Dr Lidan Zheng

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

(02) 9399 1041


Dr Lidan Zheng completed her PhD in Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales. She currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on several projects related to healthy cognitive ageing, dementia and knowledge translation. She has previously been involved in a range of large scale projects aimed at developing international guidelines and mobile health programs. She has contributed to papers on topics such as cognitive health expectancy, economic models of dementia risk reduction interventions, dementia risk reduction in primary health settings and commentaries on future directions of dementia research. Her research interests lie in neurocognitive conditions (e.g. Autism, Dementia etc), technology use, neuroimaging and knowledge translation and implementation.

Projects Dr Lidan Zheng is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

MyCOACH: Connected Advice for Cognitive Health

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are inviting people who have noticed changes in their memory or thinking, or have a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), to participate in a voluntary research trial investigating dementia risk reduction.

What is the MyCoach Trial about?

This research aims to test the effectiveness of a healthy lifestyle intervention designed to support healthy brain ageing and reduce dementia risk. The course is tailored for people experiencing changes or concerns in thinking, memory or cognition.  The intervention will run for 12 weeks, and the study will also involve a 13-week, 6-month and 1-year follow-up interview (more information below).

What is involved in this research trial?

Interested volunteers will complete an eligibility screening to confirm this study is a good match. Next, volunteers will be randomised into one of two groups: MyCoach Intervention or Email information. To ensure the research is fair and unbiased, the group is chosen randomly – like pulling names from a hat.

  • MyCoach Intervention (12 weeks): Participants will have access to a 12-week online course, consisting of six chapters about cognitive health and dementia risk factors, and they will receive a telephone booster session 3-months later. During the 12-week period, participants will be offered two consultations sessions with a dietician and an exercise physiologist, as well as access to a brain-training app.
  • Email information (12 weeks): Participants will receive six email bulletins about cognitive health and risk factors for dementia over a 12-week period. At the end of the study, access to the full MyCoach online course will be provided.
  • All participants will take part in four telephone interviews, which will involve answering a number of questionnaires about cognitive function, lifestyle and mental health. These interviews will take place before the intervention period, straight after the intervention and again 6-months and 1 year later.

You may be eligible to participate in the MyCoach Trial if you:

  • Have concerns about changes in your memory or thinking OR diagnosed with ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’
  • Are 65 years of age or older
  • Have no other current diagnosed psychiatric or neurological disorders
  • Are able to read, write and communicate in English to a comfortable level
  • Are willing to complete an online course and interviews over telephone/video call

Expressions of interest

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please register below or contact us directly on 02 9399 1853 or mycoach@neura.edu.au.

Fields marked with an * are required

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MyCOACH: Connected Advice for 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

NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration

The NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) was established in 2006 under the Australian Government’s Dementia Initiative.  DCRC projects are diverse and map onto the priorities of the NHMRC National Network for Dementia Research (NNIDR). A key focus is applied research on topics meaningful to people with dementia and their family carers.

There are three DCRC hubs located at UNSW, NeuRA and QUT, respectively. The three-hub framework aims to grow partnerships and strengthen ties with consumers and service providers, Dementia Training Australia and Dementia Support Australia in order to progress prevention, assessment, care and translation of knowledge into everyday practice, as well as building the next generation of dementia researchers.

The primary focus of the DCRC NeuRA hub is risk reduction and prevention including individual, community and population-based interventions targeting lifestyle risk factors for dementia.

The flagship project of the DCRC NeuRA hub is the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention (IRNDP). Founded in 2017, the IRNDP is a multinational network bringing together researchers who are working to reduce the risk of dementia across the world. For more information on the network, visit the IRNDP website, including news and updates, an evidence hub on cohort studies, an evidence synthesis on clinical trials, and information on how to join.

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

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NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration

International Research Network on Dementia Prevention

Globally, dementia cases are increasing at a rate of 21 per cent annually, and most of these are occurring in low to middle-income countries. With no cure for neurodegeneration or the diseases that cause dementia, there is an urgent need to link both knowledge translation and researchers more closely together in a global effort to tackle prevention more effectively.

Founded in 2017, the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention (IRNDP) is a multinational network bringing together researchers who are working to reduce the risk of dementia across the world.

IRNDP aims to:

  • Increase dementia risk reduction messaging worldwide
  • Develop targeted research to answer questions about the detailed impact of known and emerging risk factors in preventing dementia
  • Welcome membership from researchers in both high and low or middle income countries
  • Collaborate and work closely with public health stakeholders, policy makers and those who have a diagnosis of dementia and carers.

The goals of the IRNDP have particular relevance in low- to middle-income (LMIC) countries as exposure to lifestyle and clinical risk factors becomes more common as LMIC economies grow.

While there are many current overlapping public health, patient, research, policy and practice initiatives aimed at prevention or treatment of dementia, IRNDP is the first single collaborative network of researchers to focus attention on prevention that is truly global.

For further information, visit the IRNDP website, including news and updates, an evidence hub on cohort studies, an evidence synthesis on clinical trials, and information on how to join the network.

IRNDP is chaired by Professor Kaarin Anstey and is a project of the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration funded by the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR).

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International Research Network on Dementia Prevention

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

The career development of early- and mid-career researchers in dementia should be a global priority: a call for action.

Oliveira D, Deckers K, Zheng L, Macpherson H, Ishak WS, Silarova B

Dementia risk reduction in practice: the knowledge, opinions and perspectives of Australian healthcare providers.

Zheng L, Godbee K, Steiner GZ, Daylight G, Ee C, Hill TY, Hohenberg MI, Lautenschlager NT, McDonald K, Pond D, Radford K, Anstey KJ, Peters R

Cognitive health expectancies of cardiovascular risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia.

Zheng L, Matthews FE, Anstey KJ

Having a cardiovascular condition is associated with a lower CIFLE and higher proportion of life lived with cognitive impairment. However, the outcomes vary depending on the type of cardiovascular condition. Reducing incidence of stroke and minimising exposure to multiple cardiovascular risk factors may be beneficial in helping to improve population estimates of cognitive health expectancy.

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