From Director Chris Rowe

Since our previous newsletter in March, the world suddenly and abruptly changed for all of us, due to COVID-19. Overnight, offices were closed, and isolation and face-to-face contact restrictions were imposed. The impact on research was immediate and dramatic, with all research endeavours (other than COVID-19) put on hold to ensure the safety and well-being of patients, research participants and their families, healthcare professionals, researchers and other staff.

For the Australian Dementia Network, this meant that some of our research work could not be progressed during this time. Instead, we have used this time to build solid foundations for the three initiatives.

As some of our states and territories have re-opened, so has research restarted, albeit in a restricted manner in many cases. In Victoria, for example, observational research is still on hold.

Throughout the pandemic, ADNeT has continued to screen patients for detailed assessment and possible referral to clinical trials. In this newsletter, you will read about how our Memory Clinics initiative will make it easier to find a memory specialist; how our Registry initiative is collecting patient data, and how our Screening and Trials initiative will begin recruiting patients with early Alzheimer’s disease to the Australian arm of the world-wide Clarity trial in August.

Also as a result of COVID-19, the Australian Dementia Forum had to be cancelled this year, so I’m pleased to announce that ADNeT has committed to managing this popular conference for researchers, health practitioners, policy makers and people living with dementia from 2021 onwards in collaboration with Dementia Australia. Save the date: 31 May to 2 June 2021 in Adelaide. We will publish more details on our website as they become available.