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Approved research

Socioeconomic status and cognitive function: the influence of cardiovascular and brain health.

Principal Investigator: Professor Chin Hong Tan
Approved Research ID: 52012
Approval date: June 18th 2019

Lay summary

Over the past few decades, more than a billion individuals have been lifted out of poverty. However, there remains a vulnerable segment of the population with low economic status who are at a disproportionately high risk for health-related illness such as heart disease, brain deterioration, and declines in cognitive function associated with dementia. These disadvantaged individuals are also the least able to shoulder the increased healthcare costs associated with these illness and require the most government subsidies. While existing studies have largely investigated the relationships between SES, heart health, brain health, and cognitive impairment separately, the inter-relationships between all of these factor have not been integrated into a comprehensive framework for understanding how they tie together. In this study, we aim to understand how heart and brain health may influence the relationship between low SES and poorer cognitive function. The project is expected to take up to three years at the first instance. We anticipate that the results from this study will identify and improve our understanding of how low SES can influence cognitive function through poorer heart and brain health. By increasing our understanding of these heart and brain pathways, this project will generate new knowledge and drive future research by serving as the basis for investigating how we can reduce the negative impact of low SES on cognitive function and overall health by improving heart and brain health. The findings from the project will also help to inform early, evidence-based strategies and interventions to preemptively help disadvantaged individuals with low SES who are at the higher risk of experiencing cognitive decline.