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Full NameDr Bernadette McGuinness
Department:Centre for Public Health
Organisation:Queen's University Belfast
- neuroscience and mental health
- epidemiology/population health research
- General Practice
- Public Health
- Geriatric Medicine
The dementia research group in the Centre for Public Health is involved in numerous projects; these include investigating the role of neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, the utility of EEG and magnetoencephalography in predicting cognitive decline, assessment and management of pain in dementia, the role of Mediterranean diet in mild cognitive impairment, metabolomics in dementia and the utility of retinal imaging as a biomarker of early neurodegeneration. We have several PhD students and Post-Docs working in these areas and an academic Clinical Lecturer working on the pathophysiology of post-operative delirium.
The dementia research group collaborate with leading investigators from other research centres in QUB, Ulster University, Ireland, UK and internationally, both in Europe and the USA. Dr McGuinness is also Clinical Lead of the Northern Ireland Cohort of Longitudinal Ageing (NICOLA) study, approximately 8,500 participants have been recruited into the first Wave and health assessments are ongoing. This study will provide invaluable data on cognition, eye health, frailty and emotional wellbeing in participants aged over 50 years of age in Northern Ireland and complements other longitudinal cohort studies in Ireland (TILDA) and England (ELSA).
Potential research projects will be discussed with the applicant to ensure the area is of interest to them. There will be an opportunity to perform further work on any of the areas highlighted above but example projects may involve:
(1) A randomised controlled trial of Mediterranean diet in mild cognitive impairment: Work is underway using epidemiologic and pilot study data to inform a large-scale intervention using Mediterranean diet in participants in mild cognitive impairment. The PhD student will work on a project to determine the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet to preserve cognitive function including novel neuro-imaging and blood-based biomarkers.
(2) Follow-up of a post-operative delirium cohort: 351 participants were recruited into a post-operative delirium cohort study from 2010-2013; patients admitted for elective hip and knee replacements underwent a neuropsychological assessment, had CSF and blood sampled at baseline and delirium outcomes were measured post-operatively. The PhD student will be involved in follow-up of these participants to determine dementia outcomes and will be involved in memory clinic assessment.
(3) Utility of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in Alzheimer's disease: The only MEG scanner in Ireland is based in Ulster University (UU) Magee Campus. Collaborations are in place between researchers in UU and the QUB dementia group and a feasibility study is due to commence soon assessing MEG changes in patients with Alzheimer's disease before and after treatment with a cholinesterase inhibitor. The PhD project will involve further neuropsychological assessment and MEG scanning in a larger group of patients with AD along with memory clinic experience.
(4) Cognitive analysis of NICOLA: The NICOLA health assessment includes a cognitive battery of tests, the clinical PhD student will have the opportunity to analyse these along with other health and socioeconomic outcomes. There will also be the opportunity to gain memory clinic experience.