Associate Professor

Suzanne Tyas.BSc (Guelph), MSc PhD (University of Western Ontario)

Contact information

Research interests

My background is a little different from other faculty in Psychology as I am an epidemiologist and hold joint appointments in the Dept. of Psychology and the Dept. of Health Studies and Gerontology. My degrees are in Human Biology (BSc), Pathology (MSc) and Epidemiology and Biostatistics (PhD). My research areas reflect this background and focus on predictors of late-life cognition from an epidemiologic perspective. My long-term goal is to identify strategies that preserve intact cognition and thus increase the likelihood of healthy aging for all. To meet this goal, I investigate predictors of late-life cognition, from intact cognition to cognitive impairment. Identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and protective factors for healthy aging provides clues as to how intact cognition is preserved or lost; investigating factors that precipitate transitions in cognitive status provides further evidence. My primary interest is in vascular risk factors as they play a pivotal and potentially modifiable role in cognitive impairment. I am also interested in how early and late-life factors interact and the subsequent impact of this interaction on cognitive function.

Funding sources:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

  • Change Foundation

  • National Institutes of Health, U.S.

  • U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration

  • Alzheimer’s Association, U.S

Selected publications

  • Yu L, Griffith WS, Tyas SL, Snowdon DA, Kryscio RJ. A nonstationary Markov transition model for computing the relative risk of dementia before death. Statistics in Medicine 2010;29:639-648.
  • Murray RP, Tyas SL, Snow W, Ekuma O, Bond R, Barnes GE. Exploring the boundary between health protective and hazardous drinking in a community cohort. Addictive Behaviors 2010;35:278-281.
  • Yu L, Tyas SL, Snowdon DA, Kryscio RJ. Effects of ignoring baseline on modeling transitions from intact cognition to dementia. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis 2009;53:3334–3343.
  • Snow WM, Murray RP, Ekuma O, Tyas SL, Barnes GE. Alcohol use and cardiovascular health outcomes: A comparison across age and gender in the Winnipeg Health and Drinking Survey Cohort. Age and Ageing 2009;38:206–212.
  • St. John PD, Montgomery PR, Tyas SL. Alcohol misuse, gender and depressive symptoms in community-dwelling seniors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2009;24:369–375.
  • Tyas SL, Salazar JC, Snowdon DA, Desrosiers MF, Riley KP, Mendiondo MS, Kryscio RJ. Transitions to mild cognitive impairment, dementia and death: Findings from the Nun Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2007;165:1231–1238.
  • Tyas SL, Snowdon DA, Desrosiers MF, Riley KP, Markesbery WR. Healthy ageing in the Nun Study: Definition and neuropathologic correlates. Age and Ageing 2007;36:650–655.
  • Tyas SL, Tate RB, Wooldrage K, Manfreda J, Strain LA. Estimating the incidence of dementia: The impact of adjusting for subject attrition using health care utilization data. Annals of Epidemiology. 2006; 16:477-484.
  • Gatz JL, Tyas SL, St. John PD, Montgomery PR. Do depressive symptoms predict Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 2005; 60A:744-747.
  • Sabbagh MN, Tyas SL, Emery SC, Hansen LA, Alford MF, Reid RT, Tiraboschi P, Thal LJ. Smoking affects the phenotype of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology 2005;64:1301-1303.
  • Tyas SL, White LR, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, Foley DJ, Heimovitz HK, Launer LJ. Mid-life smoking and late-life dementia: The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Neurobiology of Aging 2003;24:589-596.
  • Tyas SL. Alcohol use and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Alcohol Research & Health. 2001;25:299–306.
  • Tyas SL, Manfreda J, Strain LA, Montgomery PR. Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: A population-based, longitudinal study in Manitoba, Canada. International Journal of Epidemiology 2001;30:590–597. 
  • Tyas SL. (Contributing author). Alzheimer’s disease. In Women and smoking: a report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, 2001. 
  • Tyas SL, Pederson LL, Koval JJ. Is smoking associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease? Results from three Canadian data sets. Annals of Epidemiology 2000;10:409–416.
  • Tyas SL, Koval JJ, Pederson LL. Does an interaction between smoking and drinking influence the risk of Alzheimer’s disease? Results from three Canadian data sets. Statistics in Medicine 2000;19:1685–1696.
University of Waterloo

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