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Prof. Kaarin Anstey

Director, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute

Psychology and neuroscience expert exploring the epidemiology of cognition and dementia


Professor Kaarin Anstey is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute, and a Senior Principal Research Scientist at Neuroscience Research Australia. Anstey is also Chair of the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention. Anstey’s research programs focus on the causes, consequences and prevention of cognitive ageing, dementia, and common mental disorders in adulthood. She leads the PATH Through Life cohort study that has followed a population-based sample for 20 years to examine risk and protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia, mental health and healthy ageing. Anstey led development of the ANU-ADRI risk score for Alzheimer’s disease and is an investigator on several multi-domain dementia risk reduction trials. Kaarin’s second area of research focusses on how cognitive and sensory ageing impact driving in older adults. In this sphere Anstey is leading studies to improve older driver skills and to understand how cognitive decline affects driving abilities. Kaarin has worked with the WHO in the area of dementia, and is a member of the Governance Committee of the Global Council on Brain Health.


Moderate drinking may improve cognitive health for older adults, study says

July 01, 2020

"There is now a lot of observational evidence showing that light to moderate alcohol drinking is associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia compared with alcohol abstaining," said senior principal research scientist Kaarin Anstey, a director of the NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration in Australia, who was not involved in the study.

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Should older drivers be tested more?

June 22, 2020

“While the road toll is decreasing in Australia on average, deaths among older Australians are actually increasing,” UNSW Ageing Futures Institute director and NeuRA senior principal research scientist Professor Kaarin Anstey told The New Daily.

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MIND diet may protect you from dementia
Knowridge Science Report

March 08, 2019

This is the first study outside of the United States showing that the MIND diet reduces the risk of dementia. The lead author of the study is Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey, Director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute.

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Keen to improve your memory? It might be as simple as ABC, expert explains
ABC News

February 29, 2016

Many of us have first-hand experience with the frustrations of memory lapses, and it's not unusual to be concerned that they are a sign of something sinister. But Professor Kaarin Anstey says most memory lapses are a normal part of the ageing process...

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From pollution to caffeine intake: Researcher reveals dementia risks.
Science Daily

August 01, 2016

Dementia strikes 47 million people worldwide. Yet scientists are still urgently trying to find why the disease affects some but not others. Among the findings from the latest research are that eating a large amount of fatty foods and living in a polluted area may increase dementia risk, whereas taking regular exercise and keeping cholesterol at healthy levels may lower risk.

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The science of defying death
Australian Geographic

June 13, 2016

Scientists are working against the clock to discover how we can live longer, healthier lives – and how we might one day defeat the most common causes of death.

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Validation of Brief Screening Tools to Identify Impaired Driving Among Older Adults in Australia
JAMA Network Open

2020These findings suggest that off-road screening tests can reliably identify older drivers with a strong probability of failing an on-road driving test.

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Future Directions for Dementia Risk Reduction and Prevention Research: An International Research Network on Dementia Prevention Consensus
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

2020Drawing on recent integrative reviews and a consensus workshop, the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention developed a consensus statement on priorities for future research.

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An Internet-Based Intervention Augmented With a Diet and Physical Activity Consultation to Decrease the Risk of Dementia in At-Risk Adults in a Primary Care Setting
Journal of Medical Internet Research

2020This study aims to evaluate a multidomain dementia risk reduction intervention, Body Brain Life in General Practice (BBL-GP), targeting at-risk adults in primary care.

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A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses that Evaluate Risk Factors for Dementia to Evaluate the Quantity, Quality, and Global Representativeness of Evidence
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

2019To evaluate the quantity, quality, and representativeness of evidence, we conducted a review of reviews of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Vascular dementia (VaD), and Any Dementia.

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Effect of tailored on-road driving lessons on driving safety in older adults: A randomised controlled trial
Accident Analysis & Prevention

2018We evaluated the effectiveness of individually tailored driving lessons compared with a road rules refresher course for improving older driver safety.

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Bridging the Translation Gap: From Dementia Risk Assessment to Advice on Risk Reduction
Journal of the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

2015This narrative review provides capsule summaries of current evidence for 25 risk and protective factors associated with AD and dementia according to domains including biomarkers, demographic, lifestyle, medical, and environment.

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Body brain life: A randomized controlled trial of an online dementia risk reduction intervention in middle-aged adults at risk of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions

2015To examine the efficacy of body brain life (BBL), a 12-week online dementia risk reduction intervention [was performed].

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The influence of smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity on cognitive impairment free life expectancy
International Journal of Epidemiology

2014Smoking, sedentary lifestyle and obesity are risk factors for mortality and dementia. However, their impact on cognitive impairment-free life expectancy (CIFLE) has not previously been estimated.

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A self-report risk index to predict occurrence of dementia in three independent cohorts of older adults: the ANU-ADRI
PLoS One

2014We aimed to evaluate the extent to which the ANU-ADRI can predict the risk of AD in older adults and to compare the ANU-ADRI to the dementia risk index developed from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study for middle-aged cohorts.

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Area of Expertise

Aged Health Care

Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive Sciences

Developmental Psychology and Ageing


Fostering Healthy Ageing

Geriatrics and Gerontology

Health Promotion

Mental Health


Older Drivers


Public Health and Health Services


Dementia Collaborative Research Centre - Early Diagnosis and Prevention: Director

NeuRA: Senior Principal Research Scientist

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing: Deputy Director

NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Director


Health and Wellness

Health Care - Services




University of Queensland, University of Sydney : Psychology

University of Sydney : Psychology

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