Dr Tom Russ

Consultant Psychiatrist & Honorary Clinical Reader


I trained in medicine and psychiatry in Edinburgh, the Highlands and London and work clinically with older people with functional mental illness and dementia. I am secretary of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland philosophy and psychiatry special interest group and sit on the Working with Older People steering group at Human Development Scotland (formerly the Scottish Institute of Human Relations).

I would like to encourage any students interested in dementia research, whether or not it happens to be in connection with an SSC block, to contact me about potential projects. I am or have recently supervised projects on temporal trends in dementia rates, music and dementia, and the concept of personhood in dementia so I’d be very pleased to hear from students whatever their focus of interest.


Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh: Medical Science with Honours in Psychology

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Edinburgh

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh: An integrated investigation into dementia risk factors: insights from geography, record linkage, and individual participant meta-analysis

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice , University of Edinburgh

Responsibilities & affiliations

Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, FRCPsych

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

Associate Member of the Institute of Group Analysis

Certificate of Completion of Training in Old Age Psychiatry, CCT


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Jude Gibson (non-clinical; Psychiatry; January 2015—): Depression and dementia in Generation Scotland (part of the STRAtifying Depression Longitudinally [STRADL] project funded by the Wellcome Trust)

Stina Saunders (non-clinical; Psychiatry; April 2017—): Adjustment and Clinical outcomes to Mild Cognitive Impairment

Lucy Stirland – PSYSTAR Clinical Research Fellow (clinical; Psychiatry; August 2016—)

Katherine Walesby (clinical; Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre/Centre for Cognitive Ageing & Cognitive Epidemiology; August 2015—): Geographical variation in dementia in the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey Cohort.

Research summary

I have been investigating geographical variation in dementia risk for a number of years and we have found substantial variation with increased risk in the north of Scotland, Sweden, and Italy, compared to the south. In Sweden, even after taking account of genetic effects, the risk of dementia was still two-to-three times higher in the north compared to the south which suggests an environmental effect. Therefore, I am now focusing on environmental risk factors for dementia, including air pollution and vitamin D deficiency (which relates to sunlight).

  • Dementia epidemiology, including geographical variation in dementia, environmental risk factors, and the life course approach
  • Psychological distress as a risk factor
  • Individual participant meta-analysis

Research activities

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View all 112 publications on Research Explorer