Adjunct Associate lecturer, School of Psychology, UNSW
Associate Investigator, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute
Associate Investigator, CEPAR
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Project Manager (PATH Through Life Project), UNSW Canberra
: 1300 917 295 (PATH)
: 9399 1021