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Approved Research

Pathways from psychosocial and behavioral factors to brain health in older adults

Principal Investigator: Professor Hui-Xin Wang
Approved Research ID: 86931
Approval date: November 11th 2022

Lay summary

A predominant hypothesis of all-cause dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease (AD), is that it results from lifelong accumulation of biological alterations and organ damage of different kinds. In our previous work, we considered not only the pathological effect of the factors but also the critical time windows that the factors acting during the lifetime may exert their effect. Of all the factors, evidence from others and ours has consistently shown that psychosocial and behavioral factors (e.g., early-life education, mid-life occupation, and late-life social network, wellbeing, regular exercise, social activity, mental activity, healthy diet, etc.) can significantly protect older adults against brain ageing and dementia. However, knowledge gaps remain in understanding the comprehensive pathways from these factors to cognitive ageing and dementia.

In this 3-years project, we aim to explore the pathways from psychosocial and behavioral factors to dementia and cognitive decline and to verify the role of brain health, inflammation, and COVID-19 in these pathways.

The current research proposal will significantly advance our understanding of the relationships between psychosocial factors, healthy behavioral factors, and cognitive ageing in older individuals. New knowledge generated from this project will eventually benefit the field of healthy social environments and lifestyles for the ageing population. This project thus is essential for policymakers, health professionals, social workers, and caregivers.