Dementia Dispatch Issue 10, August 2016

  • September is Dementia Awareness Month
  • NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow Profile
  • Recent Publications
  • What's on in Dementia
  • Call for Papers

September is Dementia Awareness Month

September is Dementia Awareness Month. The theme for this year is ‘You are not alone’, and hopes to inspire Australians to seek more information about dementia and to help people living with the condition feel less isolated and alone.

September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day, on this day and throughout September Alzheimer’s Australia state and territory organisations raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia by holding a number of events featuring International and Australian dementia experts. For information on what is happening in your local area select your relevant state or territory here.

As a part of Dementia Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Australia is hosting a speaking tour featuring Dr Ronald Petersen. Dr Petersen is the Director of the U.S. Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging and a member of the World Dementia Council. He has authored over 700 peer-reviewed articles and edited five books on memory disorders, ageing, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Petersen was Ronald Reagan’s personal physician and treated the former President of America’s Alzheimer’s disease. More information on dates and locations for the speaking tour can be found here.

Fellow Profile

Dr Fiona Kumfor

Dr Fiona Kumfor, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow, NeuRA/University of NSW

Dr Fiona Kumfor is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Fellow and Clinical Neuropsychologist at Neuroscience Research Australia and the University of New South Wales. Fiona completed her Bachelor of Psychology (1st Class Honours, 2007, UNSW) and Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology (MQ, 2011) before being awarded her PhD (UNSW, 2013), which investigated how emotional functioning is affected in dementia and how this impacts on emotional memories. This work led to a series of studies published in high impact journals including Brain, Neuroimage and JNNP.

Her current line of research builds on these findings and focuses on understanding how social cognition is affected in dementia. This work has three broad aims:

  • to improve the differential diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • to develop tests to assess social cognition in people with dementia; and
  • to uncover the neurobiological basis of complex social behaviours and cognition.

Fiona’s recent work has shown that people with frontotemporal dementia have difficulty learning and recognising new faces. Furthermore, reduced understanding of social cues appear to be a marker of frontotemporal dementia, however, these changes have been previously underestimated. These findings have garnered public attention, being featured on ABC Radio National, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation.

Recent Publications

This section highlights publications recently published from members of the NNIDR Network.

Article: Subjective memory decline predicts greater rates of clinical progression in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

Contributing NNIDR Network authors: Prof Ralph Martins, University of WA. Prof Colin Masters, The Flory Institute/University of Melbourne. Prof Christopher Rowe, Austin Health/ University of Melbourne.

Article: Electrophysiology of memory-updating differs with age

Contributing NNIDR Network author: Dr Genevieve Steiner, The National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Western Sydney University

Article: A Systematic Review of the support worker role for people with dementia and their carers

Contributing NNIDR Network author: Dr Dianne Goeman, School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle

What’s on in Dementia

This section highlights activities or events that may be of interest:

The Alzheimer’s Australia Memory Walk and Jog Fundraiser

The Alzheimer’s Australia Memory Walk and Jog Fundraiser is taking place across Australia in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Dementia. To find a walk close to you of for more information visit: http://www.memorywalk.com.au

Dr Ronald Petersen’s National Speaking Tour:

  • Sydney – 19 September – Parliament House, NSW
  • Brisbane – 20 September – Brisbane Convention Centre
  • Canberra – 21 September – Press Club Canberra
  • Melbourne – 22 September – ZINC at Federation Square
  • Adelaide – 23 September – Adelaide Entertainment Centre

To submit your event, send the event details to Nnidr.admin@alzheimers.org.au

Call for Papers

Have you published a research paper on dementia lately? Have you just had a paper accepted for publication? Let us know and we’ll include a link to it in our next issue! Simply send a link to your paper to nnidr.admin@alzheiemrs.org.au

Share your story 

If you have a story to share on dementia, whether its research or personal experience, please contact nnidr.admin@alzheimers.org.au or phone 02 6217 9172. Your story may be published in the next newsletter, or used as vignettes in Institute-related communication materials, or created into a feature story and pitched to the media.