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Prof Sabina Brennan (Co-Director)

Dr Sabina Brennan

As Co-Director, Sabina Brennan drives the NEIL Research Programme and the development and evaluation of interventions. She is also Director of the NEIL Memory Research Unit, which she established in collaboration with Professor Robertson and Professor Lawlor in 2011. Her current research interests are in understanding differential decline in cognitive ageing, the early detection of cognitive decline, and the development of interventions to prevent decline. Sabina is passionate about engaging adults in an educational preventative context and is frequently invited to speak on brain health and related issues. Sabina is running as an independent Seanad candidate in the University of Dublin Constituency (TCD), you can read about her campaign on www.sabinabrennan.ie.

Prof. Brennan recently coordinated ASAPS, a project funded under the European Commission's FP7 Programme, which aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of European cognitive ageing research and promote active and healthy ageing. The main output from this project was a European-wide, multi-lingual, multi-platform brain health awareness campaign comprised of a series of films, an app and print materials together with a website that provides easy-to-understand information about the brain, brain health and brain research - see www.hellobrain.eu. The Hello Brain Health App was positively reviewed by the medical journal The Lancet Neurology.

With funding from GENIO, she produced a series of 10 animations (see www.freedemliving.com) that address peoples' fears about memory loss and dementia and provide practical advice about brain health. The films have been viewed online in over 140 countries and are currently being used by Alzheimer's societies and in clinical settings for educational purposes in Australia, New Zealand, US, UK and South Africa. The films have received considerable media coverage and have also been showcased at two international exhibitions (read more in this article).

She is also Principle Investigator on a US funded 2-year project aimed at assessing the impact of relationship-based mealtime intervention on quality of life, cognitive function, social connection, mood, BMI and walking speed. Along with Professors Robertson and Lawlor, she is jointly leading De-Stress, a 3 year cohort study, looking at cognitive function, caregiver stress and cortisol, funded under the Medical Research Charities Group by the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland and the Health Research Board.

She is currently co-supervisor of a PhD study "An Investigation of the Protective Effect of Cognitive Reserve against Cognitive Impairment", and a second PhD looking at the relationship between age-related deafness, cognitive decline and cognitive reserve, both funded by the Irish Research Council.

Sabina is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and serves on the Global Coalition on Aging Advisory Council. She is a member of the Trinity College Equality Committee, a committee of Board with responsibility for advising Board and Council on all equality-related matters. She is also a member of the Trinity EngAGE Steering Committee and served on the School of Psychology Ethics Committee for several years.

She is a member of the TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) neuropsychological working group and is currently collaborating on the TILDA project which aims to collect detailed information on all aspects of the lives of ~8000 people aged 50 years and over, resident in Ireland. Sabina also serves on the External Advisory Board for TRGEAR, a project funded by the European Commission under FP7 PEOPLE2013-IAPP-612261. Her own PhD thesis entitled 'Neurocognitive and Electrophysiological Indices of Cognitive Performance in Ageing' explored individual differences in cognitive performance in healthy elderly and aimed to identify neurocognitive and electrophysiological markers that index cognitive decline. As part of the TCIN-GSK Neurodegeneration Programme she was responsible for a research project aimed at identifying novel cognitive, electrophysiological and behavioural endpoints in human participants that offer greater sensitivity to age-induced cognitive changes than previous endpoints.

Publications

McHugh, J.E., Lee, O., Aspell, N., Connolly, L., Lawlor, B.A. & Brennan, S (2016) Peer volunteer perspectives following a complex social cognitive intervention: A qualitative investigation. International Psychogeriatrics (In Press)

Brennan, S., O'Sullivan, M., Robertson, I.H., O'Connell, R.G. and Dockree, P. (in press). Characterising neural signatures of successful ageing: electrophysiological correlates of preserved episodic memory in older age. Brain and Cognition

Pertl, M., Lawlor, B.A., Robertson, I.H., Walsh, C. and Brennan, S. (in press). Risk of cognitive and functional impairment in spouses of people with dementia: evidence from the Health and Retirement Study. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology

Dolan, C., Lawlor, B.A., Brennan, S. and Bruce, I. (2015). An exploration of diabetes brain health literacy among the general public, healthcare professionals and diabetic patients. European Psychiatry, 30, 1462a-1462c.

