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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.

Old men engaging with smart phones (stock image) © iStockPhoto

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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.We have teamed up with the Whitehall Study at UCL and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN) to examine 800 of their volunteers, who have been followed up 2-yearly for the last 25 years (see quote). Whitehall Imaging Oxford is a participant in the EU Horizon 2020 Project Lifebrain

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 Old Age Psychiatry and Neuroscience of Ageing theme is comprised of six interacting research groups:

Early Adversity & Brain Health Programme and Modifying Dementia Risk, led by Sarah Bauermeister

Heart and Brain Ageing Group, led by Sana Suri

Dementias Platform UK, led by John Gallacher

Translational Neuroimaging, led by Clare Mackay

Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research, led by Noel Buckley

Neurobiology of Ageing, led by Klaus Ebmeier

Our team

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Related research themes