RESCUE: Reducing Prolonged Sitting to improve Cognitive fUnction in Elders
PhD Student Projects - School of Medicine, Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine (CRGM; located at Princess Alexandra Hospital)
Funding: Student Scholarship required, top-up funding available to suitable candidate/s
- This is a great opportunity to get involved in a world-first research project, examining the impact of a sedentary behavior intervention on cognitive function in insufficiently active, frail older adults.
- Gain an advanced understanding of relationships between prolonged sitting and cognitive function and dementia.
- Learn and apply a variety of techniques to conceptualise, collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data from cohort and intervention studies.
- Undertake formative studies to inform interventions to reduce prolonged sitting
- Develop and conduct an intervention to determine whether reducing prolonged sitting improves cognitive function.
- Work in a close-knit and supportive team at the CRGM.
- Collaborate with established interdisciplinary research networks in order to optimise research outcomes and professional development.
- Flexible working conditions.
Outline of projects:
Dementia is characterised by a decline in cognition involving one or more cognitive domains (learning and memory, language, executive function, complex attention, perceptual-motor, social cognition). In the absence of effective pharmacological strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, there has been a call to focus preventive efforts on behavioural risk factors.
Prolonged sitting is a ubiquitous health risk with high levels of sitting linked to premature mortality, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, regardless of levels of physical activity. People can meet physical activity guidelines (30 minutes on most days of the week) and still have high levels of sitting. There is emerging evidence from observational studies that high levels of television viewing time (a common sedentary behaviour) are related to poorer cognition (executive function and global cognitive function) and development of Alzheimer’s Disease at follow-up, even after controlling for physical activity levels, suggesting an independent association. In contrast one study reported that high levels of computer use (another increasingly prevalent sedentary behaviour) are associated with improvements in verbal memory and executive function at follow-up.
Despite these risks to health, the field of research to influence prolonged sitting is still not well- developed with the majority of evidence coming from pilot and feasibility studies. To date there are no intervention trials in older adults that have specifically targeted sitting time and reported on outcomes related to cognitive function or dementia.
- A PhD in Medicine
- Experience in a wide range of research methods including using existing data sets and devising field based studies to collect data
- Multiple scientific papers in good research journals
- Experience with oral/written presentations at national/international conferences
Contact Dr Paul Gardiner to express your interest - firstname.lastname@example.org