Background /personal summary
A biomedical scientist by training, I began my career in cancer pharmacology researching Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase (PARP) inhibitors and bio-imaging of dermal immunology. My postgraduate work has focused on epidemiology, advanced statistics, and Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence in the fields of ageing, dementia, and neuropathology.
In my current role I am a Research Associate in the Population Health Sciences Institute (NUPHSI) as well as the research statistician for the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS) group, a multicentre population cohort study based at the University of Cambridge. My primary research interests are applying state of the art statistical methodology including, machine learning/ Artificial Intelligence, to understanding neuropathological risk in older people of cognitive impairment and dementia.
As well as research I enjoy an active role in the wider university including student supervision and teaching. I am also a representative of NUPHSI on the FMS Post-doctoral researchers committee and the NUPHSI Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee.
In 2020 I have also worked alongside colleagues with Northeast NHS trusts, providing epidemiological modelling for the COVID-19 response.
Summary of research project
Preventing Dementia Through Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Can we reduce the risk of dementia in older people? This is the goal of a research project I am proposing. I want to understand how using certain anti-inflammatory medications might help protect our brains from dementia as we age.
The Problem: Dementia and Inflammation
Dementia, a condition that affects memory and thinking, is often caused by harmful changes in the brain. Two of the main culprits are called neurofibrillary tangles and plaques with tau and beta-amyloid deposits. Sadly, we don’t have effective treatments for these brain changes or for dementia itself.
Over the past decade, it has been discovered that inflammation in the brain plays a big role in dementia. This inflammation might speed up the harmful brain changes we mentioned earlier and make dementia worse. The good news is that we might be able to stop this inflammation and slow down dementia.
Research Approach: I will use a large dataset from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS), which includes information from older people in the UK. This dataset is rich in information about their health, the medications they take, and what happens to their brains as they age.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Common anti-inflammatory medications include aspirin or ibuprofen. Some studies suggest that people who take these drugs for conditions like arthritis have a lower risk of getting dementia. But there’s a catch. When researchers tried giving these drugs to older people to prevent dementia, it didn’t always work, and it sometimes caused health problems like stomach issues.
I am not just looking at these common anti-inflammatories. We’re also checking out newer medications that might work better and have fewer side effects.
What I am Trying to Achieve: My project has a few important goals:
- Identify Who’s Taking Anti-Inflammatory Medications: We want to figure out who among the older people in the CFAS dataset is taking anti-inflammatory medications.
- Understand the Effect on Dementia Risk: We’ll look at whether using these medications is linked to a lower risk of getting dementia.
- Explore Brain Changes: For those who have dementia and are taking anti-inflammatories, we’ll study what’s happening inside their brains. Are the medications making a difference in how the brain changes?
- By doing this research, we hope to find out if anti-inflammatory medications can truly help protect our brains from dementia. This could be a big step toward keeping our minds sharp as we grow older.
Areas of interest
- Dementia Epidemiology
- Dementia Neuropathology
- Dementia Prevention
- Population Risk of Dementia
- Age-related chronic disease epidemiology
Recent or relevant publications
- Wharton SB, Simpson JE, Ince PG, Richardson CD, Merrick R, Matthews FE, Brayne C, on behalf of CFAS. Insights into the pathological basis of dementia from population-based neuropathology studies. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 2023, 49(4), e12923.
- Ahmet Begde, Manisha Jain, Maria Goodwin, Carol Brayne, Linda Barnes, Rachael Brooks, Emma Green, Connor Richardson, Tom Dening, ThomasWilcockson & Eef Hogervorst (2023) Exploring factors influencing willingness of older adults to use assistive technologies: evidence from the cognitive function and ageing study II, Information, Communication & Society, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2023.2205915
- Richardson CD, Roscoe H, Green E, Brooks R, Barnes L, Matthews FE, Brayne C. Impact of COVID-19 Policies on Perceptions of Loneliness in people aged 75 years and over in the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS II). Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2023, 71(2), 463-473.
- Stephan BCM, Tang E, Pakpahan E, Biswasd B, Guptae A, Fairley A, Bosco A, Richardson CD, Robinson L, Siervo M. Secular Trends in Dementia Free Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2022, 88(2), 417-428.
- McGrattan AM, Zhu Y, Richardson CD, Mohan D, Soh YC, Sajjad A, Aller CV, Chen S, Paddick SM, Prina M, Siervo M, Robinson LA, Stephan BCM. Prevalence and Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2021, 79(2), 743-762.
- Waller R, Narramore R, Simpson JE, Heath PR, Verma N, Tinsley M, Barnes J, Haris H, Henderson FE, Matthews FE, Richardson CD, Brayne C, Ince PG, Kalaria R, Wharton SB. Heterogeneity of cellular inflammatory responses in ageing white matter and relationship to Alzheimer’s and small vessel disease pathologies. Brain Pathology 2021, 31(3), e12928.
- Ellmerich S, Taylor GW, Richardson CD, Minett T, Schmidt AF, Brayne C, Matthews FE, Ince PG, Wharton SB, Pepys MB. Dementia in the older population is associated with neocortex content of serum amyloid P component. Brain Communications2021, 3(4), fcab225.
- Chambers A, Bury JJ, Minett T, Richardson CD, Brayne C, Ince PG, Shaw PJ, Garwood CJ, Heath PR, Simpson JE, Matthews FE, Wharton SB, CFAS. Advanced Glycation End Product Formation in Human Cerebral Cortex Increases with Alzheimer-type Neuropathologic Changes but is Not Independently Associated with Dementia in a Population-Derived Aging Brain Cohort. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 2020, 79(9), 950-958.
- Richardson C, Stephan BCM, Robinson L, Brayne C, Matthews FE. Two-decade change in prevalence of cognitive impairment in the UK. European Journal of Epidemiology 2019, 34, 1085-1092.
- Lavrencic LM, Richardson C, Harrison SL, Muniz-Terrera G, Keage HAD, Brittain K, Kirkwood TBL, Jagger C, Robinson L, Stephan BCM. Is There a Link between Cognitive Reserve and Cognitive Function in the Oldest-Old?. Journals of Gerontology: Series A 2018, 73(4), 499-505.
- Wang XN, McGovern N, Gunawan M, Richardson C, Windebank M, Siah TW, Lim HW, Fink K, Li J, Ng LG, Ginhoux F, Angeli V, Collin M, Haniffa M. A Three Dimensional Atlas of Human Dermal Leukocytes, Lymphatics and Blood Vessels.Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2014, 134, 965-974.
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