Dementia Research News, Issue 30 - January/February 2020

Director's update 

Welcome to the first edition of Dementia Research News for 2020. The New Year has already brought some surprises and unfortunately, it has been a tough time for many families across Australia.  Our thoughts are with those affected by the extreme conditions over the festive season.

 

Despite these challenges, we can look forward to an exciting and formative year ahead for the Australian dementia research enterprise. The $200 million Boosting Dementia Research Initiative funding is now fully committed to important research programs and our collective task now is to ensure dementia research capacity retention and continuing development over the coming years, for the benefit of people with dementia, their families and carers.

 

Significant new policy and funding initiatives have been set in place by Government over the last 5 years. The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) was established in 2015 and the Health and Medical Research Office (HMRO), which oversees delivery of MRFF, came into being in 2019.

 

There have also been major changes made to NHMRC research funding schemes, to encourage greater creativity and innovation in research, to provide opportunities for talented researchers at all career stages, and to minimise the burden on researchers of application and peer review.

 

More recently, we have seen the establishment of the Australian Government’s MRFF Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission, and a new and important opportunity to strengthen dementia research translation pathways has arisen this year with the review of the National Framework for Action on Dementia.

 

ADF2020, with its theme of Innovation, Discovery and Translation, provides the perfect forum for articulating and exploring the new research environment. The Program Committee, ably led by co-convenors, A/Prof Hannah Keage and Dr Tobias Loetscher, is putting together an exciting program from 31 May to 2 June at the Adelaide Convention Centre. It is a sector event not to be missed and we look forward to your contributions to discussion and debate over the three days.

 

As always, this edition of Dementia Research News profiles research underway and features information on the latest funding rounds, including recently announced opportunities from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) and the European Union Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND). The usual round-up of events and references is also provided for your information and use. 

 

We hope you find the information useful and wish you the very best for the year ahead.

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Abstract submissions for ADF2020 closing in 8 days

With just over a week remaining until the abstract closing date, NNIDR and the ADF2020 Program Committee would like to remind you that abstracts and registrations are open for the Australian Dementia Forum.

Abstracts may be submitted for an oral, rapid, or poster presentation.

Abstract submissions should a describe research or a thesis under one of the priority areas of prevention, assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment, living with dementia, or care, and should address the Forum theme - Innovation, Discovery and Translation.

ADF2020 Accommodation

ADF2020 will take place from Sunday 31 May (Roundtables, workshops and Welcome Reception) to Tuesday, 2 June. NNIDR has secured accommodation deals for ADF2020 delegates at the Intercontinental Adelaide, Pullman Adelaide, The Stamford Plaza Adelaide, The Playford Adelaide, the Miller Apartments, The Mac Boutique Hotel, Ibis Adelaide and Adelaide Paringa Motel. Discount codes and links will be sent to delegates following registration.

Please note: The week of ADF2020 is likely to be a busy time in Adelaide due to a rugby league State of Origin match on Wednesday, 3 June 2020. NNIDR recommends that delegates confirm their travel and accommodation early to avoid surge pricing. See you in Adelaide!

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Australian Dementia Forum Public Travel Awards now open to applications

NNIDR is pleased once again to offer Public Travel Awards for the Australian Dementia Forum, to be held in Adelaide, 31 May – 2 June 2020.

Public Travel Awards cover travel costs for members of the public with experience in dementia research to attend the Australian Dementia Forum, address delegates, network and hear from Australia’s leading dementia researchers.

The Public Travel Award application process does not require you to submit an abstract.

Who is eligible? Can I apply for a Public Travel Award?

People living with dementia, their carers, family members, or former carers who are, or have been, involved in dementia research. 

Travel Awards are open to people from all across Australia, but priority will be given to South Australian residents, and people who have not previously presented at an Australian Dementia Forum.

What does the Public Travel Award involve?

Public Travel Award recipients will be financially supported to attend and present at the Australian Dementia Forum 2020. This includes travel and accommodation costs, and can also include travel costs for a support person or carer.

If you receive a Public Travel Award, you will either deliver an oral presentation, or create a poster presentation. You can select the type of presentation you want to deliver in the Application Form.

Presentations should detail your story of involvement in a dementia research project (previous or current), and talk about what you experienced, what you learnt, and what you would suggest for improvement in the future. 

Presentations can be made together with your collaborating researcher, or by yourself. You will be asked to choose between these two options in your application form.

Oral presentations are 12 minutes in length, with a 3 minute question and answer session at the end.

Posters should be prepared in portrait orientation not exceeding A0 size (841mm wide x 1189mm high). Posters larger than this size cannot be accommodated. If you have not made a conference poster before, please get in touch with NNIDR for advice.

