Dr Sophie Andrews

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Senior Research Fellow – DECRA, UNSW Psychology Conjoint Research Fellow, NeuRA

9399 1076


Sophie is a Senior Research Fellow – DECRA Fellow at UNSW Psychology, and a conjoint Research Fellow at NeuRA. She is a cognitive neuroscientist and registered clinical neuropsychologist.

Sophie’s research is focused on how lifestyle can improve brain and cognitive health and reduce risk for dementia, and how best to support people to change their lifestyle habits. Her current research, supported by a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council, is focused on the neuroscience and neuropsychology of habit formation and change in ageing, by combing neuroimaging, cognitive and psychological approaches. She is interested in how improved knowledge of the habit formation process can be used to design better habit-based lifestyle behaviour change interventions for cognitive health and healthy ageing.

Sophie joined NeuRA in 2019 from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health and School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University, Melbourne, where she previously completed a fellowship funded by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, investigating the effects of exercise on neuroplasticity and cognition in Huntington’s disease. Her additional research interests include investigating how non-pharmacological approaches (including lifestyle change and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques) can be used to maintain brain and cognitive health in healthy ageing and neurodegenerative disease, as well as understanding the relationships between neuropsychiatric and cognitive symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases including Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

In 2013, Sophie completed a DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) at Monash University. Her doctoral thesis investigated the mirror neuron system in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder using transcranial magnetic stimulation and EEG.

Projects Dr Sophie Andrews is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

HABIT – Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial

(Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial): A habits-based pilot behaviour change intervention to increase physical activity in people with mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline.

 

This research study aims to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a habits based physical activity intervention for older adult participants with mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline. This intervention will target your every-day habits to help create healthy, automatic habits of regular physical activity, that are easy to maintain over the long-term. You will be given an Apple Watch for the duration of the experiment, which combined with an Apple iPhone application will track your health outcomes. The application will also ask you to participate in some cognitive tests and psychological surveys. The study will also involve a physical activity habits workshop, and a one-hour one-on-one interview with an exercise physiologist.

Please contact

Email : t.pace@neura.edu.au

Phone number: 9399 1636

 

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HABIT – Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial

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

RESEARCH TEAM

PUBLICATIONS

Home or Residential Care? The Role of Behavioral and Psychosocial Factors in Determining Discharge Outcomes for Inpatients with Huntington's Disease.

Fisher F, Andrews S, Churchyard A, Mathers S

To explore which factors were associated with early residential care placement in a group of hospitalized patients with HD. Patients with HD discharged to residential care were more likely to have psychosocial and behavioral problems, and lengthy hospital stays. These findings indicate the need for community-based psychosocial and behavior management interventions aimed at preventing residential care admissions for persons with HD.

Improving working memory: the effect of combining cognitive activity and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Andrews SC, Hoy KE, Enticott PG, Daskalakis ZJ, Fitzgerald PB

This study aimed to explore whether tDCS applied to the left DLPFC during the persistent performance of one WM task would improve performance on a subsequent WM task, to a greater extent than either tDCS or cognitive activity alone. These results indicate that there may be potential for the use of adjunctive cognitive remediation techniques to enhance the effects of tDCS. However, further research needs to be undertaken in this area to replicate and extend this finding.

Cognitive interventions to enhance neural compensation in Huntington's disease.

Andrews SC, Domínguez JF, Mercieca EC, Georgiou-Karistianis N, Stout JC
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