Healthy Minds from 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts ("Lifebrain"); 2017-2021; Co-applicant with Kristine B. Walhofd, University of Oslo [N, S, GB, D, E, DK, CH]
Medical Research Council (UK):
(1) Predicting MRI abnormalities with longitudinal data of the Whitehall II Substudy; 2012-17; PI - co-applicants: Geddes, Kivimäki, Mackay, Singh-Manoux, Smith.
(2) Adult Determinants of Late Life Depression, Cognitive Decline and Physical Functioning - The Whitehall II Ageing Study; 2013-17; Co-applicant with Kivimäki et al., UCL
The HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust:
Research into Ageing and Dementia 2012-2022; PI
Foundation Chair of Old Age Psychiatry
- Professorial Fellow Linacre College, Oxford
- Consultant Psychiatrist (Oxford Health NHS FT)
Exploring neurobiology of ageing with epidemiological imaging
Why do some people suffer from depression and memory loss as they age, whereas others stay well for the whole of their lives?
This crucial question is at the core of what I try to research here in Oxford.
We have selected a large group of 800 volunteers, who have been followed up over most of their adult lives (in fact for 30 years) and examine them in detail for age-related changes of mood and memory function. By also scanning these volunteers with a cutting edge magnetic resonance imaging protocol that allows us to analyse brain structure, the quality of white matter connections and the networks active in the brain, we hope to discover the mechanisms that link experience and life style in mid-life with illness developing in advancing age. Even more important, we hope to identify the factors that allow us to compensate for risk and to maintain our brain function into high age.
While first results suggest that exercise and remaining mentally active is associated with healthier ageing, we are trying to discover whether this is a causal association: as part of Cognitive Healthy Ageing (CHA), I am involved in a study of exercise in healthy older volunteers and patients with mild cognitive impairment. Scanning before and after the the exercise programme will show whether in the process the ability of the brain to compensate for damage improves by enhancing connectivity between brain structures.