Swansea University psychology PhD student Amy Jenkins has been awarded funding totalling £103,343 for a two-year fellowship from BRACE.

This will enable Amy to work on a project titled “Characterising Subjective Cognitive Impairment”, a continuation of her PhD, working with Personal Chair of Dementia Research and Psychology at Swansea University, Professor Andrea Tales and Dr Jeremy Tree.

The objective of Amy’s project is to increase our understanding of changes in a wide range of brain processes that may help to explain why some older adults experience subjective, detrimental change in their memory and cognition (subjective cognitive impairment). Such information will, significantly improve our understanding of how this disorder can affect everyday life, especially how such impairment may affect our ability to interact with our surroundings. It will also help in the development of intervention strategies to prevent further decline and help us to understand the relationship between ageing, mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Speaking about the funding fellowship Amy said, “I am delighted that the award of funding for this very important and often distressing disease will allow me to continue my work in the Department of Psychology at Swansea University.

“The project will involve the use of a wide range of computer and iPad-based neuropsychological tests and questionnaires to measure the integrity of numerous brain processes, including visual-attention related functions, which tend to be less investigated than changes in memory but which are enormously important for our ability to interact socially and with our surroundings. The administration of these assessments will not only provide a novel window into our understanding of cognitive change in the key clinical populations, but in addition allow these changes to be tracked over time - providing important information about how challenges increase with disease progression”.

Speaking about the importance of Amy’s project BRACE Chief Executive Mark Poarch said, “I am delighted that we have been able to support Amy’s research in this way. It is BRACE’s second grant to Swansea University this year and part of our growing support for research in South Wales and South West England. 

"By funding research in this region, we are helping to develop a strong network of dementia research in our universities.”

Last year Amy was named as the regional final winner of the science communication competition FameLab 2016. FameLab aims to find and support the UK’s most talented new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) communicators.

In the competition Amy had to convey (in three minutes) a scientific concept of their choice and Amy spoke on the topic of “Subjective Cognitive Impairment.” The aim of Amy’s research is to improve the understanding of subjective ageing related changes in memory and cognition. Amy didn’t manage to win the UK wide competition but she did manage to raise the profile of this important condition to help to improve awareness and thus research into this condition.