Tanya Duckworth

Tanya Duckworth

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Psychology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology & Adelaide Medical School.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to  investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity training and the effects on cognitive outcomes (specifically, attention, executive function and memory), with the aim to develop and trial a clinical cognitive intervention program to help remediate the effects of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to  investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity training and the effects on cognitive outcomes (specifically, attention, executive function and memory), with the aim to develop and trial a clinical cognitive intervention program to help remediate the effects of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

Research interests: My primary research area is in the neural mechanisms of creativity and PTSD however, I also have a strong interest in endometriosis research, particularly in extra-pelvic endometriosis of the nerves and brain, overall disease aetiology and treatment efficacy. I am an "Endo Champion" (an endometriosis advocate) for Endometriosis Australia, and have volunteered as a consumer advisor and associate investigator on endometriosis NHMRC grant applications and projects to utilise both my experience as a researcher and a person living with endometriosis, and help improve the research questions being asked and the methodological quality of endometriosis research as it applies to real world contexts. I have recently been nominated as a Chief Investigator on an endometriosis research grant application.

I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology & Adelaide Medical School.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to  investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity training and the effects on cognitive outcomes (specifically, attention, executive function and memory), with the aim to develop and trial a clinical cognitive intervention program to help remediate the effects of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

Research interests: My primary research area is in the neural mechanisms of creativity and PTSD, and their relationships with neurodegenerative disease however, I also have a strong interest in endometriosis research, particularly in extra-pelvic endometriosis of the nerves and brain, overall disease aetiology and treatment efficacy.

I am an "Endo Champion" (an endometriosis advocate) for Endometriosis Australia, and have volunteered as a consumer advisor and associate investigator on endometriosis NHMRC grant applications and projects, to utilise both my experience as a researcher and a person living with endometriosis, and help improve the research questions being asked and the methodological quality of endometriosis research as it applies to real world contexts.

I am currently an Associate Investigator on the BEKind Study (Body Image and Psychological Wellbeing in Women with Endometriosis) and a Chief Investigator on the ENDOTEXT Study at Macquarie University, led by Professor Kerry Sherman.

2020 Endometriosis Australia Research Grant, ENDOTEXT - Chief Investigator

2012 NHMRC/ARC Strategic Award Grant, The Older Australian Twins Study - Named as Researcher 

2020 Casual Academic at the University of Adelaide

2019 Casual Academic at the University of Sydney

 


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