Lecture by Dr. Rosanne Freak-Poli: Active ageing: from ‘happiness and health’, to ‘sexual activity’ and ‘social isolation’
Dr. Rosanne Freak-Poli is a life-course epidemiologist dedicated to the field of active ageing. In 2013 Rosanne was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship to investigate the relationship between happiness and health. This award provided an international residency in The Netherlands to gain access to The Rotterdam Study, a longitudinal database following 15,000 older adults. Her research aimed to gain a better understanding of the interaction between psychological and physical health – an important aspect for government resource allocation. For example, depression after a cardiovascular disease event is commonly considered a risk-factor for increased mortality. However, Rosanne demonstrated that the cardiovascular disease event was inflating already high levels of depressive symptoms that were present prior. Recently Rosanne was awarded a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate social isolation as a risk-factor for cardiovascular disease in an Australian setting. Australia has a unique geographic population spread and it is unclear whether social isolation or geographic isolation is more important for cardiovascular prevention and management. Rosanne will use newly released data from the ASPirin Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study, a randomised control trial of aspirin which followed 16,703 Australians aged 70+ years for five years. As Rosanne nears completion of her fellowship in ‘happiness and health’, she will present her reflections on this topic which borderlines social, psychology and epidemiology research fields. Rosanne will also present her thoughts for her future direction in social isolation research.