Race Against Dementia and Dementia Australia Research Foundation Fellow
Sydney University, Australia
Due to the limited effectiveness of current interventions and the absence of curative treatments, Dr Andrew McKinnon, a clinical neuropsychologist, was drawn to dementia research.
In 2021, Andrew received the Race Against Dementia DARF Fellowship to explore the relationships between sleep-wake disturbances, brain changes, dementia risk factors and the accumulation of dementia pathology.
“Sir Jackie Stewart’s vision to apply high-performance elements from Formula 1 to dementia research is a unique and potentially very effective in allowing breakthroughs to be made at a more rapid pace.”
Dr Andrew McKinnon
Sleep disturbances, including poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration and sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, are present in up to 60% of adults over the age of 60 and in up to 70% of those with dementia. Such sleep problems are a significant yet modifiable (for example, via treatment with melatonin) risk factor for dementia.
Despite the high prevalence of sleep problems among older adults, there is a lack of comprehensive research on how they relate to cognitive changes, dementia processes, and other risk factors. Andrew is conducting a thorough analysis of sleep problems in older adults with early dementia or those at risk of developing the condition. He also aims to develop tools to enable the creation of personalised risk profiles, which clinicians can use to develop management and prevention strategies.