Researcher

Dr Adrienne Lee Withall

Biography

Research Interests:

I am the Leader of the CHAMPION Team within the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW Australia. Our main aim is to promote care and cognitive health in at-risk populations. My research spans many vulnerable groups, including those with young onset dementia and their supporters, people with chronic drug and alcohol use, and the prison population. Identifying risk factors to enable early intervention and...view more

Research Interests:

I am the Leader of the CHAMPION Team within the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW Australia. Our main aim is to promote care and cognitive health in at-risk populations. My research spans many vulnerable groups, including those with young onset dementia and their supporters, people with chronic drug and alcohol use, and the prison population. Identifying risk factors to enable early intervention and promote optimal care is at the forefront of this research. 

Young onset dementia is when a person has an onset of memory loss and/or other cognitive problems prior to the age of 65. These symptoms may occur due to a range of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia, or they may result from medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Huntington’s disease, or the long term effects of lifestyle factors such as alcohol misuse or sporting injuries. The numbers of people with young onset dementia seem to be increasing however there is little known about this group. 

The INSPIRED Study, led by Professor Brian Draper and myself, is examining the prevalence of young onset dementia, the needs of this group, and we are determining a model of optimal service provision and care. This study is a collaboration between UNSW, the University of Sydney, and at the Prince of Wales, St Vincent’s, Sutherland and Port Kembla Hospitals. This will be the largest international study of young onset dementia. 

My other studies include examining the cognitive effects, assessment strategies and care needs of individuals with cognitive changes due to chronic drug and alcohol abuse. We have current funded studies to investigate the prevalence of substance abuse in older clients and its relationship to cognitive impairment, and also to investigate clinical and cognitive outcomes in long-term drug and alcohol clients. 

I am also interested in the ways in which sporting injuries can lead to changes in memory and thinking and the relationships between concussion and other head injuries and young onset dementia (e.g. chronic traumatic encephalopathy). 

I supervise ILP, Honours and postdoctoral students and have exciting projects on offer for the areas above. Please email me with your interests if you would like to discuss this further. 

Broad Research Areas:
Psychiatry, Gerontology - Geriatrics, Clinical Research, Health Services Research, Population Health

Qualifications:
BSc (Hons) PhD

Specific Research Keywords:
Dementia, Ageing, Wellbeing, Health Services Research


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

Dementia, cognitive decline, ageing, risk factors, epidemiology, vulnerable populations, cognition, drug and alcohol, justice health, service provision, care, carer health


My Expertise

Dementia; younger onset dementia; Alzheimer's disease; frontotemporal dementia; successful ageing and wellbeing; positive psychology; happiness; neuropsychology.

View less

Location

School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Room 316, Level 3, Samuels Building,
Kensington Campus, UNSW

Contact

02 9385 9428
02 9385 1036

Videos

Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Foundation Researcher Spotlight