Aging Research Interest Group
The Ageing Research Interest Group is led by academic geriatricians Professor AP Passmore and Dr Bernadette McGuinness. Our research aims to understand the pathogenesis of dementia and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia. We are particularly interested in developing methods to allow for the early detection of dementia and testing interventions in the earliest stages of the disease.
Our research strands include:
- Clinical aspects of dementia and mild cognitive impairment
- The efficacy of new drugs for dementia
- The identification of biomarkers for dementing disorders (including genetic, CSF and blood-based markers)
- Inflammation and dementia
- Big data analytics (including data from the Northern Ireland Cohort for Longitudinal Aging (NICOLA) project)
- Neuroimaging (MEG/EEG)
- Pain in dementia
- The impact of diet and lifestyle factors on dementia risk
We have a track record of conducting high impact clinical research with a wide range of collaborators, both in the UK and internationally. Our researchers are members of large international research consortia, sit on grant advisory boards such as the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, and are frequently invited to speak at international conferences and meetings. We also participate in cross-border research initiatives such as Centre for Aging Research and Development Ireland (CARDI), the Cross-border Healthcare Interventions Trials in Ireland Network (CHITIN) as well as having research links to the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI).
Research Group Academic/Lecturers:
- Professor Peter Passmore
- Dr Bernadette McGuinness
- Dr Emma Cunningham
- Dr Claire McEvoy
- Dr Gerry McKenna
Research Group Postdocs:
- Andrea McGrattan
- Alison Toogood
- Bethany McDowell
- Aoife Sweeney
- Dr Claire Potter
- Rebecca Townsend
- Mijin Jung
Current Ongoing Research Projects:
- AFFECT. A randomised controlled trial of calcium channel blockade 9CCB) with amlodipine for treatment of subcortical ischaemic vascular dementia (SIVD).
- BRAIN-Diabetes: Border Region Area lifestyle Intervention study for healthy Neurocognitive ageing in Diabetes - Cross-border Healthcare Intervention Trials in Ireland Network (CHITIN) (funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB)).
- Magnetoencephalography in AD and impact of cholinesterase inhibitors (project funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK)
- Periodontitis and future cognitive decline (project funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust)
- TNF inhibitors in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (project funded by the Alzheimer’s Society)
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of dementia to better understand who is at risk of delirium after surgery.
- Dementia data analytics pathfinder project (funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, OFMDFM and DOH)
- Retinal photography in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
- Alcohol consumption and brain health in older adults across the island of Ireland (project funded by American Federation for Aging Research Innovation Grant).
- Food biomarkers in older adults – a metabolomics study. American (project funded by American Federation for Aging Research Innovation Grant).
- Ideal cardiovascular health, cognitive decline and incident dementia in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study (project funded by Global Brain Health Institute/Alzheimer’s Association awards).
- Assessment of the influence of anticholinergic drugs on people with dementia in Northern Ireland
- Mediterranean diet and cognitive decline: using epidemiologic and pilot study data to inform a large-scale intervention (project funded by The Wellcome Trust Seed Award in Science).
- Diet, body fat and brain health: a multi-organ imaging study in the UK Biobank (project funded by the CPH Biobank fund).
- Diet and cognitive performance in Northern Irish men: the PRIME study. American Federation for Aging Research (project funded by the Beeson Fellowship).
- Workshop on dementia and non-communicable disease in Vietnam and Malaysia
- Mediterranean diet in mild cognitive impairment - To determine whether eating fruit and vegetables is associated with retinal microvascular health and cognitive decline and dementia risk in older adults: using the NICOLA and TILDA studies (project funded by ARUK)
- Feasibility of a Mediterranean diet intervention in mild cognitive impairment (project funded by DEL PhD studentship).
- The use of mobile EEG and machine learning methods to profile mild cognitive impairment (project funded by DEL PhD studentship).
- The use of mobile EEG and machine learning methods to profile cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease and dementia (project funded by DfE and CPH PhD studentship).
- Improving the Oral Health of Older People in Care Homes, a feasibility study (TOPIC) (project funded by NIHR PHR Programme).
- Using Role-Substitution in Care Homes to improve Oral Health (SENIOR) (project funded by NIHR HS&DR Programme)
- Development of a core outcome set for oral health services research involving dependent older adults (DECADE) (project funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust).
- The impact of a tailored dietary intervention coupled with oral rehabilitation on the nutritional status of older patients (DENHAB) (Project funded by the HSE Awards on Ageing / Atlantic Philanthropies and the NI HSC R&D Office).
- Pain in dementia
- Gateway to Global Aging Data
- The ELECA Study: Early Life strEss and Cognitive Ageing (Project funded by Wellcome-HRB ICAT Fellowship).
Public Outreach Events:
We are an Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) Network Centre, which means that we participate in collaborative biomedical science to research dementia, but also network to share findings and resources. Details of our annual public research meetings can be found here.
ARUK Network Centre Early Career Researcher Meetings
We held our first Regional Network Aging Meeting in February 2018. This is an opportunity for local researchers and clinicians to come together in an informal way and/to hear about new developments in aging research from an invited guest speaker. These meetings are held quarterly and if you would like to be put on the mailing list to attend these meetings please click here.
Invited speakers so far have included:
February 2018: Professor Colm Cunningham (Trinity College Dublin) delivered a talk entitled ‘At the interface of delirium and dementia: deleterious consequences of systemic inflammation for the brain'.
May 2018: Dr Paula McClean (University of Ulster) updated us on her work investigating the interface between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease
August 2018: Professor Rob Whelan (Trinity College Dublin/GBHI) provided us with an update on his research group’s work using EEG, MRI and machine learning methods to study cognition in aging.
November 2018: Dr Joe Kane, Psychiatrist (SpR) and Academic Clinical Lecture (QUB).
Our core group of researchers based at the Centre for Public Health, QUB, also meet monthly to discuss the latest research in the field, our ongoing research projects, upcoming conferences and funding applications.