From the Director, Prof Chris Rowe
Welcome to the final 2021 December edition of our ADNeT Newsletter. Highlights in this issue include:
· Abstracts now open and speakers announced for the Australian Dementia Research Forum 2022
·ADNeT Director Peggy O’Neal wins Melburnian of the Year
· ADNeT launches first ever national Memory and Cognition Clinics Guidelines and additional Client Guide
·ADNeT welcomes Young Onset Dementia Special Interest Group (YOD-SIG) to our network
· and much more.
I hope you have enjoyed our 2021 monthly newsletters, documenting another year of new partnerships, successes and ADNeT’s ongoing commitment to work across all three initiatives to improve the diagnosis, research, care and outcomes for people living with dementia and their families and carers.
I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and I sincerely wish you all have an enjoyable holiday break and a safe and joyous New Year.
Abstracts now open for Australian Dementia Research Forum 2022
The Australian Dementia Research Forum 2022 is the premier annual event for Australian dementia research, bringing together dementia researchers, health professionals and policy makers, as well as people living with dementia and their families and carers. The theme for next year’s ADRF2022 is: Early Diagnosis – Effective Treatment with five specific submission themes.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to submit an abstract for the chance to share your theories and discoveries with Australia’s top dementia scientists and researchers. Abstracts may be submitted for an oral, rapid or poster presentation.
The 2022 conference will take place in a fully virtual environment, offering virtual attendance and presentation options. Submitting speakers are asked to keep in mind that, should your submission be accepted into the program, you may be asked to present virtually and/or attend a live Q&A if required.
Receive your copy of the ADRF2022 Abstracts Submission Guide that features a step-by-step guide to successful abstract submissions; an overview of logistics; and expert tips from the ADRF Scientific Program Committee.
Find out more about ADRF2022, our keynote speakers and watch this space for upcoming registration details.
ADNeT Director awarded Melburnian of the Year
Congratulations to ADNeT Ltd Director Peggy O’Neal who was recently awarded 2021 Melburnian of the Year. The Melburnian of the Year is an inspirational role model who has made an outstanding contribution to the city in their chosen field, as well as a significant contribution to the Melbourne community.
ADNeT Ltd Chairman Professor Graeme Samuel said, “We are very proud to have Peggy, a member of the ADNeT team, as a director of ADNeT Ltd. Her award as 2021 Melburnian of the Year reflects her extraordinary contribution to the community in so many areas – AFL football, women in leadership, education, mental health, financial services, to mention but a few. We greatly value her commitment to essential dementia research.”
ADNeT launches first national Memory and Cognition Clinic Guidelines
Researchers from the Australian Dementia Network are excited to announce the release of the first Memory and Cognition Clinic Guidelines: National Service Guidelines for Specialised Dementia and Cognitive Decline Services in Australia. Memory and Cognition Clinics have been operating in Australia for over 40 years but until now, no national standards have been proposed.
The ADNeT Memory Clinics team developed the Guidelines in consultation with over one hundred researchers, health professionals, people with dementia and care partners. These Guidelines contain consensus-based recommendations for ideal service provision, covering aspects like referral processes, assessment procedures, effective communication, and post-diagnostic support.
The Guidelines aim to harmonise service provision and diagnostic process of Clinics across Australia and provide a framework to initiate policy changes that might be required to further raise them to international standards. Lead researcher Professor Perminder Sachdev said that, “These guidelines will help to ensure that clinics across Australia provide high-quality services that result in a correct diagnosis and hopefully change a familiar and demoralising narrative that a dementia diagnosis means that person’s life is effectively over.”
A recent national survey of Memory and Cognition Clinics in Australia showed that there is currently little or no funding for post-diagnostic care. “These Guidelines will help demonstrate why funding is important to not only improve a patient’s quality of life but also save money by reducing the need for emergency interventions and extensive hospital stays” says lead researcher Professor Sharon Naismith. “With the potential for new medication to counter the effects of dementia being approved in Australia next year, Memory and Cognition Clinics need to be as well prepared as possible.”
The full Guidelines can be accessed here.
A supporting Client Guide has also been developed for current and future clients of Memory and Cognition Clinics.
For further information or questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch of the MyCoach trial to reduce dementia risk
Research indicates that about 40% of dementias worldwide can be accounted for by modifiable risk factors, opening opportunity for prevention and delaying decline, particularly for those at increased risk of developing dementia
A key group of adults for whom interventions are important are those who are noticing some changes in their cognition, or who have been diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It is thought that this stage may provide a window of opportunity for dementia risk reduction.
In the field of dementia prevention, researchers now believe that addressing a combination of lifestyle factors is a more effective approach than targeting a single risk factor. Researchers at UNSW and NeuRA are excited to commence a randomised controlled trial to evaluate a new online program called MyCoach which has been designed for people with Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Led by Professor Kaarin Anstey, who is a Chief Investigator at ADNeT, the project teaches practical memory strategies and motivational techniques and videos to engage participants in learning about lifestyle modification.
