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Why do some people suffer from depression and memory loss as they age, whereas others stay well for the whole of their lives? We examine the effect of genes and life history on ageing using neuropsychology and neuro-imaging techniques as part of large scale epidemiological and experimental medicine studies.


You find us here (with some photos and maps)

If mental health fails in older age, a large number of factors may be responsible: we aim to isolate these using a variety of large and small-scale studies that use all possible methods of enquiry, from clinical interviews and medical examination to neuropsychology and brain imaging.

This outstanding proposal aims to integrate state-of-the-art brain measures .. on the newest generation of clinical use MR scanners .. with data from a very important, well published longitudinal epidemiologic study.Anon. (MRC Referee)

We have teamed up with the Whitehall Study at UCL and the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB) to examine 800 of their volunteers, who have been followed up 2-yearly for the last 25 years (see quote).

We are also part of the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre and the Alzheimer’s Research UK local network with close links to OPTIMA and Thames Valley DeNDRoN.

Our focus of interest is on the interaction of genetic, environmental, social and psychological factors that confer risk and resilience on people as they age. We are also interested in enhancing brain plasticity and resilience by means of exercise, transcranial stimulation and pharmacology.

Our imaging, cognitive and psychiatric research aims to investigate emerging evidence of the brain architecture that enables individuals to compensate cognitively and emotionally, particularly with advancing age.

The wider Psychiatry and Neuroscience of Ageing theme is comprised of three research groups:

Neurobiology of Ageing, led by Klaus Ebmeier

Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research, led by Simon Lovestone

Translational Neuroimaging, led by Clare Mackay

Selected publications

Taking part

  • How do I get involved in research?

    Information for volunteers

  • Training for Undergraduate Students

    Apart from bedside teaching, there will be three lectures in 5th year, given by Dr Sophie Behrman "Dementia", by Dr Charlotte Allan "Delirium, functional illness and capacity", and by Prof Klaus Ebmeier "Late-life depression and ECT"

  • Training for Graduate Students

    We welcome graduate students from a wide range of disciplines including medicine, neuroscience and psychology. The resources of FMRIB, the Department of Psychiatry and the University of Oxford provide a wide-range of training opportunities.

  • Continuing Professional Development (Old Age Psychiatry)

    ... but we also meet regularly. We organise continuing professional development in old age psychiatry and allied profession for Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. For the current programme, please go to 'Meetings' at the top of page.

Research Programmes

  • Whitehall Imaging Oxford

    The programme combines multi-modal imaging and cutting edge analysis of brain structure, brain perfusion, white matter integrity and brain function with a rich longitudinal data set, the Whitehall II cohort.

  • Improving lifelong cognitive health through physical exercise and cognitive stimulation

    The human brain has a remarkable capacity to learn and adapt. This ability is strongly influenced by many factors, including how active we are - both physically and mentally.

  • Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre

    The Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre (OPDC) is a grouping of scientists and clinicians launched in February 2010 following the award of the Monument Trust Discovery Award to Oxford University

  • Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research

    Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research is a consortium of clinical and basic scientists who work on various aspects of translational dementia and ageing research


Related research themes