Dr Scherazad Kootar

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Postdoctoral Fellow Adjunct Associate lecturer, School of Psychology, UNSW
Associate Investigator, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute
Associate Investigator, CEPAR

9399 1043


Scherazad’s background is in Neurobiology and has completed her PhD in 2017 from the University Cote d’Azur, France studying the relationship between stress and Alzheimer’s disease. Her research at NeuRA focusses on dementia prevention and towards understanding the associations between different risk and protective factors for cognitive decline and ageing. She is particularly interested in identifying the underlying mechanisms of psychosocial risk factors including stress and anxiety on cognition. Scherazad is hopeful to contribute to dementia research with her strong biological understanding of ageing and stress biomarkers.

Projects Dr Scherazad Kootar is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is a unique collaboration bringing together academia, government and industry to address one of the major social challenges of the twenty first century. Based at the University of New South Wales with nodes at the Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney and The University of Western Australia, CEPAR is producing world-class research on population ageing. CEPAR includes cross-disciplinary experts drawn from actuarial science, demography, economics, epidemiology, psychology and sociology. The Centre’s diverse research program which will deliver comprehensive outcomes with the potential to secure Australia’s future as a well-informed nation with world-best policy and practice for an ageing demographic.

Professor Anstey and Professor Mike Keane lead the CEPAR research stream concerned with decision making, expectations and cognitive ageing.

This research stream aims to:

  • Develop a comprehensive model of ageing and decision making including identification of typologies of decision makers
  • Develop multidisciplinary paradigms and predictive models of decision making and ageing
  • Develop and evaluate interventions to increase positive expectations about ageing
  • Develop life-cycle models that incorporate investments in health and housing as well as cognitive limitations in ageing.

For more information on CEPAR visit the centre website.

CEPAR has been funded primarily by the Australian Research Council, with generous support from the collaborating universities and partner organisations.

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ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health

The Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health focuses on the integrally linked areas of optimising cognitive health and the prevention of cognitive decline.

The centre aims to:

  • Build the evidence base in cognitive health promotion and prevention of cognitive decline, focussing on evaluating putative new risks and under researched areas
  • Develop methods of transferring, translating and implementing established findings, through the development and evaluation of interventions
  • Model population level impacts of cognitive impairment and risk modification to quantify potential economic benefits of risk reduction and to inform policy.

The CRE Cognitive Health led by Professor Kaarin Anstey is a collaboration between Chief and Associate Investigators from the Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, Australian Catholic University, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and University of Exeter.

For more information about the CRE Cognitive Health, please visit the centre website, including more information on research themes, news and events, and recent publications.

The CRE Cognitive Health is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health

The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program

The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program involves over ten years of research performed by the Anstey group on the identification and assessment of risk factors for Dementia.

The DemRisk program includes:

  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of dementia risk and protective factors
  • Analysis of cohort studies to identify dementia risk and protective factors
  • Development of evidence-based interventions for dementia risk reduction
  • Development of innovative e-learning resources to support dementia risk reduction
  • Development of risk assessment tools validated for assessing individual exposure to risk factors known to be associated with an increased risk of developing dementia
  • Development of guidelines (e.g. physical activity guidelines) to reduce risk of cognitive decline and dementia in collaboration with other researchers and organisations including the World Health Organisation
  • Training of early career researchers with a focus on identifying and targeting dementia risk

Read Professor Kaarin Anstey and Dr Ruth Peters’ recent invited commentary on second-hand smoke as an under-recognised risk factor for cognitive decline here. You can also watch Professor Anstey’s NeuRAtalk on ageing well to reduce your risk of dementia here.

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The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program

LEAD!- Leveraging Evidence into Action on Dementia

Currently, there is no effective treatment for dementia, highlighting the urgent need to preventing more cases through evidence-based strategies for risk reduction. As there is an overlap between the risk factors for dementia and other preventable non-communicable diseases including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, it is important to build upon proven risk-reduction strategies.

What is LEAD?