McHugh, J.E., Lee, O., Lawlor, B.A. and Brennan, S. (2014). The meaning of mealtimes: social and nutritional needs identifed among older adults attending day services and by healthcare professionals. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, In Press.

Kelly, M.E., Loughrey, D., Lawlor, B.A., Robertson, I.H., Walsh, C. and Brennan, S. (2014) The impact of cognitive training and mental stimulattion on cognitive and everyday functioning in healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews.

Kelly, M.E., Loughrey, D., Lawlor, B.A., Robertson, I.G. and Brennan S. (2014). The impact of exercise on the cognitive functioning of healthy older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 16, 12-31.

Di Rosa, E., Hannigan, C., Brennan, S., Reilly, R., Rapcan, Viliam, and Robertson, I.H. (2014). Reliability and validity of the Automatic Cognitive Assessment Delivery (ACAD). Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Downer, E.J., Jones, R.S., McDonald, C.L., Greco, E., Brennan, S., Connor, T.J., Robertson, I.H. and Lynch, M.A. (2013) Identifying early inflammatory changes in monocyte-derived macrophages from a population with IQ-discrepant episodic memory. PloS One, 8(5)

Hannigan, C., Brennan, S. , Coen, R., [...], Robertson, I.H. (2013). Cognitive reserve: Developing a model of the social processes that influence age-related cognitive decline. Irish Journal of Medical Science.

McAvinue, L.P., Golemme, M., Castorina, M., Tatti, E., Pigni, F.M., Salomone, S., Brennan, S. and Robertson, I.H. (2013) An evaluation of a working memory training scheme in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 5(20), 1-11.

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bodke, A., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laurelle, M., Lawlor, B.L. and Robertson, I.H. (2011) Donepezil impairs memory in healthy older subjects: Behavioural, EEG and simultaneous EEG/fMRI biomarkers. PLoS ONE, 6(9): e24126. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024126

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bodke, A., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laurelle, M., Lawlor, B.L. and Robertson, I.H. (2012) Donepezil impairs memory in healthy older subjects: Behavioural, EEG and simultaneous EEG/fMRI biomarkers. Organisation for Human Brain Mapping Abstracts.

O'Connell, R.G., Balsters, J.H., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bodke, A., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laurelle, M., Lawlor, B.L. and Robertson, I.H. (2011) Donepezil impairs memory in healthy older subjects: Behavioural, EEG and simultaneous EEG/fMRI biomarkers. Alzheimer's Association International Conference, Paris 16-21 July 2011.

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Brennan, S., Galli, A., Kilcullen, S., Bodke, A.L., Lai, R., Upton, N. and Robertson, I.H. (2011). Describing memory decline in the ageing brain using multiple methods: Neuropsychology, volumetrics, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Abstract. Irish Journal of Medical Science. (Presenter award first prize for best post-doctoral speaker).

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Brennan, S., Galli, A., Kilcullen, S., Bodke, A.L., Lai, R., Upton, N. and Robertson I.H. (2011). Describing memory decline in the ageing brain uisng multiple metods: Neuropsychology, volumetrics, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroscience Ireland.

Brennan, S., Dockree, O., Sobolowski, R. and Robertson I.H. (2010). Markers of memory failure in healthy elderly. British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 14-16 April, Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bodke, A., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laurelle, M., Lawlor, B.L. and Robertson, I.H. (2010) Simultaneous EEG/fMRU and its role in generating novel biomarkers of Ageing and Drug effects. Neuroscience Ireland.

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bodke, A., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laurelle, M., Lawlor, B.L. and Robertson, I.H. (2010) Simultaneous EEG/fMRU and its role in generating novel biomarkers of Ageing and Drug effects. Abstract. Irish Journal of Medical Science.

Brennan, S., Dockree, P., Sobolowski, R. and Robertson, I.H. (2009) Contribution of alpha to memory failures in healthy elderly. Abstract. Irish Journal of Medical Science.

Brennan, S., Dockree, P., Sobolowski, R. and Robertson, I.H. (2009) Contribution of alpha to memory failures in healthy elderly. Neuroscience Ireland Conference Presentation, 10-11 September 2009, Trinity College Dublin.

Brennan, S., Dockree, P., Sobolowski, R. and Robertson, I.H. (2009) Contribution of alpha to memory failures in healthy elderly. Presentation, IRCSET Symposium, 25th September 2009, RDS Dublin.

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Email: neil@tcd.ie
Last updated 12 July 2016

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