Biography

Dr George Savva joined UEA in 2013, following nine years in ageing and public health research: as statistical lead for The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (based at Trinity College Dublin) and as a statistician to the UK National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (at Queen Mary University of London) and the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (University of Cambridge).

Dr Savva completed his first degree in mathematics at the University of Cambridge followed by a Master's degree in Applied Statistics at University College London and a PhD in bioinformatics at the University of East Anglia. Since then his research has focused on applications of statistics in public health, particularly in the fields of dementia, mental health and healthy ageing. Recent and ongoing work includes a study of the operationalization of the frailty syndrome and its links with dementia, explorations of the links between clinical and pathological aspects of brain ageing, and studies of multimorbidity, disability and quality of life in older people.

Highlighted Publications

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Kenny, R. A., Coen, R. F., Frewen, J., Donoghue, O. A., Cronin, H., Savva, G.

(2013)

Normative values of cognitive and physical function in older adults: findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Fox, C., Richardson, K., Maidment, I. D., Savva, G. M., Matthews, F. E., Smithard, D., Coulton, S., Katona, C., Boustani, M. A., Brayne, C., Aged, 80 and over

(2011)

Anticholinergic medication use and cognitive impairment in the older population: the medical research council cognitive function and ageing study

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Savva, G. M., Wharton, S. B., Ince, P. G., Forster, G., Matthews, F. E., Brayne, C., Aged, 80 and over, Plaque, Amyloid

(2009)

Age, neuropathology, and dementia

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


All Publications

See Highlights
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Finucane, C., O’Connell, M. D., Donoghue, O., Richardson, K., Savva, G. M., Kenny, R. A.

(2017)

Impaired Orthostatic Blood Pressure Recovery is associated with Unexplained and Injurious Falls

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Finucane, C., Savva, G. M., Kenny, R. A.

(2017)

Reliability of orthostatic beat-to-beat blood pressure tests: implications for population and clinical studies

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Vorontsova, M. S., Besnard, G., Forest, F., Malakasi, P., Moat, J., Clayton, W. D., Ficinski, P., Savva, G. M., Nanjarisoa, O. P., Razanatsoa, J., Randriatsara, F. O., Kimeu, J. M., Luke, W. R. Q., Kayombo, C., Linder, H. P.

(2016)

Madagascar's grasses and grasslands: anthropogenic or natural?

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mavaddat, N., Van Der Linde, R., Parker, R., Savva, G., Kinmonth, A. L., Brayne, C., Mant, J.

(2016)

Relationship of self-rated health to stroke incidence and mortality in older individuals with and without a history of stroke: A longitudinal study of the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing (CFAS) population

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Feeney, J., Savva, G., O'Regan, C., King-Kallimanis, B., Cronin, H., Kenny, R. A.

(2016)

Measurement error, reliability and minimum detectable change in MMSE, MoCA and Color Trails Test among community living middle aged and older adults

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Werner, P., Savva, G., Maidment (Aston Uni), I. D., Thyrian (Germany), J. R., Fox, G.

(2016)

Dementia: Introduction, Epidemiology and Economic Impact

Full Text UEA Repository

(Chapter)


Ekonomou, A., Savva, G., Brayne, C., Forster, G., Francis, P., Johnson, M., Perry, E., Attems, J., Somani, A., Minger, S., Ballard, C.

(2015)

Stage-Specific Changes in Neurogenic and Glial Markers in Alzheimer's Disease

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Robertson, D., Savva, G., King-Kallimanis, B., Kenny, R. A.

(2015)

Negative Perceptions of Aging and Decline in Walking Speed: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Savva, G., Arthur, A.

(2015)

Who has undiagnosed dementia? A cross-sectional analysis of participants of the Aging, Demographics and Memory Study

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


O'Connell, M. D. L., Savva, G. M., Fan, C. W., Kenny, R. A.

(2015)

Orthostatic hypotension, orthostatic intolerance and frailty: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging-TILDA

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Setti, A., Loughman, J., Savva, G. M., Kenny, R.

(2015)

Trail Making Test performance contributes to subjective judgment of visual efficiency in older adults

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


O'Halloran, A. M., Finucane, C., Savva, G., Robertson, I. H., Kenny, R. A.

(2014)

Sustained Attention and Frailty in the Older Adult Population

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Donoghue, O. A., Ryan, H., Duggan, E., Finucane, C., Savva, G. M., Cronin, H., Loughman, J., Kenny, R. A.

(2014)

Relationship between fear of falling and mobility varies with visual function among older adults

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Frewen, J., Finucane, C., Savva, G. M., Boyle, G., Kenny, R. A.