LEAD! is a project funded by the NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Grant led by Professor Kaarin Anstey. It involves an international collaboration between leading academics, clinicians, consumers, and community members. Organisations involved include the Department of Health, WHO, Dementia Australia, Alzheimer’s Disease International, Diabetes Australia, and Heart Foundation.

The project aims to translate dementia research and implement evidence-based strategies for dementia risk reduction to individuals, communities, and healthcare centres.

Three workstreams

The project has three concurrent workstreams over five years: Development, Implementation, and Evaluation and adoption.

The Development stream, led by Professor Kaarin Anstey and Associate Professor Peters, focuses on building a new tool for predicting dementia and other non-communicable diseases including stroke, diabetes or myocardial infarction. The tool will be available to the public, researchers and clinicians. It will save clinical assessment time, accurately predict multiple outcomes and will be more acceptable in comparison to using individual tools for each disease outcome.

The Implementation stream led by Professor Nicola Lautenschalger’s team at the University of Melbourne, will develop strategies to support the implementation of dementia risk reduction evidence by engaging with consumers, clinicians, policy makers, and the public. The stream will develop strategies for incorporating the new risk assessment tool into various technological platforms (e.g., websites or apps).

The Evaluation and adoption stream, led by Professor Anstey and in collaboration with Professor Louisa Jorm and Dr Heidi Welberry at UNSW, focuses on measuring trajectories of Australian’s national risk factor profiles for multiple chronic diseases. Collaboration with key stakeholders including the WHO will help build an evaluation framework and methodology for implementing evidence on dementia risk reduction based on WHO guidelines at national level and in the global context.

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LEAD!- Leveraging Evidence into Action on Dementia

CogDrisk- Cognitive health and Dementia Risk Assessment

Evidence related to dementia risk factors continues to increase with advancement in study methodology and more research being published in the field of dementia prevention. WHO guidelines for risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia has published the latest evidence on the risk factors in mid and late life. There is a need of a new risk assessment tool that can be used both in population and clinical settings which would incorporate the latest evidence for the risk factors of dementia.

What is CogDrisk?

The CogDrisk project led by Professor Kaarin Anstey at NeuRA. The project aims to develop and validate a new risk assessment tool for assessing individual exposure to risk factors known to be associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. The tool will be developed from risk estimates selected from latest systematic reviews and meta-analyses. External validation of the tool will be carried out using five high standard international cohorts for discrimination and accuracy of predicting dementia cases.

Who will use the CogDrisk?

The assessment tool will be available online to the public, researchers and clinicians. Individuals aged 18 years and above can take the assessment to assess their risk of developing dementia, get a risk profile, and recommendations to reduce their risk of developing dementia. A risk score along with recommendations to reduce their dementia risk will be provided to individuals aged 60 years and above.

What are the benefits of the CogDrisk?

  • The CogDrisk website provides latest evidence on dementia, dementia risk factors and risk reduction.

Those who are interested to take the assessment (anyone over the age of 18 years) can do so at a time convenient to them and can redo the assessment later to see if they changed their risk of developing dementia.

  • Recommendations provided are based on National and International Guidelines.
  • The tool would also be used to identify individuals at high risk of developing dementia before they can be involved in clinical trials for dementia prevention.

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CogDrisk- Cognitive health and Dementia Risk Assessment

RESEARCH TEAM

KIRSTY ZMISA Executive Assistant : 9399 1021
: k.zmisa@neura.edu.au

PUBLICATIONS

P2X7 receptor-pannexin 1 hemichannel association: effect of extracellular calcium on membrane permeabilization.

Poornima V, Madhupriya M, Kootar S, Sujatha G, Kumar A, Bera AK

A novel natural product inspired scaffold with robust neurotrophic, neurogenic and neuroprotective action.

Chakravarty S, Maitra S, Reddy RG, Das T, Jhelum P, Kootar S, Rajan WD, Samanta A, Samineni R, Pabbaraja S, Kernie SG, Mehta G, Kumar A

Modification in MRI contrast myelogram by instillation of intrathecal preservative-free normal saline to demonstrate CSF spinal leaks.

Kootar S, Walavalkar A, Kumar A, Bhave C, Sanghvi D
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