Dr Ben Isbel is the program coordinator for the Healthy Brain Ageing (HBA) Clinic at the Thompson Institute. The HBA Clinic investigates the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions including exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, and sleep to reduce modifiable risk factors for dementia. The clinic offers comprehensive neurological assessments for people with new onset cognitive difficulties, as well as targeted interventions aimed at improving cognition and memory.
Through the use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalographic (EEG) techniques combined with neuropsychological assessments, the HBA Clinic aims to identify key biomarkers of cognitive impairment and develop interventions capable of reducing the risk of progression toward dementia in those at risk of cognitive decline.
Ben completed a PhD examining the ability of mindfulness to enhance attention, mood, and cognition in normal ageing using EEG techniques to study brain changes following mindfulness training. Ben has over 20 years’ experience in the delivery and implementation of mindfulness and meditation techniques and has developed a cognitive model of mindfulness integrating both contemporary scientific and traditional Buddhist understandings attention training techniques.
Ben is also an expert contributor for the online Mental Health and Neuroscience graduate programs offered at USC. Prior to joining the Thompson Institute, Ben worked as a medical scientist in both research and diagnostic pathology laboratories, where his fields of expertise included haematology, biochemistry, immunology, and microbiology.
Potential research projects for HDR students
- Brain imaging of changes to functional MRI network activation patterns arising from mindfulness
- Neurophysiological (EEG) markers of neural synchronisation following mindfulness
- Development of simultaneous MRI/EEG data techniques
- Longitudinal comparison of the unique effects of mindfulness vs exercise on healthy brain ageing
- Imaging of glymphatic function in aging and neurodegenerative disease
- Investigation of cerebrovascular perfusion and glymphatic function following lifestyle interventions for healthy brain ageing
- Mapping functional MRI network changes in healthy ageing and neurodegenerative disease
Dr Ben Isbel’s specialist areas of knowledge include mindfulness, healthy ageing, neurodegenerative diseases, attention and cognition, and electroencephalographic (EEG) techniques. Dr Isbel’s research uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to assess the neurobiological effects of lifestyle changes on the brain in ageing. Dr Isbel is the Program Coordinator of the Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic located at the Thompson Institute, where research methods include neuropsychological assessment, MRI and EEG, computerised cognitive testing, sleep and physical activity tracking, biomarker testing, as well as a wide range of lifestyle and mood measures.