About the Group: 

General Background

Given the increasing recognition of inflammation being involved in neuronal dysfunction and thereby cognitive decline and depression, further research focusing on inflammation and immune dysfunction in human studies is required. Evidence is accumulating that ageing is associated with enhanced systemic and brain inflammation, which is probably linked to vascular damage, metabolic derangement and neuronal dysfunction, which manifest as, among others, white matter hyperintensities, and volumetric and functional brain changes on brain imaging. The study of risk and protective factors for inflammation, and the underlying molecular and neuronal mechanisms in relation to brain health, is an important objective of neuroscience research internationally.


The best approach to study this is by population-based as well as clinical cohort studies that collect data on inflammation (genes, protein levels, gene expression) as well as phenotypic data on cognitive function, mood status and brain imaging. A growing number of such studies are ongoing internationally. Due to the complexity of the interrelationship between inflammation and brain function and the methodological heterogeneity of existing studies, we aim to conduct meta-analyses and to pool and harmonise larger-scale studies for further systematic examination with increased power. The BrainInflame during Aging Consortium is the first of its kind to focus on inflammation related to brain function and it is hoped to make this a truly international effort, with studies from Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania.

Objectives of the Consortium

  1. To examine the relationship between systemic inflammatory markers and brain dysfunction (cognitive impairment, cognitive decline and depression)
  2. To examine the genetic basis of inflammatory markers and brain dysfunction
  3. To identify new inflammation-related genes and protein markers associated with neuropsychiatric disorders
  4. To relate systemic inflammatory markers with changes in gray and white matter
  5. To analyse gene expression profiles of inflammatory genes over time and relate to the development of brain dysfunction
  6. To pool and harmonise larger-scale studies for further systematic examination
  7. To conduct meta-analyses

General Inclusion Criteria

  1. Studies comprise either clinical cohorts or community based epidemiological cohorts.
  2. Studies have a minimum sample size of 250.
  3. Studies involve individuals over age 50 years.
  4. Assessments are cross-sectional and/or longitudinal.
  5. Biological measures of inflammation include genetic data and/or protein data and/or gene expression data
  6. The clinical outcome measures are dementia and/or cognitive impairment and/or cognitive decline and/or depression.
  7. (optional) Brain imaging data include MRI-based measures (volumetry, DTI, WML/WMH)


A research Steering Committee consisting of representatives of each study oversees the analyses conducted and will provide input into studies. The consortium will stimulate the establishment of workgroups on specific topics of interests. Criteria for publication are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding.

Current Members of BrainInflame during Aging

  1. Memory and Ageing Study Sydney (lead: Julian Trollor & Perminder Sachdev)
  2. Older Australian Twin Study (lead: Perminder Sachdev)
  3. Rotterdam Study (lead: M.A. Ikram)


Should you have any question about the Consortium and/or be interested in participating in the International Consortium BrainInflame during Aging, please contact the Consortium leads Bernhard Baune or Perminder Sachdev.


Team BrainInflame in Sydney and Adelaide



Postdoctoral Researchers

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