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2014 Grants - Szoeke
The Women’s Healthy Ageing Project — Cognition Study
Cassandra Szoeke, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne
2014 New Investigator Research Grant
Although scientists continue to work to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, increasing our understanding of disease prevention remains an important focus of Alzheimer’s research. Preventing or slowing disease progression may be more successful if implemented before extensive and irreversible brain changes have occurred. Recent evidence suggests that brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease may begin a decade or more before clinical symptoms appear. Therefore, identifying and minimizing modifiable risk factors (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol) during midlife could impact the later development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cassandra Szoeke, Ph.D, and colleagues have proposed a study to explore modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease in women starting in middle age and continuing into later life. The researchers have access to data on hundreds of women starting at age 45 who were then followed for 15-20 years. The data include information about lifestyle (such as diet and exercise habits), tests of memory and thinking abilities, and brain imaging studies. Dr. Szoeke and colleagues plan to analyze these data to identify risk factors which may be associated with cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify modifiable risk factors that can then be avoided or minimized to help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.