A comprehensive neuropsychiatric study of elderly twins: The Older Australian Twins Study

Perminder S. Sachdev, Andrea Lammel, Julian N. Trollor, Teresa Lee, Margaret J. Wright, David Ames, Wei Wen, Nicholas G. Martin, Henry Brodaty, Peter R. Schofield, OATS research team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The Older Australian Twins Study (OATS) was recently initiated to investigate genetic and environmental factors and their associations and interactions in healthy brain ageing and ageing-related neurocognitive disorders. The study extends the classic MZ-DZ design to include one or two equivalently aged siblings for each twin pair and utilizes the rich resources of the Australian Twin Registry. The study has a number of distinguishing features including comprehensive psychiatric, neuropsychological, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuroimaging assessments, a longitudinal design and links with a brain donor program. The study measures many behavioral and environmental factors, but in particular lifetime physical and mental activity, physical and psychological trauma, loss of parent early in life, later losses and life events, early-life socioeconomic environment, alcohol and drug use, occupational exposure, and nutrition. It also includes comprehensive cardiovascular assessment, blood biochemistry, genetics and proteomics. The socio-demographic and health data on the first 172 pairs of twins participating in this study are presented. Prevalence of mild cognitive impairment is 12.8% and of dementia 1.5% in the sample. The target sample size is 1000, with at least 400 pairs of twins aged 65-90 years. The cohort will be assessed every two years, with in-depth assessments being repeated. OATS offers an excellent opportunity for collaboration with other similar studies as well as researchers who share the same interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-582
Number of pages10
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Brain
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Cognitive function
  • Mental disorder
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • MRI
  • Twins

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