Prof. Sachdev is Scientia Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) and Clinical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Australia. He is an Inaugural Chair of the RANZCP Neuropsychiatry Section, Convenor of the NSW Neuropsychiatry Interest Group, Medical Adviser and Founding Executive Member of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia, and Chief Medical Adviser to Alzheimer’s Australia.
Prof Sachdev graduated from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (1978) and completed his MD in Psychiatry (1983) before migrating to New Zealand. He moved to Australia where he completed his psychiatric training and PhD (1991). His PhD was on ethnopsychological concepts in Maori culture. His early work on the high prevalence of tardive dyskinesia in institutionalised developmentally disabled individuals influenced the practice of using antipsychotics in such institutions in Australia.
With Prof. Brodaty, he founded CHeBA, which promotes brain health and the prevention of dementia. He leads three longitudinal cognitive ageing studies: Sydney Memory and Ageing Study, Older Australian Twins Study and Sydney Centenarian Study; and three international networks: COSMIC, STROKOG and ICC-Dementia. He has published five books, edited three books, and written 56 book chapters and over 600 peer-reviewed papers. His H-index is 82, with more than 23,000 total Google Scholar citations. His most recent books are The Yipping Tiger and Other Tales from the Neuropsychiatric Clinic and Secondary Schizophrenia.
Prof Sachdev was NSW Scientist of the Year for Biomedical Sciences (2010) and appointed Member of the Order of Australia (2011) for service to medical research in the field of neuropsychiatry as a clinician and academic and to professional associations at a national and international level. He received the Australian Society for Psychiatric Research Founder’s Medal (2011) and was an International Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (2012). He received the UNSW Medicine Dean’s award (2014) for outstanding contributions to research and teaching and became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2015).
As first chief investigator, Prof Sachdev currently holds Program, Project and Capacity Building Grants from NHMRC Australia and an ARC Discovery Grant, in addition to many other grants.
Areas of Expertise (7)
Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy)
Geriatrics and Gerontology
Health Related to Ageing
Neurodegenerative Disorders Related to Ageing
First Professor of Neuropsychiatry at any Australian University; First Chair, Neuropsychiatry Section, RANZCP (2006-2010). (professional)
He chaired the group that proposed a new set of diagnostic criteria for vascular dementia in 2014. His work on white matter change in ageing, VCI and Alzheimer’s disease has major implications for preventative and treatment strategies. He showed that high homocysteine was a risk factor for brain atrophy in otherwise healthy individuals. He has demonstrated a role of small vessel disease in several neuropsychiatric syndromes.
University of New South Wales Australia: PhD, Transcultural Psychiatry 1991
All India Institute of Medical Sciences: MB, BS, MD, Psychiatry 1982
- Clinical Director - Neuropsychiatric Institute, the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney
- Black Dog Institute Fellow
- Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
- Member - Scientific Program Committee (SPC) for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC)
- Chief Medical Advisor - Dementia Australia
- Founder and Chief Medical Advisor of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia (TSSA)
Media Appearances (4)
UNSW brain researchers granted $3.2 million to identify risk factors for dementia
UNSW Newsroom online
Co-Director of CHeBA Professor Perminder Sachdev has been awarded $US2.57 million ($A3.2 million) from the National Institutes of Health, USA, to identify risk and protective factors and biomarkers of cognitive ageing and dementia.
The grant will allow CHeBA to broaden its international research collaboration within COSMIC (Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium), specifically to determine what factors are common for cognitive decline and dementia in all human populations irrespective of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic development.
Centenarians tell their secrets to a long life
Australia is experiencing a population boom - of centenarians, or people over the age of 100.
Researchers say it's the fastest growing age group in the world.
Karen Michelmore explores some of the secrets to a long life.
Neave Young, retired opal miner
Professor Perminder Sachdev, Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales
Hazel Fox, retired nanny
Twin study helps unravel the genetic blueprint of the human brain
Science Daily online
"The presence of these three genetically correlated clusters is the most significant result, and is where the novelty of the work lies," says Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev, a neuropsychiatrist and co-director of CHeBA at UNSW...
This is what happens when one twin exercises and the other doesn't
The Sydney Morning Herald online
"The brain can be modified in both structure and function through environmental intervention," said lead author Perminder Sachdev from the University of NSW Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing.