How do I apply for a Public Travel Award?

You will need to do three things:

  1. Complete this Application Form
  2. Contact a researcher with whom you’ve collaborated/worked, and ask them to provide you with a Letter of Support for your application. The Letter of Support should outline the research project you were involved in, on their organisation’s letterhead.  
  3. Email both documents to nnidr@nnidr.gov.au by Wednesday 19 February.

If you would like more information, or need any assistance to apply, please contact NNIDR staff on: nnidr@nnidr.gov.au or phone 02-6217 9170

How much is the Award worth?

Registration is waived for ADF2020 delegates attending with the support of a Public Travel Award.

Award value to cover travel and accommodation costs, incidentals and transfers by region;

People travelling from Amount awarded
Metro Adelaide  $150 for ground travel, no accommodation
Regional South Australia  $1000 for travel and three nights’ accommodation
NSW, Victoria $1,100  for travel and three nights’ accommodation
Western Australia, Tasmania, ACT, Queensland   $1,200  for travel and three nights’ accommodation
Northern Territory $1,600  for travel and three nights’ accommodation

 

We understand people with dementia and their carers travel together. In keeping with Dementia Australia policy, the costs of both parties will be covered at the above level (i.e. in these circumstances, two Awards will be provided).

Awards will be provided in a single payment before the conference and travel arrangements will be the responsibility of the awardee. Unused funds are only reimbursed to NNIDR is the Award recipient is unable to attend the Forum.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by email on 15 March 2020.

Recipients will be acknowledged on the NNIDR website as Public Travel Award recipients.

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Public consultation open for the Medical Research Future Fund: Dementia, Aged Care and Ageing Mission Roadmap

The impact of dementia, ageing and aged care in Australia is considerable and continues to grow as the older population of Australia grows.

In December 2018, the Government announced the $185 million Dementia, Aged Care and Ageing Mission (Mission), a medical research package focused on dementia, ageing and aged care funded through the Medical Research Future Fund. 

The Mission will fund research to support older Australians to maintain their health and quality of life as they age, live independently for longer and access quality care when they need.

The Mission Roadmap will assist in the implementation of the Mission including setting key priorities for funding.

A clear and well-focused Roadmap will ultimately increase the success of the Mission and the ability to attract co-investment from other funding sources.

Consultation closes Monday 17 February 2020. Click here to submit your feedback.

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Researcher profile - Dr Terry Chong

As an Old Age Psychiatrist, Dr Terry Chong considers it his mission to provide high-quality individually-tailored advice to people living with dementia, and to do so with a balance of optimism and realism.

'There's no recipe book. We are guided by clinical practice guidelines, but there isn't anything that is one-size-fits-all,' Dr Chong informs us.

'It can be therapeutic for people living with dementia to talk about their experiences. We then work together to find practical, tailored solutions to problems. You're travelling the road with people living with dementia - and it can be a bumpy road.'

With over 10 years' experience as a clinician, Dr Chong is now utilising his research background in dementia prevention and risk reduction to collaborate with the NNIDR Dementia Prevention Special Interest Group (SIG).

A chance encounter at a conference led to Dr Chong meeting the Prevention SIG chair Dr Helen Macpherson.

'I was speaking on dementia prevention in the same session as Helen at a conference. Afterwards, she said it would be really good to have more clinicians involved in this special interest group, so she invited me along.' 

'My own research is in the field of dementia prevention and risk reduction. There's increasing attention being paid now with the Lancet Commission published a few years ago and the World Health Organization Guidelines for Dementia Prevention being released. It's starting to be recognised as an important way to address issues in dementia.'

The NNIDR Dementia Prevention SIG is bringing together researchers working on prevention, risk, resilience and care, with an emphasis on translation into practice to complement the important work being done in neurobiology. The group involves research and clinicians in Australia who work on dementia prevention, who network with each other and colleagues overseas to establish a continuing, coordinated effort.

'The aim is, over time, to collaborate on projects and develop multi-site projects. We could see that a lot of good work being done at individual institutions, but there was a sense that we could do even more if we learnt from one another's experiences - how to and how not to do something,' says Dr Chong.

The group is working on putting forward a position statement calling for greater attention to be paid to dementia prevention in research, translation and health care settings.

'We feel there's more and more evidence and guidelines available on dementia prevention, but the literature show that this isn't getting out there at the coal face as much as it could be,' says Dr Chong.

