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Predictors and correlates of cognitive decline in people with intellectual disability

Professor Julian Trollor, Prof Henry Brodaty, Prof Perminder Sachdev
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution UNSW Dept of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry
Project Description

Ageing and dementia in the general population have been a focus of intense scrutiny but special populations such as those with intellectual disability, for whom ageing has specific relevance, have been relatively ignored. Available data suggests that people with intellectual disability are at increased risk for dementia and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders. However, there has been little systematic study of the cognitive, functional, psychosocial and health trajectories of people with intellectual disability. Even less is known about the predictors of decline in cognition or the demands this will place on health and disability services. Carers, disability and health care systems will therefore face significant challenges as the intellectually disabled population ages, but will find themselves ill equipped to deal with such issues unless this gap in translational research is addressed.

This proposal is for a pilot project to enhance future applications for competitive funding. The larger project aims to establish a representative cohort of older people with intellectual disability (ID) and to

(a) investigate the prevalence of dementia and predementia syndromes in people with ID;

(b) examine the relationships between physical health, mental health, lifestyle, behaviour and cognitive ageing in ID;

(c) determine the role of cognitive decline on carer stress in ID.

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