Previous research has explored how environmental components such as exercise habits, smoking or diet affect the ageing process and health of twins.
No research has previously looked at young sets of twins and how differing workout routines change their health.
Event Appearances (5)
Invited Session Chair at the 2018
Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) Chicago, USA
Invited Symposium Chair for the Session
COSMIC: An international consortium of longitudinal studies of cognitive decline and dementia. 16th Congress of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology Melbourne, Australia
Maintain Your Brain: A Randomised Controlled Trial of an Internet-Based Multi-Component Lifestyle Intervention to Prevent Cognitive Decline and Dementia. AAIC London, U.K.
Can science help psychiatry? 6th World Congress of Asian Psychiatry (6th WCAP 2017) Abu Dhabi, UAE
Dementia in the oldest old. Keio Longevity Initiative Seminar Series: Successful Brain Aging Symposium Keio University, Japan
Research Focus (2)
Development of Neuropsychiatry
Prof Sachdev has played a major role in the development of Neuropsychiatry as a discipline internationally. His main contributions have been in the fields of drug-induced movement disorders, psychiatric neuroimaging and neurocognitive disorders, For the last 20 years, he has led a program of research in neurocognitive disorders. He currently leads three longitudinal studies of cognitive ageing: the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), the Older Australian Twins Study (OATS) and the Sydney Centenarian Study (SCS).
Three CHeBA International Harmonisation Networks
He currently leads three CHeBA international data harmonisation networks:
1. COSMIC, a consortium of longitudinal studies of cognitive ageing around the world (n=31, participants >90,000), STROKOG, a consortium of studies of post-stroke cognitive disorders (n=26, participants >14,000), and ICC-Dementia (n=17, participants >5000).
2. CHeBA’s involvement in the following international consortia: ENIGMA, CHARGE, IGEMS, BRIDGET, EADB, and EURODISCOTWINS.
3. The Renji UNSW-CHeBA Neurocognitive Centre (RUCNC) as a collaboration with Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.
Research Grants (10)
Risk factors, early diagnosis, and effective interventions for neurocognitive disorders
NHMRC Program Grant APP1093083
Sachdev P, Brodaty H, Andrews G
Maintain your brain
NHMRC DRTG APP1095097
Brodaty H, Valenzuela M, Sachdev P, et al.
An international consortium to identify risk and protective factors and biomarkers of cognitive ageing and dementia in diverse ethno-racial groups and geographical settings
Sachdev P, Ganguli M, Richie K, Kim KW, Lipton R, Petersen R.
A European DNA bank for deciphering the missing heritability of Alzheimer’s disease (EADB)
NNIDR-EU JPND Grant
Sachdev P, Mather K, Thalamuthu A, Armstrong N, Brodaty H.
BRIDGET: Brian Imaging, cognition, Dementia and next generation GEnomics: a Transdiscipinary approach to search for risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative disease
NNIDR-EU JPND Grant
Sachdev P, Mather K, Thalamuthu A, Wen W, Armstrong N.
Cross-comparison, validation and performance of computerised neuropsychological assessment devices in the evaluation of mild cognitive impairment and dementia
NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Grant
Kochan N, Sachdev P, Henry J, Bunce D, Crawford J.
Social cognitive change in late adulthood
ARC Discovery project DP170101239
Henry J, Sachdev P, Mather K.
Ageing and Cognition Clinics: A state-wide harmonised approach
UNSW Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addictions, and SPHERE Mindgardens CAG
Sachdev P, Brodaty H, Naismith S, Gonski P, Lasschuit D, Mobbs R.
UNSW-SJTU Collaboration Research Fund
SJTU-UNSW Collaboration on Research in Cognitive Ageing & Dementia Seed Grant
Sachdev P, et al.
CRE in Cognitive Health
Anstey K, Lautenschlager N, Sachdev P, et al.
