Investigators: Henry Brodaty (CI), Megan Heffernen, Perminder Sachdev, John McNeil, Anthony Maeder, Nicola Lautenschlager, Louisa Jorm, Maria Fiatarone Singh, Kaarin Anstey, Gavin Andrews

Maintain Your Brain (MYB) is a randomised controlled trial of multiple online interventions designed to target modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and deme. Risk factors to be addressed are physical inactivity, cognitive inactivity, depression, overweight and obesity, and poor diet. Four intervention modules (physical activity and nutrition, cognitive training and depression) will be customised to individual risk profiles. Each module will be initially delivered using MYB eHealth platform over three months. In the active intervention phase participants complete all four modules is 12 months. Booster sessions and monitoring will continue for four years. Follow-up assessments measuring these risk factors and cognition will be completed annually for four years. The comparison control group will receive basic psychoeducation online about dementia risk factors and otherwise receive usual care and undertake the same set of assessments.

Investigators: A/Prof Hilary Bambrick, Dr Emma George (CI), Prof Louisa Jorm (Supervisor), Prof Gregory Kolt, Ms Sanja Lujic.

The aims of this project were to analyse the baseline questionnaire data to explore the relationship between physical activity levels and self-reported doctor-diagnosed depression and depressive symptoms in men aged 65 and over living in rural and remote areas of NSW.

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide, with findings indicating that one in six Australian men will suffer from depression at any given time.  The risk of depression and suicide in older Australian men, aged 65 and older, is equally as high, with factors such as physical illness, decreased mobility due to chronic pain and isolation being major causes.  Findings of this project will contribute to an improved understanding of the burden of mental illnesses, including depression, in New South Wales; and inform later investigation of the relationship between physical activity and mental health.

Outcomes resulting from this research:

George E, Kolt G, Jorm L, Lujic S. Physical activity and psychological distress in older men: Findings from the New South Wales 45 and Up Study. J Aging Phys Act 2012 Jul;20(3):300-16

Investigators: Prof Emily Banks, Dr Soufiane Boufous, Prof Julie Byles, Prof Catherine D’Este, Dr Richard Gibson, Prof Louisa Jorm, Prof Sally Redman, Dr Ian Robinson, Prof Bryan Rodgers, Dr Anna Williamson (CI).

As Australia’s population ages, the need to identify and understand the correlates of mental health problems in middle- to old-aged Australians and the predictors of healthy ageing in relation to mental wellbeing is becoming increasingly urgent. Using baseline questionnaire data, this project will explore the indicators of mental health problems (psychological distress, self-reported anxiety and depression and psychotropic mediation use) and how they correlate to a range of measures including socioeconomic status and physical health in mid-to-late-life Australians.

Investigator: Dr Peter Siminski (CI).

This project is a component of a broader research agenda studying the effects of Vietnam-era army service on the life outcomes of veterans. Incorporating data from the 45 and Up Study and other sources, this research will examine the effects of army service on the subsequent health outcomes of Vietnam veterans, focusing particularly on mental illness, physical functioning and alcohol abuse. It is hoped this work will contribute to a greater understanding of the effects of conscription on conscripts’ health, with the potential to stimulate appropriate interventions for the study population. The research will also assess the success of existing veterans’ programs and facilitate a broader understanding of the full human costs of military conflicts.

Investigators: Prof Emily Banks (CI), Prof Sandra Eades, Dr Grace Joshy, Dr Bridgette McNamara, Prof Beverley Raphael, Dr Anna Williamson.

This two-part project aims to investigate the self-reported health, lifestyle behaviours and general wellbeing of 45 and Up Study participants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander on the baseline survey. These insights will contribute to the understanding of risk profiles and how they differ from non-Aboriginal participants, and of the associations between physical disability and mental health within this cohort.

The first part of the study will describe and compare 45 and Up baseline questionnaire data from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants to that of non-Aboriginal participants, focusing on sociodemographic, health and lifestyle characteristics.

The second part will investigate high levels of psychological distress among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal participants, and its relationship to a range of factors such as socioeconomic status, co-morbidity, disability and lifestyle factors.

Investigators: Prof Helen Christensen, A/Prof David Darby, Prof Nick Glozier, Prof Ian Hickie (CI), Prof Paul Maruff, A/Prof Sharon Naismith, Prof Bruce Neal.

It has been shown that there is a relatively strong association between depression and cardiovascular disease. The primary aim of this project is to determine the effects of an evidence based Internet intervention program for depression on depressive symptoms in patients being treated for cardiovascular disease.

The project also aims to determine the immediate and 12-month effects of the same intervention on cognitive function, adherence and treatment for cardiovascular disease. Subsidiary outcomes include reduction in anxiety symptoms, disability and improved employment status, measured at post intervention and at 12 months.