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Dr Rachel Wong

NHMRC-ARC Dementia Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Career Summary

Biography

Rachel recently obtained her doctorate degree at the University of South Australia. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, The University of Newcastle. She is a member of International Society of Hypertension, High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the Nutrition Society of Australia. Her research focuses on the effects of bioactive nutrients in human circulatory function and cognitive performance. She was among the first to investigate the acute effects of trans-resveratrol supplementation in human vascular function. Since then Rachel has evaluated effects of chronic consumption of an oat extract on vasodilator function in systemic and cerebral arteries of older adults and its relationship with cognition. Her most recent work follows on from the acute resveratrol study to look at chronic resveratrol supplementation on vasodilator function and its impact on cognitive performance in obese adults. Rachel is currently investigating the relationships between ceberal blood flow haemodynamics and cognitive performance in adults with type 2 diabetes. 

Research Expertise
Dr Rachel Wong was already recognised as a high performing student during her undergraduate and subsequent Honours research on the clinical evaluation of cardiovascular benefits of a nutrient intervention and subsequently extending into clinical assessment of cognitive functions during her PhD training. Nutrients evaluated were trans-resveratrol and wild green oat extract. Rachel has expertise in vascular imaging of the systemic and cerebral arteries using ultrasound techniques (flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery and transCranial Doppler ultrasound) that enable quantification of the responsiveness of blood vessels to meet specific demands of the body. She also has extensive experience in clinical trials management including knowledge on subject recruitment and retention, ability to conduct clinical trials in accordance with principles of Good Clinical Practice and maintaining rigour in all aspects of research performance and analysis. She has recently completed a clinical evaluation of the olive leaf extract combination on 24-hr ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

Teaching Expertise
Undergraduate teaching: (1) Appointed as a tutor and practical demonstrator for Human Physiology and Human Nutrition courses offered to undergraduate students in the Division of Health Sciences. (2) Examined an honours thesis: ‘Effects of exercise on systemic and cerebral vascular function’. Training of research students in: (1) ultrasound imaging and analysis of flow-mediated dilatation in the brachial artery and cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypercapnic and cognitive stimuli using transCranial Doppler ultrasound. (2) administration of dementia status test and cognitive tests. (3) clinical trial management in accordance with the ICH-GCP Standard. Co-Supervision at University of Newcastle: (1) Neuropsychology Research Masters graduate (thesis: 'Cerebral blood flow and cognition in diabetes’). (2) PhD candidate in ‘Cerebral hemodynamics following visuo-vestibular-invoked nausea’. (3) Overseas exchange undergraduate students

Administrative Expertise
Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC, Association of Clinical Research Professionals) - conduct clinical trials under ICH-GCP guidelines.


Qualifications

  • PhD (Health Sciences), University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement), University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), University of South Australia

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Cognition
  • FMD
  • Human Nutrition
  • Human Physiology
  • Nutrients
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound

Languages

  • Mandarin (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
110201 Cardiology (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases) 30
111103 Nutritional Physiology 40
170299 Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified 30

Professional Experience

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2009 -  Membership - Nutritional Society of Australia Nutritional Society of Australia
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Nealon RS, Howe PR, Jansen L, Garg M, Wong RH, 'Impaired cerebrovascular responsiveness and cognitive performance in adults with type 2 diabetes.', J Diabetes Complications, (2016)
DOI 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2016.06.025
Co-authors Peter Howe
2016 Wong RHX, Nealon RS, Scholey A, Howe PRC, 'Low dose resveratrol improves cerebrovascular function in type 2 diabetes mellitus', Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 26 393-399 (2016)

© 2016 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine a... [more]

