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Grant funding success for TILDA Researchers

TILDA has secured nearly €1.8 million in new research grant funding for four projects commencing 2017/2018.

TILDA Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Cathal McCrory, was awarded the prestigious four year Health Research Board Emerging Investigator Award, designed to enable researchers at the mid stage of their career to become independent investigators. Dr McCrory will conduct a research project addressing why individuals from more disadvantaged social backgrounds will develop diseases earlier and will die earlier compared with their more advantaged peers using TILDA dataset. The project aims to understand how social group-based differences affect the health of individuals over the life course. These findings will inform societal approaches to reduce health inequalities and promote healthy ageing.

Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Professor Richard Reilly and Professor Fiona Newell were successfully awarded funding through the Health Research Board Investigator-Led Project awards for four year projects commencing 2017/2018. Professor Kenny, with co-PI Dr Anne Nolan at ESRI, will examine how age and socioeconomic status are related to patterns of illness and service use and access to potentially life-extending treatment near the end of life. In the context of future pressures on public budgets from population ageing, examining the determinants of healthcare utilisation and costs at the end of life can assist policymakers in designing appropriate interventions to control expenditure, reduce health inequalities, improve population health and better project the effects of demographic and socioeconomic change on healthcare needs and use.

Professor Reilly and his team will use multimodal cardiovascular modelling to understand the mechanisms underlying the association between autonomic function and disease processes and study disability associated with global cardiovascular risk. Using Big Data and Machine Learning approaches to investigate, integrate and identify predictors of decline and protectors for physical function, this project will develop prediction analyses to detect at-risk population early, and identify modifiable physical risk factors used in screening tests for clinical and public health practice, and new treatments.

Professor Newell project will advance understanding of how multisensory interactions occur in the ageing brain. Multisensory integration is a fundamental process by which the brain combines and transforms relevant sensory information into a meaningful percept that is, in turn, critical for higher cognitive, social and physical functions. Professor Newell and her team will measure multisensory function in TILDA using a simple task to identify individual differences in multisensory function as a function of age and with increasing age, and conduct analyses of co-morbidities associated with changes in multisensory function. The findings will provide novel insights into how perceptual function underpins physical and cognitive health during ageing and may provide an early marker of decline in different domains.