CHeBA Longitudinal Studies

CHeBA Research Project: Sydney Memory and Ageing Study
The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS) investigates rates and predictors of health and cognitive decline in older adults. MAS is especially interested in when/why normally functioning adults who show evidence of memory or cognitive decline either progress to dementia or improve.
Description The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), is one of Australia’s largest and longest running studies of ageing and cognitive health. MAS began in 2005 with the aims of investigating  rates and predictors of healthy cognitive ageing, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia in older Australians. Over the last 14 years, MAS has collected biomarker, genetic/epigenomic, neuroimaging, cognitive, proteomics/lipidomics, health, and lifestyle data to determine what factors are associated with cognitively normal ageing and progression to MCI or dementia. To request MAS data please contact the CHeBA Research Bank via email on for a current application form. Read the latest blog post Participate in a CHeBA study Read the latest publication Design and Method At baseline, participants were 1037 older adults without dementia, aged 70–90, who were recruited from Eastern Sydney. Every two years… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Sydney Centenarian Study
The Sydney Centenarian Study is a longitudinal project that explores the genetic and environmental determinants of extreme longevity. The study examines the cognition, health, care needs, brain structure and genetics of Australia’s oldest old.
Aims The age composition of Australia’s population is projected to change considerably over the coming decades with elderly Australians the fastest growing proportion of the population. This is particularly true of centenarians, the exceptional group of individuals who reach the age of 100. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in June 2015 there were 29,612 individuals in Australia aged 95-99 years old and 4,279 who were aged 100 or more. It is estimated that there will be 12,000 centenarians in Australia by 2020 and 50,000 by 2050. The number of centenarians worldwide is estimated to increase 15-fold to 2.2 million by 2050. Despite the rapid ageing of our population there have been only a few population-based studies of centenarians and near-centenarians internationally, and none in Australia. The study of exceptionally long lived individuals will shed light on the determinants of successful aging, both environmental and genetic… read more
CHeBA Longitudinal Study: Older Australian Twins Study
Since 2007, the longitudinal Older Australian Twins Study has investigated the genetic and environmental contributions to healthy ageing, in particular ageing in the absence of brain dysfunction and disease, in twins aged 65 years and beyond.
Description The Older Australian Twins Study is a longitudinal study investigating healthy brain ageing in older twins (65+ years). Healthy ageing is characterised by low levels of disability, high cognitive and functional capacity, and an active engagement in life. The most important ingredient of healthy ageing is a healthy brain, bereft of age-related diseases and dysfunction. Brain ageing and brain diseases are determined by multiple genetic factors that interact with environmental influences. Since identical twins share 100% of their genetic code, whereas non-identical twins share half their genetic information, detailed comparisons of these two groups has the potential to discover new genes involved in cognitive decline or resilience. OATS commenced in New South Wales in January 2007, in Queensland in December 2007, and in Victoria in February 2008. Since the OATS study started we have followed our twin volunteers up every two years to… read more
CHeBA Research Project - Maintain Your Brain
Maintain Your Brain is a randomised controlled trial of multiple online interventions designed to target modifiable risk factors for dementia in general and Alzheimer's Disease in particular.
Description Maintain Your Brain is a randomised controlled trial of multiple online interventions designed to target modifiable risk factors for dementia in general and AD in particular. Risk factors to be addressed are physical inactivity, cognitive inactivity, depression/anxiety, overweight and obesity, and poor dietary habits. Up to four intervention modules (physical activity, nutrition, brain training, and peace of mind) will be administered based on individual risk profiles. All activities and assessments will be conducted on a computer with internet access via the Maintain Your Brain eHealth platform.  Maintain Your Brain invited over 8,000 individuals through the 45 and Up Study to participate in the trial. Participants were aged 55-77 years and did not have diagnosed dementia, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. Maintain Your Brain will run for three years with annual assessments measuring risk factors and cognition.  If you… read more

All CHeBA Projects

ADNeT Banner
ADNeT is a network of Australia’s leading researchers, clinicians and consumers working together on dementia prevention, treatment and care. 
