Prospective Imaging Study of Ageing


The Prospective Imaging Study of Ageing (PISA): Genes, Brain and Behaviour studies the interplay between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors for dementia, and also aims to identify risk factors that could be modified through intervention – such as lifestyle choices.

Outcomes of the study will inform and establish a platform for future intervention programs that target preventing and treating dementia.


Participation involves

Participating in a PISA study involves several different tests that will look at how brain, behaviour and biological factors change in respect to ageing and dementia. Participants attend on-site research visits where we carry out the following tests.

We ask participants to attend follow-up research visits (on-site) once every 2 years.



We use cognitive assessments to collect information about cognitive and behavioural functioning in day-to-day life.



Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans are standard procedures in clinical and research settings. We will use MRI and PET imaging to capture high-resolution images of the brain under different conditions.



We aim to explain biological factors that may be associated with age-related illnesses by collecting a small blood sample from participants.



We investigate how lifestyle factors may be associated with dementia. Participants wear a smart sensing device that records health-related data, like physical activity, sleep quality and heart rate.


Eligibility criteria

This study is recruiting research participants who have previously been enrolled in genetic epidemiology studies at QIMR Berghofer.

In addition we are recruiting members of the public who have a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment


Description of the Study

QIMR Berghofer is leading an internationally collaborative, long-term study to identify healthy middle-aged Australians at high genetic risk of dementia. PISA is a longitudinal study, initially taking place over 5 years.

The study is a unique international research resource, providing new links to studies into the causes of dementia, assisting clinical trials in dementia prevention, and bringing about new possibilities for translational research into this important public health issue.

PISA uses cutting edge imaging technologies to examine the neurobiological features associated with high risk for dementia, and identify the changes that lead to a patient’s transition from high risk to cognitive impairment.

The combined use of genetic risk scores and neurobiological markers creates a potential prognostic marker for dementia development.

PISA is a joint research program of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Queensland Health, CSIRO and The University of Western Australia.

QIMR-HREC approval reference: P2193

Recruitment status: OPEN

Open date:  2017

Close date:  2021


Coordinating Principal Investigator: Professor Nick Martin

Contact details:

T: 1800 257 179


A: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Locked Bag 2000, Royal Brisbane Hospital

Herston, QLD, 4029, AUSTRALIA