Louisa Giblin

Heart and Brain: Heart rate variability links to cognition?

Lousia Giblin headshot
2014 AADRF Top-Up Scholarship
Project Snapshot

The autonomic nervous system consists of two subsystems: flight and fight activity (sympathetic drive) and rest and digest activity (parasympathetic drive). Heart rate variability (HRV) is a non-invasive analysis of the interplay between these autonomic branches. Our research investigates the relationship between the autonomic nervous system measured by HRV and cognitive function. Specifically this project explores the potential use of HRV as an early biomarker for determining who is at risk for mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is an earlier stage that precedes dementia. Thus, early identification of mild cognitive impairment would facilitate the application of timely and preventative intervention measures to delay or prevent cognitive decline and ultimately dementia. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, is a progressive disease with no known cure, thus a focus on early detection and prevention is crucial.

Publications and Presentations resulting from award

Conference presentations

GIBLIN, L. B., DE LEON, L., SMITH, L., SZTYNDA, T. & LAL, S. 2013. Heart Rate Variability, Blood Pressure and Cognitive Function: Assessing Age Effects. Conference proceedings: International Conference on Broadband and Biomedical Communications. 5-6th November 2012. Sydney, Australia. Journal of Green Engineering, 3, 347-361. http://www.riverpublishers.com/journal.php?j=JGE/3/3#1

GIBLIN, L. B., DE LEON, L., SMITH, L., ZASLAWSKI, C., CLIFTON-BLIGH, R., & LAL, S. Autonomic Cardiac Activity Links to Cognitive Function. Poster presentation: 11th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. 6-10th March 2013. Florence, Italy.

GIBLIN, L. B., DE LEON, L., SMITH, L., ZASLAWSKI, C., CLIFTON-BLIGH, R., & LAL, S. Heart Rate Variability and Cognitive Performance. Oral presentation: The XX World Congress on Parkinson’s and Related Disorders. 8-11th December 2013. Geneva, Switzerland.

Where are they now?

This research is conducted within the Neuroscience Research Unit, School of Medical and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, at the University of Technology, Sydney under the principal supervision of A/Prof Sara Lal and co-supervision of A/Prof Christopher Zaslawski and A/Prof Roderick Clifton-Bligh.