Susan Shenkin

Susan Shenkin




Dr Susan D. Shenkin






Senior Clinical Lecturer

Honorary Consultant


MBChB, BSc (Hons), MSc, MD, MRCP(UK)



0131 242 6481


0131 242 6370



I graduated from Edinburgh University (MBChB) in 1994, having done an intercalated BSc (Hons) in Psychology. After a general medical rotation in Oxford, and a neurology SHO job in London, I returned to Edinburgh having decided on a career in Geriatric Medicine. I became an SpR in South East Scotland in 1999, and under the mentorship of Prof John Starr (geriatric medicine) and Prof Ian Deary (psychology) was awarded an MRC Training Fellowship investigating lifecourse influences on coCognitive ability and cerebrovascular disease in older age. During this fellowship I studied for an MSc in Epidemiology, graduating in 2002. and was awarded my MD in 2006.

I completed my training in General and Geriatric Medicine as a clinical lecturer (and honorary SpR) in August 2010. Much of my training has been undertaken flexibly (less than full time). I took up my present post as Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in November 2011.


Professional Membership


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Age and Ageing Specialty Group


The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE)


Endocrinology Unit, University of Edinburgh/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queens Medical Research Institute


International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease


Society for Social Medicine


British Geriatrics Society


Royal College of Physician, Edinburgh


Broad Areas of interest:







Lifecourse influences on vascular cognitive impairment

Brain imaging: particularly effect of cerebrovascular disease (eg white matter connectivity) and relationships with cognitive function. Also, the definition of normality in neuroimaging in older people, and the reporting of clinical images.


Factors predicting outcomes in older patients admitted to hospital, particularly in those with pre-existing and new cognitive impairment (demetia and delirium).


I am also keen to encourage involvement in research, including for those who wish to consider working less-than-full-time.




Rehabilitation in geriatric medicine

Day hospital


Assessment and management of cognitive impairment (delirium and dementia)





Undergraduates and postgraduates in geriatric medicine (often on cognitive assessment, or critical appraisal of journal articles). Included Edinburgh International Old Age Medicine Course at Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.


Systematic reviews (developed course for Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and open access online resource

Developed an e-library of cases in Geriatric Medicine, aimed primarily at Undergraduate students and available through Edinburgh Electronic Medical Curriculum.

Contribute lectures to Neuroimaging for Research MSc and Certificate in Cognitive Ageing Research Methods for Medical Scientists.


Question writing for ‘Safety in Practice’ for finals, participated in examining the final exams.


Module leader for Geriatric Medicine for year 5 medical students in 2008, involved in revising the year 5 Geriatric Medicine teaching.


Methodological skills

Epidemiological methodology, working knowledge of statistics including multivariate regression.

Systematic reviews, particularly using cohort and case-control studies, but also Cochrane reviews (randomised control trial methodology).


Cognitive assessment of older adults, including psychometric testing.


Structural neuroimaging


Hobbies & interests

I am a keen Scottish (Highland) dancer, and will ceilidh at any opportunity. I enjoy playing violin in a local orchestra and skiing and cycling with my family.


Ongoing research projects

Life course influences on cognitive ability and cerebrovascular disease:

Collecting birth parameters from births in 1936 in Lothian and Aberdeen, to assess influence of early life on cognitive ability, and neuroimaging parameters (using the Lothian and Aberdeen Birth Cohorts 1936 These data can be compared with that collected for 1921 to investigate changes and similarities with time.


Epigenetic influences on vascular cognitive impairment:

Starting with a systematic literature review, plan to investigate mechanisms underlying programming of vascular cognitive impairment, particularly epigenetic changes in genes related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.


Cortisol dysregulation and CT scan measures of brain atrophy and white matter lesions in stroke patients:

A pilot project to investigate cortisol dysregulation after stroke in participants in the Edinburgh Fatigue After Stroke Study. Also investigating the use of routinely collected CT scans to measure of brain atrophy and white matter lesions in these patients, and relationship with cortisol dysregulation.


Predicting outcomes for older patients admitted to hospital:

Using data routinely collected on older people admitted to the Royal Infirmary and Western General Hospital  (Elderly Care Assessment Team (ECAT) and Team 65 respectively) we aim to investigate factors which predict outcomes, particularly in those with pre-existing or new cognitive impairment.


Brain imaging in Normal Subjects (BraINS):

I am part of a multidisciplinary group called Brain Imaging in Normal Subjects (BraINS) led by Prof JM Wardlaw developing  a bank of ‘normal’ brain images from those which have already been collected for various research studies. This will allow access to images with comprehensive meta-data on physical and cognitive characteristics. I have responsibility for development of the meta-data schema.



Diagnosis and monitoring of delirium:

Project coordinated by Prof MacLullich to develop a new neuropsychological instrument for the diagnosis and monitoring of delirium (the 4AT).




Shenkin SD PubMed search


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