© 2016 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University.Background and aims: Progressive microvascular dysfunction in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) may impair the ability of cerebral vessels to supply blood to brain regions during local metabolic demand, thereby increasing risks of dementia. Having previously demonstrated that resveratrol can enhance vasodilator function in the systemic circulation, we hypothesised that resveratrol could similarly benefit the cerebral circulation. We aimed to determine the most efficacious dose of resveratrol to improve cerebral vasodilator responsiveness (CVR) in T2DM. Methods and results: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover intervention, 36 dementia-free, non-insulin dependent T2DM older adults (49-78 years old) consumed single doses of synthetic trans-resveratrol (0, 75, 150, and 300 mg) at weekly intervals. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to assess CVR to a hypercapnic stimulus, both before and 45 min after treatment. CVR, measured bilaterally in the middle cerebral arteries (MCA) and posterior cerebral arteries (PCA), was expressed as the percentage change in mean blood flow velocity from baseline to the peak velocity attained during hypercapnia. Resveratrol consumption increased CVR in the MCA; mean within-individual changes for each dose from placebo were 13.8 ± 3.5% for 75 mg (P = 0.001), 8.9 ± 3.5% for 150 mg (P = 0.016), and 13.7 ± 3.3% for 300 mg (P < 0.001); only the 75 mg dose was efficacious in the PCA (13.2 ± 4.5%, P = 0.016). Conclusions: Our results provide the first clinical evidence of an acute enhancement of vasodilator responsiveness in cerebral vessels following consumption of resveratrol in this population who are known to have endothelial dysfunction and sub-clinical cognitive impairment. Importantly, maximum improvement was observed with the lowest dose used. Clinical trial registration: ACTRN12614000891628 (. www.anzctr.org.au).

DOI 10.1016/j.numecd.2016.03.003
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Peter Howe
2016 Wong RHX, Raederstorff D, Howe PRC, 'Acute resveratrol consumption improves neurovascular coupling capacity in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus', Nutrients, 8 (2016) [C1]

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Background: Poor cerebral perfusion may contribute to cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We conduct... [more]

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Background: Poor cerebral perfusion may contribute to cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the hypothesis that resveratrol can enhance cerebral vasodilator function and thereby alleviate the cognitive deficits in T2DM.We have already reported that acute resveratrol consumption improved cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) to hypercapnia. We now report the effects of resveratrol on neurovascular coupling capacity (CVR to cognitive stimuli), cognitive performance and correlations with plasma resveratrol concentrations. Methods: Thirty-six T2DM adults aged 40¿80 years were randomized to consume single doses of resveratrol (0, 75, 150 and 300 mg) at weekly intervals. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to monitor changes in blood flow velocity (BFV) during a cognitive test battery. The battery consisted of dual-tasking (finger tapping with both Trail Making task and Serial Subtraction 3 task) and a computerized multi-tasking test that required attending to four tasks simultaneously. CVR to cognitive tasks was calculated as the per cent increase in BFV from pre-test basal to peak mean blood flow velocity and also as the area under the curve for BFV. Results: Compared to placebo, 75 mg resveratrol significantly improved neurovascular coupling capacity, which correlated with plasma total resveratrol levels. Enhanced performance on the multi-tasking test battery was also evident following 75 mg and 300 mg of resveratrol. Conclusion: a single 75 mg dose of resveratrol was able to improve neurovascular coupling and cognitive performance in T2DM. Evaluation of benefits of chronic resveratrol supplementation is now warranted.

DOI 10.3390/nu8070425
Co-authors Peter Howe
2016 Evans HM, Howe PRC, Wong RHX, 'Clinical evaluation of effects of chronic resveratrol supplementation on cerebrovascular function, cognition, mood, physical function and general well-being in postmenopausal women¿rationale and study design', Nutrients, 8 (2016)

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Background: This methodological paper presents both a scientific rationale and a methodological approach for investigatin... [more]

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Background: This methodological paper presents both a scientific rationale and a methodological approach for investigating the effects of resveratrol supplementation on mood and cognitive performance in postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia, which may be at least partly due to loss of beneficial effects of estrogen on the cerebrovasculature. We hypothesise that resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, may counteract this risk by enhancing cerebrovascular function and improving regional blood flow in response to cognitive demands. A clinical trial was designed to test this hypothesis. Method: Healthy postmenopausal women were recruited to participate in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled (parallel comparison) dietary intervention trial to evaluate the effects of resveratrol supplementation (75 mg twice daily) on cognition, cerebrovascular responsiveness to cognitive tasks and overall well-being. They performed the following tests at baseline and after 14 weeks of supplementation: Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Cambridge Semantic Memory Battery, the Double Span and the Trail Making Task. Cerebrovascular function was assessed simultaneously by monitoring blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral arteries using transcranial Doppler ultrasound. Conclusion: This trial provides a model approach to demonstrate that, by optimising circulatory function in the brain, resveratrol and other vasoactive nutrients may enhance mood and cognition and ameliorate the risk of developing dementia in postmenopausal women and other at-risk populations.

