Towards a comprehensive predictive model of the contribution of individual and combination of risk factors to brain ageing, neurodegeneration, and cognitive decline.
Australian National University
Professor Nicolas Cherbuin
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Mental and neurological disorders are a major cause of disability and poorer quality of life worldwide. Neurodegenerative diseases, and particularly dementia, are the main contributors to the burden of disease. Everyone's brain changes with age, but we still do not have a god understanding of how genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors lead to premature brain ageing and how they contribute to greater risk of developing dementia. In order to identify those at higher risk of neurodegeneration (i.e. shrinking of the brain) and to appropriately target and evaluate interventions to decrease risk of cognitive decline (e.g. issues such as memory problems), it is necessary to better understand the nature of risk factors, the timing of their action, and which brain regions and functions are most affected. The proposed project will investigate the effects of risk factors for brain ageing and dementia and will develop models to assess the magnitude of their impact (individually or in combination), and to identify individuals at increased risk of accelerated brain ageing and cognitive decline.