Funding boost for dementia research

Matt Woodley

18/07/2019 3:27:54 PM

The $21 million includes support for a general practice-focused project investigating a holistic approach to dementia prevention.

GP with patient
GPs are being asked to take part in a new research project focused on a holistic approach to dementia prevention.

The Monash University-led study received nearly $2 million as part of the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants and is designed to see if a holistic approach in primary care can reduce the risk of developing dementia in 45–65-year-olds.
The funding announcement comes days after a major international study revealed people with a high genetic risk of dementia who adopt healthy habits are 32% less likely to contract the disease than those with an unhealthy lifestyle.
Chief investigator Dr Johnson George told newsGP the Holistic Approach in Primary care for PreventIng Memory Impairment aNd Demention (HAPPI MIND) project is hoping to recruit patients, GPs and practice nurses from around 40 clinics in Victoria and New South Wales to take part.
Participants will identify modifiable risk factors known to be associated with dementia in the longer term – such as diabetes, eating habits and hearing loss – and adopt a holistic approach to managing them. A separate control stream will identify the same risk factors, but not adopt the intensive HAPPI MIND intervention, with the results compared at the end of the five-year study.
‘For each person, the risk factor that we identify in consultation with the patient may be different. It may be that someone has got high blood pressure, that’s poorly controlled, it may be that someone has got very poor sight, or it may be that they’re consuming too much alcohol,’ Dr George said.
‘But we will identify two or three risk factors for each quarter to focus on, and use motivational interviewing principles to help achieve that behaviour change.’
The study will involve investigators from a wide variety of tertiary institutions, as well as a consortium of researchers from organisations such as the Chronic Illness Alliance, Dementia Australia, Primary Health Networks, NPS Medicine Wise and the Australian eHealth Research Centre.
Overall 13 research projects received funding to focus on the risk reduction, prevention and tracking of dementia. The funding is in addition to the $185 million Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care 10-year mission funded through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

dementia NHMRC primary care research

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