Superstars on SuperAgers

Congratulations to researchers from The Florey who received the National Academy of Neuropsychology’s Nelson-Butters Award for the best research paper published in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology in 2019.

The research led by lead author Christa Dang and the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Study of Ageing (AIBL) challenged widely-accepted models of cognitive and brain aging by following participants who were classified either cognitively normal for their age or ‘SuperAgers’ for up to 8 years.

In research undertaken during her PhD, Dr Dang uncovered cognitive decline was not inevitable in aging and that having low levels of the toxic protein amyloid beta (Aβ-), was associated with better memory and executive function performance over time.

“It is possible to reach old age with little-to-no cognitive decline. You don’t need to have an exceptional memory for this to be possible. How good a person’s memory is to start with does not affect their chances of staying healthy,” said Dr Dang.

It was a proud moment for the members of the AIBL team, who have won the Nelson-Butters award three times with different topics and different lead authors over the years.

This research is the first in a body of work that focuses on characterizing brain and cognitive changes in aging when no Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers are present.

The research has been published in a paper entitled, “Superior memory reduces 8-year risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia but not amyloid β-associated cognitive decline in older adults” in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology (Doi: 10.1093/arclin/acy078).