Dr Morag Taylor

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Postdoctoral Fellow, NeuRA NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow.
Conjoint Lecturer, Prince of Wales Clinical School, Medicine.
UNSW Honorary Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney.

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Morag is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Fellow (2016-2019) undertaking a suite of studies investigating disability and fall prevention in community-dwelling older people living with dementia. She completed her PhD (part-time) in 2014, titled ‘Understanding fall risk in cognitively impaired older people’. Prior to this, Morag completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy in 1999. She worked clinically for more than 15 years, predominantly at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney on the Aged Care Rehabilitation ward and in the Falls, Balance and Bone Health Clinic.

Projects Dr Morag Taylor is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

Cognitive Training Trial

Randomised control trial of cognitive training for people with mild to moderate dementia

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Cognitive Training Trial

Fall Prevention in Older People with Dementia

What factors influence participation and adherence to a fall prevention intervention in community-dwelling older people with dementia?

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Fall Prevention in Older People with Dementia

Understanding and preventing physical and cognitive decline and falls in older people with dementia

Falls and functional decline are common in people with dementia. Falls are more likely to result in injury, death and institutionalisation when compared to older people without dementia. There is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in people with dementia. Strategies aimed at maintaining independence and preventing decline and falls are urgently needed. This research will a) further our understanding of fall risk and functional decline and b) explore novel fall and decline prevention programs, including the use of technology in older people with dementia.

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Understanding and preventing physical and cognitive decline and falls in older people with dementia

HOME-BASED EXERCISE IMPROVES BALANCE IN PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA

RESEARCH TEAM

Linda Roylance

LINDA ROYLANCE Executive Assistant : +612 9399 1124
: l.roylance@neura.edu.au

Elizabeth Armstrong

ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG Senior Research Facility Manager

Stefanie Mikolaizak

STEFANIE MIKOLAIZAK Postdoctoral Fellow

CHRISTINA NORRIS PhD student

Barbara Toson

BARBARA TOSON Bio-statistician

ASSOC PROF REBECCA MITCHELL Visiting Senior Research Scientist

LYNDELL WEBSTER Research assistant

Narelle Payne

NARELLE PAYNE Research assistant

JACQUELINE WESSON Research assistant

CECELIA KOCH Research assistant

GENEVIEVE ZELMA Research assistant

ROSLYN SAVAGE Research assistant

Sandra O'Rourke

SANDRA O’ROURKE Research assistant

BEATRICE JOHN Research assistant

PUBLICATIONS

White matter hyperintensities are associated with falls in older people with dementia.

Taylor ME, Lord SR, Delbaere K, Wen W, Jiang J, Brodaty H, Kurrle SE, Stefanie Mikolaizak A, Close JCT

White Matter Hyperintensities (WMHs) are associated with impaired gait, balance and cognition and increased fall risk in cognitively healthy older people. However, few studies have examined such relationships in older people with dementia. Understanding the role of WMHs in falls may assist in developing effective fall prevention strategies. We investigated the relationship between baseline WMHs, cognitive and sensorimotor function and prospective falls in older people with dementia. Twenty-eight community-dwelling older people with mild-moderate dementia (MMSE 11-23; ACE-R < 83) underwent magnetic resonance imaging and assessment of sensorimotor and cognitive (global and processing speed) function at baseline. WMHs, were quantified using a fully automated segmentation toolbox, UBO Detector ( https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/group/neuroimaging-pipeline ). Falls were ascertained prospectively for 12-months using monthly calendars with the assistance of carers. The median age of the participants was 83 years (IQR 77-86); 36% were female; 21 (75%) fell during follow-up. Using Generalized Linear Models, larger volumes of total WMHs were found to be significantly associated with poorer global cognitive and sensorimotor function. Using modified Poisson regression, total, periventricular and deep WMHs were each associated with future falls while controlling for age, sex, intracranial volume and vascular risk. Each standard deviation increase in total and periventricular WMH volume resulted in a 33% (RR 1.33 95%CI 1.07-1.66) and 30% (RR 1.30 95%CI 1.06-1.60) increased risk of falling, respectively. When the deep WMH volume z-scores were dichotomized at the median, individuals with greater deep WMH volumes had an 81% (RR 1.81 95% CI 1.02-3.21) increased risk of falling. WMHs were associated with poorer sensorimotor and cognitive function in people with dementia and total, periventricular and deep WMHs were associated with falls. Further research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings and explore the impact of vascular risk reduction strategies on WMHs, functional performance and falls.

The role of cognitive function and physical activity in physical decline in older adults across the cognitive spectrum.

Taylor ME, Boripuntakul S, Toson B, Close JCT, Lord SR, Kochan NA, Sachdev PS, Brodaty H, Delbaere K

The aim of this study was to investigate physical decline over 1-year in a cohort of older people across the cognitive spectrum.

Slow gait speed is associated with executive function decline in older people with mild to moderate dementia: A one year longitudinal study.

Taylor ME, Lasschuit DA, Lord SR, Delbaere K, Kurrle SE, Mikolaizak AS, Kvelde T, Close JCT

This study aimed to document change in neuropsychological, physical and functional performance over one year and to investigate the relationship between baseline gait speed and cognitive decline in this period in older people with dementia. Older people with mild to moderate dementia demonstrate significant decline in neuropsychological, physical and functional performance over one year. Baseline gait speed is associated with decline in executive function over one year, suggesting shared pathways/pathology between gait and cognition.

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