Featured Articles (10)
Cortical thinning is a part of normal ageing. Recent studies suggest that accelerated cortical thinning in vulnerable regions may be a useful biomarker for neuropathologies including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Longitudinal studies, which have largely focused on older adults, have provided estimates of normative rates and patterns of age-related cortical thinning. Very little, however, is known about healthy cortical thinning at midlife. Here we provide longitudinal estimates of age-related cortical thinning observed over 8 years, in a large (n = 404) group of healthy individuals aged 44–49 years at baseline, who were scanned with MRI (1.5T) on up to three occasions. Age-related cortical thinning was assessed across the whole cortex. We measured a mean annual decrease in cortical thickness of 0.26 % on the left and 0.17 % on the right hemisphere, and largely affecting frontal and cingulate cortices. Medial and lateral temporal regions were generally spared. Studying regions that are specifically vulnerable to—or spared from—healthy age-related cortical thinning at midlife may be important for the early identification of neurodegeneration, including AD.
The distinction between dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) relies upon the evaluation of independence in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Self- and informant reports are prone to bias. Clinician-based performance tests are limited by long administration times, restricted access, or inadequate validation. To close this gap, we developed and validated a performance-based measure of IADL, the Sydney Test of Activities of Daily Living in Memory Disorders (STAM).
Neuroimaging studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have revealed deviations of the corpus callosum in children and adolescents. However, little is known about the link between callosal morphology and symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity in adulthood, especially later in life. Here, we investigated in a large population-based sample of 280 adults (150 males, 130 females) in their late sixties and early seventies whether ADHD symptoms correlate with callosal thickness. In addition, we tested for significant sex interactions, which were followed by correlation analyses stratified by sex. Within males, there were significant negative correlations with respect to inattention and hyperactivity in various callosal regions, including the anterior third, anterior and posterior midbody, isthmus, and splenium. A thinner corpus callosum may be associated with fewer fibers or less myelination of fibers. Thus, the observed negative correlations suggest impaired inter-hemispheric communication channels necessary to sustain motor control and attention, which may contribute to symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and/or inattention. Interestingly, within females, callosal thickness was positively related to hyperactivity in a small area within the rostral body, suggesting a sexually dimorphic neurobiology of ADHD symptoms. Altogether, the present results may reflect a lasting relationship between callosal morphology and ADHD symptoms throughout life.
The brain is key to our existence, but there’s a long way to go before neuroscience can truly capture its staggering capacity. For now though, our Brain Control series explores what we do know about the brain’s command of six central functions: language, mood, memory, vision, motor skills and personality – and what happens when things go wrong.
Perminder Sachdev, MD, PhD
It’s rare to hear good news about dementia, so two recent reports showing it may be becoming less common created a fair amount of excitement.
Not a week goes by without some new promised therapy for dementia having failed in a clinical trial. The joke in dementia circles is that “the cure for dementia is only five years away, but will always remain five years away”.
Fasting has a long tradition in most cultures and religions. Lord Buddha exhorted his followers to not eat the evening meal, attributing his good health and “of being without illness and of buoyancy and strength” to this practice. Fasting was ritualised in many aspects of Christianity and Judaism, and became the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. Religious fasting was intertwined with ritual and spiritual discipline, and became a form of penitence and identification with the poor and unfortunate.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is due to hit psychiatrists’ and psychologists’ shelves next month. Produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the DSM provides a standardised system of diagnosing mental disorders.
From its first edition in 1952, and with each new edition about every 15 to 20 years, the DSM has always had its critics. But as the arrival of DSM-5 approaches, their clamour is becoming louder.
As a member of the DSM-5’s Neurocognitive Disorders Work Group, I’m familiar with some of the procedures involved in bringing the manual into shape. So let’s look at four key criticisms about the DSM-5 – and whether they’re warranted.
As a clinician, I regularly advise my patients with memory problems to keep mentally and socially active; “keep stimulating your brain” is the message. There could be a new twist to the notion of brain stimulation if some of the current research proves to be beneficial. The National Institute of Health in the United States recently funded a study of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
DBS is not a new technique, and it is regularly used to treat Parkinson’s disease and some other movement disorders. It involves the placement of fine wire electrodes deep in the brain through which low voltage current is passed continuously from a battery pack embedded in the chest wall. DBS has been called the ‘pacemaker’ of the brain.
I invite you to imagine a world without 'dementia'. It is not that I have found a cure for all so-called dementias, or discovered a strategy to prevent them in the future. I am referring to the term 'dementia' from Latin demens, (meaning without mind) which has done much disservice to patients and physicians for far too long . Should it not follow 'neurosis' into classificatory oblivion?