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Setting the stage for ageing: life-course influences on neural health and implications for prevention science

Baker, Stephanie 2018. Setting the stage for ageing: life-course influences on neural health and implications for prevention science. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This two-part thesis aimed to bring together health psychology and the emerging field of health neuroscience, building a greater understanding of cognitive health across a life-course and with a focus towards research that has public impact. The thesis is structured in two parts. Part 1 focused on health neuroscience, investigating two key factors that could impact MTL structure and memory processes within a multi-factor model (STAC-R). Chapter 2 looked at a potential genetic modifier of life-course cognition, BDNF. Results suggested differences in parahippocampal structure, and hippocampal-amygdala structural covariance dependent on the presence of a Met allele. Chapter 3 examined the relationship between physical activity, the above regions, and everyday memory function in healthy young adults. Results found no physical activity link with hippocampal or amygdala volume, or parahippocampal thickness. However, vigorous physical activity in study 2 was correlated with semantic memory and is discussed in the context of a multi-factor model of cognitive health. Part 2 focused on health psychology, aiming to identify factors that influence attitudes towards risk and safety in sports, with a view to ultimately guiding policy and interventions that could optimise cognitive development and minimise decline in laterlife. Chapter 4 acts as an introduction to literature on attitudes in sports related concussion, discussing theoretical models, and their role in three key areas; prevention, management, and symptomology. Chapter 5 utilised an online survey and a mixed-method approach to look at parental concussion attitudes and knowledge. Predictive factors are described in relation to parental knowledge and whether they would allow their children to engage in contact sports such as rugby and football. Further thematic analysis highlighted misperceptions of risk, genetic fatalism, and the importance of control. Sources of information and poor service awareness are discussed. The included work supports a multi-factor model of cognitive health over the lifecourse and suggests methods for effective knowledge transfer or intervention initiatives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 September 2018
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2018 14:55

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