Neuroinflammation

Metabolic and inflammatory factors have recently been proposed as key risk factors in cognitive ageing and age-related brain disorders such as the dementias. We are aiming to evaluate the influence of these factors on brain ageing and the modulating effects of genetic susceptibility, physical health, lifestyle and nutrition.

About the Group: 

Our data derives from two large cohorts: the Older Australian Twins Study and the Memory and Ageing Study and is funded by the NHMRC.
 
The key objectives of the study include:

  • the characterisation of the contribution of obesity-related proinflammatory cytokines to cognitive and imaging markers of ageing, and the development of age-related syndromes such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI);
  • the evaluation of the contribution of obesity and the 'metabolic syndrome' to cognitive and imaging markers of ageing, and the development of age-related cognitive syndromes such as MCI;
  • the evaluation of the interactive effect of biomarkers associated with both a 'proinflammatory state' and 'metabolic syndrome' and their interaction with known risk factors for dementia;
  • the identification of the metabolic and genetic predictors of arterial stiffness and to examine the cognitive and brain imaging correlates of increased arterial stiffness;
  • the identification of new polymorphisms relating to inflammatory cytokines and examine their interactive effect with a range of vascular, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cognitive decline.

Our research enables us to evaluate these objectives in cross section and over a 2 year follow-up in both cohorts, thus providing us with data on the relevance of any identified biomarkers and their interactive effect on outcome. In addition, we will be able to determine an 'at risk' profile for elderly individuals for accelerated ageing effects. Identification of this profile is important as it will allow the development of interventions which may prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline in late life.

Prospective Students

If you are interested in pursuing research in this area, please contact Sophia Dean for further details.
E s.dean@unsw.edu.au
Telephone: +61(2) 9382 2094

Investigators

Prof Julian Trollor (Chief Investigator)
Prof Leslie Campbell
A/Prof Katherine Samaras
Prof Henry Brodaty
Prof Nick Martin
Dr Margie Wright
Dr Wei Wen
Prof Bernhard Baune

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Anusha Ramchurn
Dr Czira Maria Eszter
Dr Helen Lutgers

Students

Danielle Gregory, University of Adelaide PhD
Dr Alfred Wong, University of New South Wales, MD
Sharon Ong, University of New South Wales, MRes
Joel Singer, University of New South Wales, ILP
Su-Yin Yeong, University of New South Wales, ILP

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