Outcomes to be examined include cognitive function, dementia risk, diet, quality of life, self efficacy, and self-perceptions of ageing. If validated, this intervention would provide a widely accessible and cost-effective tool to support healthy ageing and reduce dementia risk.
“If proven effective, MyCoach is a low-cost, accessible resource that may be recommended by memory clinics, or GPs, to support ageing Australians who express concerns about their memory or who have demonstrated mild cognitive impairments” said Professor Anstey.
For more information visit the MyCoach website
World-first study encourages less alcohol consumption for dementia prevention
UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) is using the ‘silly season’ as an opportunity to launch Rethink My Drink, a world-first online study designed to help Australians aged 60 – 75 years consider their alcohol consumption and be guided to reduce their intake to help prevent dementia.
The study aims to determine whether an online alcohol brief intervention adapted for older adults can slow cognitive decline, while at the same time reduce alcohol consumption in older risky drinkers.
CheBA Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing Co-Director and ADNeT Deputy Director Perminder Sachdev said, “Excessive alcohol use by older Australians is an under-recognised problem, and its harm is not fully appreciated. This study is a great first step in demonstrating that something can be done about it, and it may well contribute to the prevention of dementia in a large number of people.
Have your say in Australia’s dementia pathways
In Australia, we currently don’t have clear or consistent dementia care pathways. The development of a comprehensive and accessible post-diagnostic support pathway for people with dementia was one of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care. This pathway documents the roles of GPs, specialists and other services and how they co-operate in supporting people with dementia.
A team of researchers from around Australia, led by ADNeT Associate Investigator Professor Lee-Fay Low, are currently developing a dementia care pathway. Input is sought into the draft pathways from people with dementia, carers and health and aged care professionals, policy makers and academics.
Call for papers- Young Onset Dementia
ADNeT has recently welcomed the Young Onset Dementia Special Interest Group (YOD-SIG) into partnership with our network. They are leading the call for papers into a special issue of the highly respected, multidisciplinary journal International Psychogeriatrics which publishes high quality original research papers in the field of psychogeriatrics. The journal aims to be the leading peer-reviewed journal dealing with all aspects of the mental health of older people throughout the world.
This is a great chance to develop and advance existing knowledge regarding YOD, a field people interested in and working in psychogeriatrics and mental health should know more about and which will have international impact on clinical practice, training, research, and policy. The theme for the special issue is ‘Young Onset Dementia: Not the same as later onset dementia. Highlighting the differences in diagnosis, care, treatment, and models of care’.
Please submit abstracts (500 words) for consideration to the IPG editorial office at email@example.com by February 1, 2022.
Grants for early-mid career researchers
Are you an early to mid-career (EMCR) dementia researcher looking for grant opportunities, but not sure where to start? The ADNeT EMCR Accelerator group have put together a list of both dementia specific and general EMCR grant opportunities all in one place.
If you know of any others, please don’t hesitate to contact either Ayeisha Milligan Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Julien Bensalem (email@example.com). The list will be updated regularly with dates and status of application rounds.
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) screening for the early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
The National Dementia Diagnostics Laboratory (NDDL), located in The Florey Institute at the University of Melbourne, is the only NATA/ILAC accredited pathology testing laboratory in Australia that provides CSF diagnostic screening for Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Roche automated Elecsys platform is used in the process and provides excellent precision and high throughput capacity. The test involves a lumbar puncture to collect CSF into a specific polypropylene tube and the specimen is forwarded to the NDDL for testing.
Based on both NDDL’s and international research, CSF biomarkers are consistent with amyloid PET imaging and offer approximately ~90% sensitivity and specificity for AD. The test is intended to provide support for the clinical diagnosis of AD in patients presenting with cognition deficiency. The test is also useful in selecting the appropriate participants for enrolment in AD treatment trials.
ADNeT Registry expanding
The ADNeT Registry is operational with 34 sites across five states contributing data and approximately 900 participants in various stages of recruitment. The first site report will be distributed to participating sites in December 2021 to provide feedback regarding their clinical practice.
The ADNeT Registry continues to work with consumers, clinicians and a range of stakeholders to shape the Registry. The ADNeT Registry’s baseline patient and carer surveys were implemented this year to incorporate patient and carers perspective on the quality of clinical care.
Catch Up Viewing
The Australian Dementia Network- Our Progress to Date and Future Plans
In this webinar, Professor Chris Rowe, Dr Inga Mehrani and Dr Stephanie Ward, from the three Australian Dementia Network initiatives, (Screening and Trials, Memory Clinics and Registry), highlight the progress that has been made to date and describe important future goals and milestones of ADNeT.
Over the past three years, ADNeT has worked across 15 institutions in partnership with clinicians, researchers, and people with dementia and their care partners. In that time, ADNeT has; facilitated the development of effective therapies by providing detailed dementia screening of patients suitable for participation in clinical trials; developed Australia’s first dementia Clinical Quality Registry to track, benchmark, and report on the clinical care of people with dementia; developed national best practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of people living with dementia.