Dr Sophie Andrews

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Research Fellow Conjoint Lecturer, UNSW

9399 1076


Sophie Andrews is a clinical neuropsychologist and cognitive neuroscientist focused on non-pharmacological approaches to maintaining brain and cognitive health in both healthy ageing and neurodegenerative disease. She joined NeuRA in January 2019 from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences at Monash University, Melbourne. She recently completed a Fellowship funded by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, investigating exercise and non-invasive brain stimulation as modifiers of brain plasticity in Huntington’s disease, to understand whether these approaches be effective in slowing or delaying cognitive decline in this disease. She is now excited to expand her research focus to include healthy ageing and dementia populations.

Sophie was awarded her Doctorate of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology) from Monash University in 2013. Her doctoral research examined the neurobiological underpinnings of social cognitive difficulties in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder using neurobehavioural and neurophysiological techniques (transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalogram).

In 2013-2014, Sophie also worked as a clinical neuropsychologist at the Alfred Hospital and Calvary Health Care Bethlehem, Melbourne.

Projects Dr Sophie Andrews is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

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 Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project 

The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project is co-hosted by the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales and has been led by Professor Anstey since 2006. It is a large on-going population-based longitudinal cohort study comprising approximately 7500 participants. The study includes three cohorts including a younger (aged 20–24 at baseline), midlife (aged 40–44 at baseline) and older (aged 60–64 at baseline) adults randomly sampled from the electoral roll of the ACT and the nearby city of Queanbeyan. Additional waves of data collection have occurred in 4-year increments, with the 5th wave of data collection underway. The study involves many national and international collaborations.

The broad aims of the PATH study relate to clinical outcomes that constitute the major burden of disease within the Australian community.

Primary PATH Objectives:

  • To delineate the course of depression, anxiety, substance use and cognitive ability with increasing age across the adult life span
  • To identify environmental risk, genetic risk and protective factors influencing individual differences in the course of these characteristics
  • To investigate interrelationships over time between the three domains of: depression and anxiety, substance use, and cognitive ability and dementia
  • To examine the mental health related impact of various personal, social and lifestyle transitions and events experienced by the different age cohorts, including infertility, fertility and pregnancy, changes in family structure, relationship formation and separation, menopause, and retirement.

Several design features of the PATH project contribute to its unique standing among population-based longitudinal cohort studies.

  • Obtaining measures of genetic, biological (including MRI), psychosocial and lifestyle risk and protective factors for mental health and wellbeing
  • Use of a narrow age cohort design with longitudinal follow ups as an optimal means of separating age and cohort effects
  • Assessment of participants across the full adult lifespan, permitting investigation of developmentally significant, though under-studied periods such as midlife
  • Recruitment and follow up of a young-old population, providing important pre-clinical data for studying the development of age-related changes in memory and cognition.

This project has been funded primarily by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Wave 5 40s and 60s follow-ups (led by Professor Kaarin Anstey) are funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research. 

For more information, please visit the study website at www.pathstudy.org.au. PATH participants can also contact the research team by phone on 1300 917 295.

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The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project 

RESEARCH TEAM

PUBLICATIONS

Cognitive Fitness to Drive in Huntington's Disease: Assessing the Clinical Utility of DriveSafe DriveAware.

Farrell HJ, Andrews SC, Ryan NP, Davis MC, Gordon S, Stout JC, Fisher F

Our aim was to evaluate the utility of DSDA in people with HD by demonstrating sensitivity of DSDA scores to HD progression and exploring associations between DSDA performance and cognitive functions that are essential to driving and impaired in people with HD. Our findings demonstrate potential for use of DSDA in the HD population, however, significant variability in cognitive performance among those predicted to 'pass' on-road driving assessment suggests the screening tool requires further development for use with HD drivers.

Apathy Associated With Impaired Recognition of Happy Facial Expressions in Huntington's Disease.

Osborne-Crowley K, Andrews SC, Labuschagne I, Nair A, Scahill R, Craufurd D, Tabrizi SJ, Stout JC,

Previous research has demonstrated an association between emotion recognition and apathy in several neurological conditions involving fronto-striatal pathology, including Parkinson's disease and brain injury. In line with these findings, we aimed to determine whether apathetic participants with early Huntington's disease (HD) were more impaired on an emotion recognition task compared to non-apathetic participants and healthy controls. Impairment of the recognition of happy expressions may be part of the clinical picture of apathy in HD. While shared reliance on frontostriatal pathways may broadly explain associations between emotion recognition and apathy found across several patient groups, further work is needed to determine what relationships exist between recognition of specific emotions, distinct subtypes of apathy and underlying neuropathology. (JINS, 2019, 00, 1-9).

Diminished facial EMG responses to disgusting scenes and happy and fearful faces in Huntington's disease.

Kordsachia CC, Labuschagne I, Andrews SC, Stout JC
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