A new research project funded by Australian Rotary Health will look at factors associated with cognitive decline as we age.

Kayla Corney from Deakin University was awarded the Bing Taylor PhD Scholarship this year to investigate cognitive ageing and the interplay between biological, psychological and environmental factors.

“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,” Kayla said.

“Despite this accumulating evidence, large population-based studies are needed to characterise cognitive ageing trajectories and to determine contributing factors and examine potential interactions and patterns.”

The aims of Kayla’s project are to 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.

Kayla will use data from the ongoing Geelong Osteoporosis Study, which includes extensive medical, lifestyle, socio-demographic and clinical information from a sample of 3,200 adults.

“This research will lead to improved knowledge of strategies to promote the maintenance of cognitive function, as well as better identify groups who may be more susceptible to cognitive decline and the disease progression in dementia,” Kayla said.

Not only will this have important implications for early diagnoses and informing treatment, but Kayla believes it will also improve healthcare costs, care arrangements, the burden of care giving, and generally improve the quality of life among older adults.

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

“Understanding the many aspects of the ageing process provides the opportunity to improve overall health, quality of life and longevity.”

We wish Kayla all the best with her research.

 

Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or jessica@arh.org.au