DOI 10.3390/nu8030150
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors Peter Howe
2014 Wong R, Garg M, Wood L, Howe P, 'Antihypertensive Potential of Combined Extracts of Olive Leaf, Green Coffee Bean and Beetroot: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial', Nutrients, 6 4881-4894 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/nu6114881
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Peter Howe, Manohar Garg, Lisa Wood
2014 Wong RHX, Scholey A, Howe PRC, 'Assessing Premorbid Cognitive Ability in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus-a Review With Implications for Future Intervention Studies', CURRENT DIABETES REPORTS, 14 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11892-014-0547-4
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Peter Howe
2013 Wong RHX, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Howe PR, 'Evidence for circulatory benefits of resveratrol in humans', Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1290 52-58 (2013) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Peter Howe
2013 Wong RHX, Berry NM, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Bryan J, Kunz I, Howe PRC, 'Chronic resveratrol consumption improves brachial flow-mediated dilatation in healthy obese adults', Journal of Hypertension, 31 1819-1827 (2013) [C1]

Background: We have previously demonstrated acute dose-dependent increases of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery after resveratrol consumption in mildly hyperte... [more]

Background: We have previously demonstrated acute dose-dependent increases of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery after resveratrol consumption in mildly hypertensive, overweight/obese adults. Resveratrol supplementation has also been shown to increase cerebral blood flow acutely, without affecting cognition. Objectives: To evaluate the effects of chronic resveratrol supplementation on both FMD and cognitive performance. Method: Twenty-eight obese but otherwise healthy adults (BMI: 33.3±0.6kg/m 2) were randomized to take a single 75 mg capsule of trans-resveratrol (Resvida) or placebo daily for 6 weeks each in a double-blind crossover supplementation trial. Blood pressure, arterial compliance, FMD, and performance on the Stroop Color-Word Test were assessed at the end of each 6-week intervention period while fasted and at least 18 h after taking the last daily capsule. An additional capsule of the same supplement was then taken. FMD assessment was repeated 1 h later. Results: Chronic resveratrol supplementation for 6 weeks was well tolerated and resulted in a 23% increase in FMD compared with placebo (P = 0.021, paired t-test). The extent of increase correlated negatively with baseline FMD (r= -0.47, P=0.01). A single dose of resveratrol (75 mg) following chronic resveratrol supplementation resulted in a 35% greater acute FMD response than the equivalent placebo supplementation. These FMD improvements remained significant after adjusting for baseline FMD. Blood pressure, arterial compliance, and all components of the Stroop Color-Word Test were unaffected by chronic resveratrol supplementation. Conclusion: Daily resveratrol consumption was well tolerated and has the potential to maintain healthy circulatory function in obese adults. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

DOI 10.1097/HJH.0b013e328362b9d6
Citations Scopus - 27Web of Science - 24
Co-authors Peter Howe
2013 Wong RHX, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Berry NM, 'Chronic consumption of a wild green oat extract (Neuravena) improves brachial flow-mediated dilatation and cerebrovascular responsiveness in older adults', Journal of Hypertension, 31 192-200 (2013) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Peter Howe
2012 Wong RHX, Howe PRC, Bryan J, Coates A, Buckley J, Berry N, 'Chronic effects of a wild green oat extract supplementation on cognitive performance in older adults: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial', Nutrients, 4 331-342 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Peter Howe
2011 Wong RHX, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Kunz I, Berry NM, 'Acute resveratrol supplementation improves flow-mediated dilatation in overweight/obese individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure', Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 21 851-856 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.03.003
Citations Scopus - 117Web of Science - 101
Co-authors Peter Howe
Show 8 more journal articles