Description ADNeT brings together 25 researchers across 15 Australian institutions, including the University of Melbourne, UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), Monash University, Austin Health, Edith Cowan University, CSIRO, Flinders University, Macquarie University, NeuRA, QIMR Berghofer, SAHMRI, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, University of Tasmania and the University of Queensland. These researchers and institutions are working on three key initiatives: The establishment of a national clinical quality registry for dementia; The development of unified guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of neurocognitive disorders and the creation of a network of memory clinics; and The development of effective therapies for the prevention and treatment of dementia through improved patient screening and trial participation. "The researchers at CHeBA are excited to be part of this important national network. The… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Australian Neuropsychological Normative Study of Older Persons
The Australian Neuropsychological Normative Study of Older Persons will provide much needed Australian normative data for commonly used neuropsychological tests and cognitive screening instruments in older persons including the oldest-old, near-Centenarians and Centenarians.
Description Some cognitive abilities ‘naturally’ decline as we get older. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases with older age. Therefore, distinguishing dementia and mild neurocognitive impairment from normal age‐related cognitive change is a major challenge for clinicians and researchers. Neuropsychological assessment plays a critical role in detecting subtle cognitive changes present in the early phase of a neurodegenerative disorder that may be missed during routine clinical evaluation. Neuropsychological assessment incorporates the administration of validated and standardised psychometric tests to carefully assess intelligence, memory, processing speed, spatial and verbal abilities, higher conceptual thinking and other cognitive abilities. Comparison of an individual’s test scores to a normative reference group is used by neuropsychologists and researchers to indicate whether a person’s performance is at the… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Brain Stimulation and Cognitive Training
This study aims to directly investigate whether computer brain training when combined with mild brain stimulation is better than computer brain training alone.
Description Recent brain stimulation research suggests that mild brain stimulation (ie. tDCS) when given during performance of a cognitive (memory) task in a single session improves performance. Also patients who have had a stroke learn how to do certain 'hands-on' tasks better when participants receive a course of brain stimulation treatment. There is research that computerised brain training benefits people with memory problems (ie. MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairment). People with aMCI experience mild difficulties with their memory but are otherwise functioning well in their day to day activities. Usually the individual notices that their memory has recently got worse compared to a few years ago. They may experience more difficulty remembering names, appointments or where they put something. People with aMCI are at increased risk of future dementia. Aims This study aims to directly investigate whether computer brain training when combined… read more
CogSCAN - Cognition Study of Computer-Administered Neuropsychological tests in Seniors
CogSCAN is the first independent, systematic evaluation of four prominent and widely used computerised cognitive assessment instruments in healthy older adults and in people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
Description Dementia is a major health problem with 200 Australians diagnosed every day and at least as many having mild cognitive impairment which often precedes dementia. Early diagnosis is critical for interventions yet many older adults at risk do not receive a timely diagnosis. Objective assessment of cognitive abilities is essential for accurate diagnosis at mild or early stages. However, there are insufficient specialist trained personnel and resources to meet the demand for cognitive assessments. Computerised neuropsychological assessments (CNAs) have received considerable attention in recent years as they have the potential to enable large scale cognitive screening and monitoring of functioning. Moreover, they are time- and cost-effective, accessible, precise and can be administered by people with less expertise. But can CNAs improve timely diagnosis of dementia over traditional pen and paper tests? There is limited information about… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Dementia Prevalence Across 17 Population-Based Centenarian Studies from 11 Countries
This project aims to define global dementia prevalence in centenarians and near-centenarians (95+) using uniform diagnostic criteria and explore universal risk and protective factors for dementia.