(2014)

Orthostatic Hypotension Is Associated With Lower Cognitive Performance in Adults Aged 50 Plus With Supine Hypertension

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Frewen, J., Savva, G., Boyle, G., Finucane, C., Kenny, R.

(2014)

Cognitive performance in orthostatic hypotension: Findings from a nationally representative sample

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Hanly, M., Savva, G., Clifford, I., Whelan, B.

(2014)

Variation in incentive effects across neighbourhoods: An example from the Irish Longitudinal Study of ageing

UEA Repository

(Article)


King-Kallimanis, B., Kenny, R., Savva, G.

(2014)

Factor structure for the frailty syndrome was consistent across Europe

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Donoghue, O., Savva, G., Cronin, H., Kenny, R., Horgan, N.

(2014)

Using Timed Up and Go and Usual Gait Speed to Predict Incident Disability in Daily Activities Among Community-Dwelling Adults Aged 65 and Older

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Finucane, C., O'Connell, M. D. L., Fan, C. W., Savva, G. M., Soraghan, C. J., Nolan, H., Cronin, H., Kenny, R. A., Aged, 80 and over, Hypotension, Orthostatic

(2014)

Age-related normative changes in phasic orthostatic blood pressure in a large population study: findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Killane, I., Donoghue, O. A., Savva, G. M., Cronin, H., Kenny, R. A., Reilly, R. B.

(2014)

Relative association of processing speed, short-term memory and sustained attention with task on gait speed: a study of community-dwelling people 50 years and older

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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Key Research Interests

 

Anticholinergics, Benzodiazepines, Cognition and Dementia.  We are currently exploring the effect of anticholinergic medications and benzodiazepines on dementia incidence, using data from cohort studies and primary care data.

How does frailty affect cognitive function? Using data from longitudinal studies of ageing across Europe we aim to improve the understanding of the frailty syndrome, in particular how best to measure frailty in older people and to understand the links between physiological frailty and cognitive impairment. Frailty is amenable to intervention and so may represent a novel opportunity to prevent cognitive decline among vulnerable older people.


How do multiple chronic diseases interact? Chronic diseases become increasingly prevalent as we age, and lead to disability, a loss of independence and an impaired quality of life. It is estimated that most people aged 65 and over suffer from at least two chronic conditions; we are using population representative surveys of older people to understand how these interact with respect to their effects on self-rated health, disability, quality of life.

How does social isolation and loneliness effect cognitive health among older men and women? It is well known that social isolation leads to negative health outcomes. Recent reports have suggested that loneliness and social isolation are risk factors for dementia. However, little is known about the mechanisms that might explain this link, and or whether increasing social capital at a personal or environmental level could lead to dementia prevention.

Measurement of cognitive and physical function of older peopleWe are establishing normative values and estimated of reliability of commonly applied geriatric tests, and working on innovative ways to disseminate these values into the research and clinical environments. Understanding the measurement properties of tests and the factors affecting test scores is essential for their successful application. Tests of cognitive and physical function, biometric measures, mood, sensory function and bone density are included in our analyses. Apps for mobile devices are under development so that individual results can be compared with normative values in a clinical setting while incorporating the test-retest reliability and inter-rater reliability of each.

Recent grants

 

  • Savva GM, Fox C, Arthur A, Ince P, Myint P, Maidment I, Matthews F, Steel N, Brayne C.  ABCD study: Anticholinergics, Benzodiazepines, Cognition and Dementia £318,228 - Alzheimer's Society 2014-2017 
  • Kenny RA, Maty S, Savva GM. Socioeconomic position, anxiety, depression and diabetes in the ageing population of Ireland €300,000 – Health Research Board (Ireland). 2012.
  • Kenny RA, Savva GM, Sofroniou N. Frailty and cognitive impairment in the older population €297,000 – Health Research Board (Ireland). 2011.
  • Savva GM, Sofroniou N, Richardson KJ, Kenny RA. Disability and multimorbidity in the older population of Ireland. €18,723 – Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). 2010.


As collaborator (with substantial contribution to development of proposal)

  • Kenny RA, Shelley E, Fahey T, Normand C, O’Neill C, Barrett A. Effecting change in cardiovascular health of older Irish adults: rapid implementation of cardiovascular health research findings into policy and practice in a recession. €589,327 Health Research Board (Ireland). 2012

 

 

Teaching Interests

My teaching focuses on quantitative research methods in particular statistics and statistical software, quantitative evidence synthesis (meta-analysis), observational study design and analysis, quantitative critical appraisal.

 

Administrative Posts

As Associate Director for Research I contribute to the strategic planning and co-ordination of research within the School of Health Sciences, and have responsibility for researcher career development.