on my research interests.

Project Summary

The progression in health and research has increased human longevity. Accordingly, older people are making up a considerable amount of the population. Sustaining optimal cognitive function is essential for successful performance and independence in later life. Unfortunately, as we age, our cognitive abilities may gradually deteriorate. Although cognitive decline and dementia can sometimes be unavoidable, recent evidence reports there are ways in which people can modify their risk of these poor outcomes. Despite this accumulating evidence, large population based studies are needed to characterize cognitive ageing trajectories and to determine contributing factors and examine potential interactions and patterns.

Thus, the aims of this project are to determine the extent of poor cognitive function in the general population, identify biological, psychological and environmental factors associated with cognition and its decline with the goal of creating a multi-factor model able to delineate between cognitive ageing trajectories.

Data from the ongoing, Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS), one of the largest and most comprehensive psychiatric epidemiological cohort studies worldwide, will be utilized. The GOS comprises a randomly-selected sample of over 3200 adults spanning the full adult age range drawn from the electoral roles from the Barwon Statistical Division, located South Eastern Australia. Extensive medical, lifestyle, socio-demographic and clinical data have been collected from each participant and archived with new information being collected at the 15 year follow up. Cognitive status will be determined using the Cog-State Brief Battery (CBB), a computer-based neuropsychology battery, for assessing specific cognitive domains.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Lana Williams & Professor Julie Pasco