Description The International Centenarian Consortium of Dementia (ICC-Dementia) aims to explore factors that predict successful ageing into the 11th decade of life that are robust across international cohorts through international collaboration and data sharing. This project is motivated by the variation in approaches for diagnosing dementia and cognitive impairment across studies and the under-studied questions including the global prevalence of dementia in persons aged 95 and above and the risk and protective factors for dementia across ethno-regional groups of long-lived individuals. Aims Define global dementia prevalence in centenarians and near-centenarians (95+) using uniform diagnostic criteria. Identify and examine risk and protective factors for dementia, cognitive and functional impairments, and determine whether their effects vary between centenarian studies. Approaches Develop and apply a protocol to harmonise neuropsychological… read more
The objective of DPAU is to support researcher access to data from one or several Contributing Research Studies (CRS) and thereby enable new insights into ageing, ageing-related diseases and dementia risk, with the aim of transforming the epidemiology of ageing and dementia. Making existing data available via DPAU will ensure the generous contribution of time given by research participants will continue to yield new clues to the causes of dementias. DPAU facilitates data sharing between Australian and international dementia researchers, significantly enhancing productivity and reusability of data from CRS. Joining data across studies and modalities within one virtual space allows for the large sample sizes and multimodal analyses required in the ‘omics’ era. DPAU facilitates that data sharing of the Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium (COSMIC), a global collaboration led by CHeBA researchers. We perform data curation… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Diagnosis and Prediction of MCI and AD using Pattern Rec­ognition Methods
This project examines the diagnosis and prediction of MCI and AD using pattern rec­ognition and data-mining methods.
Description Diagnosis and prediction of MCI and AD using pattern recognition and data-mining methods. Early and accurate diagnosis and prediction of MCI and AD is essential for developing new treatments which may prevent AD, or slow its progression. However, this is particularly challenging due to the subtlety of brain changes at the very early stages of the disease. Pattern recognition and data-mining are essentially the study of how ma­chines can observe the environment, learn to distinguish relevant patterns, and make decisions about the observed patterns. The study of pattern recognition and data-mining is an inter­disciplinary field combining areas such as mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, psychology and physiology. Human beings are particularly apt at recognis­ing patterns, from an early age they are able to recognise a face, spoken words and written texts. Extensive research has been conducted to enable machines to… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Finding Genetic Variants for Ageing-Related Measures using GWAS - Genome-wide Association Studies
Many complex human traits have an underlying genetic basis. We use genome-wide association tests to search across the genome to find the specific genetic variants associated with complex traits, such as cognitive performance, brain structure, blood protein levels and grip strength.
Description Most complex traits, such as blood protein levels and memory performance, have a genetic component and many genes are thought to be involved. In genome-wide association studies, known as GWAS, we test whether millions of genetic variants are associated with a measure of interest, such as blood protein levels. These studies are undertaken within CHeBA, with other national and international studies and in collaboration with international consortia. Aims To identify genetic variants associated with a variety of measures, such as blood protein levels and cognitive performance. Design and Method Genetic variants were genotyped using genome-wide genotyping arrays in participants from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (n~925), the Older Australian Twins Study (n~539) and the Sydney Centenarian Study (n~256). Statistical tests are undertaken to find genetic variants associated with many different age-related outcomes including… read more
CHeBA Research Project: Grey Matter Volume Changes in Normal Ageing and MCI
This project explores the different grey matter change patterns of normal ageing and MCI.
Description MCI represents a transitional state in which individuals show impairment of cognitive function, but retain relatively intact global cognition. We explored the different grey matter change patterns of normal ageing and MCI. Project Members Associate Professor Wei Wen, Associate Professor, CHeBA Dr Jiyang Jiang, Postdoctoral Fellow, CHeBA Associate Professor Tao Liu, PhD Associate Professor, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering International Research Institute for Multidisciplinary Science, Beihang University Dr Wanlin Zhu, Tiantan Image Research Center, China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases, Beijing, China
Amyloid PET in the Older Australian Twins Study - CHeBA Research Project
A hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which can be detected using PET scanning.
Description A hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, which typically starts many years before symptoms are observed. We used amyloid PET brain scans to investigate this plaque build-up in pairs of twins at risk of developing AD. The data is currently undergoing analysis to calculate the heritability of these plaques - that is, to determine to what degree genes play a role. We are also investigating potentially modifiable environmental factors that may be contributing to the build-up of plaques and the associated changes in memory and thinking. Project Members Professor Perminder Sachdev, Project Lead, CHeBA Professor Christopher Rowe, Nuclear Medicine Specialist, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Centre for PET, University of Melbourne, Austin Health Associate Professor Wei Wen, Head of the Neuroimaging Laboratory, CHeBA Dr Anbupalam Thalamuthu, Biostatistician, CHeBA Dr Rebecca… read more