News New grants awarded to School of Psychological Sciences & Health

The School of Psychological Sciences & Health have been awarded two new grants in the field of Physical Activity and Psychology. The list of grants and the work included can be found below.

Title: Movement behaviours (time spent in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep) in early childhood in Malawi. PI Professor John J Reilly, Co-I Dr Xanne Janssen, School of Psychological Sciences and Health.

Funded by: The Sir Halley Stewart Trust, £49,039 (2021-24).

The early years are critical for development (of body fatness, and social, emotional, and cognitive development), for establishing healthy lifestyle habits, and for the acquisition of vital skills (physical, motor). In 2019, WHO recommended that for optimal health and development 3-4 year olds should spend at least 3 hours per day in physical activity, have less than 1 hour per day screen time, and at least 10-13 hours per day asleep. Despite the importance of meeting these guidelines to child health and development, there is a lack of evidence on the extent to which children meet them globally. We have recently developed a protocol for measuring the behaviours, and have used this in pilot studies carried out in over 30 countries (including many low-middle-income countries). These pilot studies suggest that only a minority of 3-4 year olds meet the WHO Guidelines, even in low-middle-income countries. This grant, set in Malawi and a partnership with the Centre for Social Research at the University of Malawi, aims to:

  1. Assess the extent to which 3-4 year olds fail to meet the WHO 2019 Guidelines;
  2. Identify the main risk factors for not meeting the WHO 2019 Guidelines (e.g. urban vs rural setting, socio-economic status, gender, age);
  3. Test whether parent questionnaires provide accurate measures of adherence to the WHO Guidelines, or whether objective methods are required (activity monitors).
  4. Provide a solid foundation for future intervention research in Malawi which aims to improve the prevalence of meeting the WHO Guidelines.

Title: Seed Grant for Brain Health Leaders, BrainLat

Aim: To set up a new European-Latin American Consortium (Euro-LAD EEG) that will focus on EEG-based solutions to support the diagnosis of dementia.

Award: £21,668

Duration: 18 months

Forecasts on the epidemiology of dementia for Latin America countries (LAC) are more alarming than for developed countries, yet support to the former countries is scarce and impractical. Particularly relevant is the area of early diagnosis as biomarker solutions recommended by international consensus will not be available to LAC any time soon. This project aims to deliver affordable EEG-based solutions to support the diagnosis of dementia in LAC and beyond. The new "Euro-LAD EEG" consortium will develop "A Global EEG Platform for Dementia" that will provide: access to to resources for advance EEG data analysis and inter-lab/country harmonization, capability for data sharing, collaboration and networking; and training opportunities for capacity building.

Dr Mario Parra Rodriguez, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences & Health, who received the research grant has recently been elected as a Member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium. You can read more about his appointment here.