The role of metabolic and inflammatory factors in cognitive decline and cerebrovascular pathology in the elderly [ 2008 - 2012 ]

Also known as: Metabolic and inflammatory factor in brain ageing

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Julian Trollor (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Margaret Wright A/Pr Wei Wen Prof Bernhard Baune Prof Henry Brodaty
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Brief description Metabolic factors and measures of inflammation in the body have recently been shown to influence mental function and increase the risk of developing age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The influence metabolic factors and inflammation have on function of the ageing brain is likely to be determined by complex interplay between many factors, such as physical health, lifestyle, nutrition and our genes. By studying these factors and how they relate to one another in large groups of elderly individuals, we will be able to determine the role these factors play in brain ageing. 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. We plan to study the impact of metabolic and inflammatory factors on brain ageing and in two groups of elderly individuals both of which are currently being studied in detail by our research team. By using these existing groups we will minimize the costs associated with our research, but maximize the research benefit and the benefit to society. Our groups include a large community sample of elderly individuals aged 70-90 years and a large group of elderly twins aged over 65 years. Our use of twins for the study is particularly important as it will help us separate genetic and environmental influences on the measures. We will measure multiple metabolic and inflammatory factors in the body and determine their relationship to detailed tests of cognitive function and to cerebrovascular pathology on brain magnetic resonance imaging. We will look at how these factors relate to one another and which factors are most strongly associated with accelerated ageing. We will be able to follow subjects in each group over a 2 year interval to see which factors most strongly predict change in cognitive function and cerebrovascular pathology over time. Our research is unique in its inclusion of multiple factors which may affect brain ageing, its ability to look in detail at the contribution of genetic influences on metabolic and inflammatory factors, and in our planned follow-up of these individuals.

Funding Amount $AUD 945,987.42

Funding Scheme NHMRC Strategic Awards

Notes Dementia Research Grants Program

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