The Drake IPV Study

Principle Investigators: Professor William Stewart, Professor Craig Ritchie, Dr Graciela Muniz-Terrera
Institutions: University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh
Status: Ongoing
Website: Coming soon

The Drake IPV Study will investigate any changes in neuroimaging and cognitive test data in individuals exposed to domestic abuse, as well as any changes that correlate with measures of TBI exposure, and compare these with population controls with no reported history of abuse. This will give us a greater understanding of IPV-related head injury, as well as head injury in the wider population, together with an understanding of how such head traumas can contribute to dementia risk.

IPV (intimate partner violence) is common, with global estimates suggesting approximately 30% of women over age 15 years will have been exposed to physical or sexual IPV. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to the lifelong consequences of IPV. Of note, a majority of individuals exposed to IPV report history of traumatic brain injury (TBI), often multiple, and there is growing awareness of the association between TBI and increased risk of neurodegenerative disease, with an estimated 3% of dementia in the population attributed to TBI. Structural brain imaging studies on limited participant numbers reveal brain changes in people who have experienced IPV, with suggestion these changes might correlate with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, to date, our knowledge of long-term brain health outcomes from IPV exposure is very limited, demonstrating the need for the Drake IPV Study.

In this study, the researchers will use datasets from the PREVENT Dementia Programme to investigate cognitive test data and multi-modal neuroimaging in ~160 individuals in mid-life who have been exposed to IPV, as well as population controls.

The Drake IPV Study aims to:

  1. Interrogate multi-modal neuroimaging studies to compare structural and functional brain imaging in individuals with history of IPV compared to matched controls with no reported history of IPV. Researchers will determine whether or not people with a history of IPV show brain changes consistent with early signs of neurodegenerative disease at a higher frequency than the general population.
  2. Compare cognitive test results in people with a history of IPV compared with matched controls who have no reported history of IPV
  3. Investigate the extent to which neuroimaging and cognitive findings in individuals with history of IPV are associated with measures of prior TBI exposure.

We believe this research will not only tell us more about health outcomes in people with a history of IPV (and ultimately how any risk factors might be mitigated against), but also about brain injury and neurodegenerative disease in the wider population.


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