About the Neuropsychology Research Group
The Neuropsychology Group was established as part of the Neuropsychiatric Institute in 2001 and has become an integral part of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. We are actively involved in research investigating the associations between cognitive functions and brain structure, genetics, lifestyle factors, bilingualism, sex difference, medical comorbidities, inflammatory markers and falls in older adults.
Our research aims to advance our understanding of the cognitive changes occurring in the brain in normal ageing, mild and major neurocognitive disorders, and dementia, using sensitive neuropsychological assessment instruments.
We have collected extensive neuropsychological data from three large cohorts: The Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), The Sydney Centenarian Study (SCS) and The Older Australian Twin Study OATS). More than 2000 subjects ranging in age from 65 to 100+ have undergone comprehensive longitudinal assessments using a well-validated psychometric measures. The breadth of data collected enables the study of unique influence of lifestyle and genetic factors on different domains of cognitive function such as memory. More recently, we have added “social cognition”, a recognised cognitive domain which is of particular importance for successful ageing, These unique datasets can be used to create much needed normative data for older adults and are extremely valuable in clinical and research settings by enhancing diagnostic accuracy of mild neurocognitive disorders and dementia.
In addition to standardised and validated ‘paper-and pencil’ tests, we have developed our own in-house computerised test battery and have established the CogSCAN: Study of Computer-Administered Neuropsychological tests in seniors — funded by the NHMRC ‘Boosting Dementia Research’ scheme - which is evaluating the psychometric properties, acceptability and performance of several of the most prominent computerised neuropsychological assessment instruments currently in the field in healthy older adults and people with Mild Cognitive Assessment and mild dementia. We are committed to developing methods for culture-fair neuropsychological assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse individuals.. . The COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement of physical distancing has spurred the development of CogSCAN At Home which will evaluate the usability of online computerised tests remotely-delivered in older people’s homes. Recently, OATS has also changed from traditional paper-and-pencil neuropsychological measures to online assessment for their newly-recruited participants, incorporating some of the computerised instruments in CogSCAN.
The Neuropsychology Group has grown into a major resource for the investigation of various cognitive disorders, and the expertise of the specialist neuropsychologists is sought by clinicians and researchers for various projects including randomised control trials, namely Maintain Your Brain (multi-institutional collaborative study), the Metformin Trial (in collaboration with Garvan Institute) and the BRAIN trial (in collaboration with Sydney University),as well as a major contribution to the Australian Dementia Network-Memory Clinics. The unique twin neuropsychological data from the three studies of OATS has been requested by national and international investigators. For instance, OATS has become a formal member of the NIH-funded international consortium “Interplay of Genes and Environment in Multiple Studies” and collaborated in the harmonisation of neuropsychological data across twin studies.
Research projects using our comprehensive neuropsychological databases are available for ILP, Medicine (Hons), Masters or Doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology, or PhD Studies.
Norms Calculator for TICS-M Telephone Cognitive Screen
This program accompanies the paper: Bentvelzen AC, Crawford JD, Theobald A, Maston K, Slavin MJ, Reppermund S, Kang K, Numbers K, Brodaty H, Sachdev PS, Kochan NA. (2019) Validation and normative data for the Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study, Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 67:2108-2115. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16033
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- Dr Nicole Kochan, Group Leader
- Dr Teresa Lee, Group Leader
- Dr Amanda Selwood
- Dr Karen Croot
- Karen Allison
- Matilda Rossie
- Dr Adam Bentvelzen
- Dr John D Crawford
- Dr Ben Lam
- Professor Perminder Sachdev
- Professor Kaarin J Anstey, UNSW
- Professor David Bunce, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK
- Professor John R Crawford, University of Aberdeen, School of Psychology, UK
- Professor Julie D Henry, School of Psychology, Queensland University
- Professor Margaret Gatz, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, USA
- Dr Karen Mather, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW
- Associate Professor Greg Savage, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
- Associate Professor Wei Wen, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW
- Associate Professor Margie Wright, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland
- Professor Jacqueline Close, Neuroscience Research Australia
- Professor Brain Draper, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW
- Associate Professor Peter Gonski, School of Population Health, UNSW
- Zara Page, PhD student, UNSW
- Premilla Chinnappa-Quinn, PhD student, UNSW
- Russell Chander,,Scientia PhD student. Medicine, UNSW
- Rebecca Koncz, PhD student UNSW
- Michael Budiarto, Medicine Honours Project, UNSW
- Annette Spooner, PhD student, UNSW
- Christabella Surono, ILP student, UNSW (2021)
- Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, UNSW
- NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Project Grant 2017-2020 (Dr Nicole Kochan, Chief Investigator)