Conference (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Wong RHX, Jnasen L, Nealon R, Garg ML, Howe PRC, 'A PILOT INVESTIGATION OF CEREBROVASCULAR RESPONSIVENESS TO A NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL TEST BATTERY IN ADULTS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS', HYPERTENSION (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Manohar Garg, Peter Howe
2015 Wong RHX, Nealon R, Scholey A, Howe PRC, 'Dose response effect of resveratrol on cerebrovascular function in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus', Proceedings of the 2015 Resveratrol Regional Meeting Dijon France (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Peter Howe
2015 Wong RHX, Nealon R, Scholey A, Howe PRC, 'Resveratrol consumption improves cerebrovascular function in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)', Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Peter Howe
2015 Nealon R, Howe PRC, Jansen L, Garg ML, Wong RHX, 'Impaired cerebrovascular responsiveness to a working memory task in older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)', Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Manohar Garg, Peter Howe
2015 evans H, wong R, Howe PRC, 'Is cognitive impairment in post-menopausal women attributable to poor cerebral perfusion? Baseline results of the ResFem Study', Book of Abstracts (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Peter Howe
2015 Wong RHX, Nealon R, Jansen L, Garg M, Howe PRC, 'Cerebrovascular responsiveness to cognitive stimuli in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus', Combined Abstracts of the 2015 Australian Psychology Conferences (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Peter Howe, Manohar Garg
Show 3 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 11
Total funding $1,295,334

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20164 grants / $949,974

Vasoactive nutrients to promote healthy ageing in postmenopausal women$598,030

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1500299
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Cardiometabolic and cognitive benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and curcumin supplementation in type 2 diabetes (T2DM)$240,000

Funding body: Blackmores Limited

Funding body Blackmores Limited
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1501152
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

Resveratrol to promote healthy ageing in postmenopausal women$96,000

Funding body: Evolva SA

Funding body Evolva SA
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1600602
Type Of Funding International - Non Competitive
Category 3IFB
UON Y

Assisting post-menopausal women towards healthy ageing – can resveratrol enhance mood, physical function and cerebrovascular function and counteract cognitive decline?$15,944

Funding body: DSM Nutritional Products AG

Funding body DSM Nutritional Products AG
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600385
Type Of Funding International - Non Competitive
Category 3IFB
UON Y

20152 grants / $36,500

Effects of long-chain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCn-3PUFA) supplementation on cerebral circulation and cognitive function$35,000

Funding body: Westfund Health

Funding body Westfund Health
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1500894
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

World Diabetes Congress 2015, Vancouver Canada, 30 November - 4 December 2015$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500986
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20144 grants / $143,860

Pork consumption and serum irisin levels in type 2 diabetes$50,300

Funding body: CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork

Funding body CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork
Project Team Professor Manohar Garg, Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
Scheme Innovative Research
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1400612
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Dose response evaluation of resveratrol supplementation on cerebrovascular function, mood and cognitive performance in type 2 diabetes mellitus$45,000

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Andrew Scholey
Scheme Dementia Collaborative Research Centres (DCRC)
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400899
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Assisting post-menopausal women towards healthy ageing - can resveratrol enhance mood and counteract cognitive decline?$25,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Andrew Scholey
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1401413
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

Dose response evaluation of resveratrol supplementation on cerebrovascular function, mood and cognitive performance in type 2 diabetes mellitus$23,560

Funding body: DSM Nutritional Products AG

Funding body DSM Nutritional Products AG
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Manohar Garg, Professor Andrew Scholey
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400950
Type Of Funding International - Non Competitive
Category 3IFB
UON Y

20131 grants / $165,000

Clinical evaluation of a novel olive leaf formulation for heart health$165,000

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding body Newcastle Innovation
Project Team Professor Peter Howe, Professor Manohar Garg, Doctor Rachel Wong, Associate Professor Lisa Wood
Scheme Administered Research
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1401244
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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News

Fish oil study for blood pressure and brain performance

Fish oil study for blood pressure and brain performance

March 15, 2016

Adults with slightly elevated blood pressure are wanted for a University of Newcastle (UON) clinical trial evaluating the benefits of taking a fish oil supplement for brain health.

Menopause

Study aims to ease menopausal symptoms

April 27, 2015

Can the health supplement resveratrol curb the notorious hot flushes, insomnia, irritability and occasional mental lapses that often accompany menopause?

Volunteers required to test mental function in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes study testing nutritional approach to delay cognitive decline

January 8, 2015

Researchers in the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre at the University of Newcastle are seeking people with type 2 diabetes to take a new nutritional supplement designed to stimulate blood flow in the brain and reduce the threat of mental impairment.

Effects of Omega-3 on brain health

Effects of Omega-3 supplements on brain health

August 24, 2014

40-85 year old volunteers with slightly elevated blood pressure are needed.

Dr Rachel Wong

Position

NHMRC-ARC Dementia Fellow
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email rachel.wong@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6408

Office

Building Medical Sciences
Location Level 5 Room 514

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