Interview with Sana Suri

Post-doc researcher, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. Sana has given a public lecture at Litteraturhuset in Oslo, 6th June, 2018, this interview was taken just the day before.

Why did you want to participate in the Lifebrain project?

"I am excited to be part of a large, multi-centre project that brings together expertise from different countries. Lifebrain represents how collaboration and diversity are central to advancing scientific research. Combining studies from different universities allows us to study the brain in greater detail than before, and also enables us to tackle some of the hurdles that researchers face today, like the challenges of reproducibility, harmonization of data across centres, and sharing of data for more efficient use of resources".

What are you currently working on?

"I have been interested in how lifestyle affects brain health for a long time. I am particularly interested in how cardiovascular health in mid-life is associated with Alzheimer's and dementia later in life. We’re now seeing that nearly a third of dementia cases may be prevented by changing our lifestyle, and I’m currently focusing on understanding exactly when and how we can modify our cardiovascular health to delay or prevent dementia".

What do you expect to achieve through Lifebrain?

"Biomedical research so far has largely focused on extending our lifespan and increasing the quantity of life, without an equal appreciation of how we can maintain quality of life. One of the biggest challenges of our time will be to understand the mechanisms of brain maintenance or resilience in older ages; what factors allow some people to lead relatively long and healthy lives, while others are vulnerable to cognitive decline? Lifebrain’s comprehensive dataset will allow us to combine genetic, lifestyle, and environmental data with measures of brain health so we can answer some of these questions".

Will the results from Lifebrain have any practical significance for the average person?

"Public engagement is a critical part of Lifebrain’s objectives. We are already actively and regularly engaging with a network of stakeholders, including patient groups, policy makers, clinicians and members of the public. For example, I recently presented a Public Lecture in Oslo about physical activity and brain ageing, and we held a Stakeholder Engagement Workshop together with the Norwegian Brain Council last month. Sessions like these are important not just for us to share our research findings, but to receive suggestions that will shape our research going forward".

 

The interview was taken by Unni Harsten Hagelund, Norwegian Institute for Public Health, 5th June, 2018, in Oslo.

Published July 12, 2018 2:20 PM - Last modified July 23, 2018 3:49 PM