'Part of this is researching how to translate what is known about dementia risk reduction and prevention, but also about getting the message out there. A lot of dementia risk reduction strategies overlap with strategies for heart disease, stroke and cancer. We can learn from other organisations who have done this successfully, like the Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation.'

'If we can even reduce or delay dementia by a bit, we could make a huge difference to a lot of people's lives.' 

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News from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC)

2020 DCRC PhD Scholarships now open to applications

The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) is pleased to announce the 2020 DCRC Postgraduate Research Scholarships for Dementia Research. Three PhD scholarships are on offer at $30,000 per annum for up to three years starting in 2020. Three more scholarships will be on offer in 2021.

Funded by the Australian Government, the DCRC’s primary research foci within the broader topic of dementia research are prevention, assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment, living with dementia and care. The DCRC’s primary goals are to increase knowledge and implementation of research findings in these areas.

Students applying for these scholarships must:

  • Be eligible for enrolment in a research PhD at an Australian institution and undertake their studies full-time or part-time.
  • At least one member of the supervisory team must be a member of NNIDR and DCRC. Click here for further information on membership.
  • Have a written agreement from a qualified supervisor and the support of an Australian university to carry out the proposed project.
  • The research proposal must relate to one of the DCRC priority areas of dementia research.
  • Not be employed in paid work during the scholarship period for more than maximum number of hours per week as specified by the administering university (usually 14 hours per week).
  • Not hold another PhD scholarship.
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand citizen living permanently in Australia. Applicants who have been resident in Australia for at least two years and have evidence of eligibility and an application for permanent residency in progress may also be eligible.

Please direct queries to Tiffany Jessop or Ani Johnston by email to DCRCgrants@unsw.edu.au or phone on (02) 9385 2592.

Application forms for the 2020 DCRC PhD Scholarships can be found here. Applications close 5PM AEST, Monday 2 March 2020.

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Current Funding Rounds

European Union Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) funding round now open

Call for proposals: Novel imaging and brain stimulation methods and technologies related to Neurodegenerative Diseases 2020

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has allocated funding to provide grants to Australian-based researchers who are participating as collaborators in international consortia under the European Union Joint Program - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) Call for Novel imaging and brain stimulation methods and technologies related to Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Applications close 1 July 2020. Further details for the call and guidance documents can be found on the JPND website.

NHMRC will provide merit-based funding for the Australian-based components of research, where the transnational consortium has been recommended for funding by the JPND.

2019 Rural, Regional & Remote Clinical Trial Enabling Infrastructure Grant

The 2019 Rural Regional and Remote Clinical Trial Enabling Infrastructure grant opportunity was announced as part of the Medical Research Future Fund and is an initiative under the National Critical Infrastructure Initiative. New and innovative approaches to enhancing and improving clinical trial infrastructure (including facilities  research equipment systems and services) - by extending existing or providing new clinical trials into rural regional and remote areas - holds the potential to address many of the existing barriers  such as distance, geographical isolation and workforce capacity. The intent of this grant opportunity is to provide initial stimulus funding for innovative approaches with potential for national application. It is not to be a source of funding for routine and on-going activities eligible for funding though existing funding mechanisms. The objectives of the grant opportunity are:

  • improved facilities equipment services and systems in rural, regional and remote Australia
  • improved quality of care and health outcomes for patients through quicker and easier access to medical treatments drugs, therapies and devices  through participation in clinical trials
  • reduced burden costs and risks for patients and their families related to clinical trial participation 
  • increased research capacity including linkages leveraging and enhancements of existing local and national structures organisations facilities and/or workforce with flow-on effects to broader health services. 

The intended outcome of the grant opportunity is improved access to clinical trials by Australians living in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. Applications close 3 March 2020Visit Grant Connect for more information.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Indigenous Grant Scheme

The ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme provides grant funding to support research projects led by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researcher.

The ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme supports excellent basic and applied research and research training by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers as individuals and as teams; as well as national and international research collaborations.

The Discovery Indigenous scheme intends to expand the knowledge base and research capacity in Australia; and contribute to economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for Australia.

To be considered for an ARC Discovery Indigenous grant, applications must nominate at least one Chief Investigator (CI) or a Discovery Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Award (DAATSIA) candidate. The first-named CI must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researcher and will be the Project Leader. Applications close 18 March 2020. Visit the ARC website for more information.

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Upcoming Events

Australian Dementia Forum 2020 | 31 May - 2 June 2020 | Adelaide
ADF2020 - Dementia Research: Innovation, Discovery and Translationencourages the research community to celebrate the discoveries and innovation achieved through recent targeted efforts like the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative. The Forum will also look forward to the task of translating research outcomes into practice and improving the life of those living with dementia, their families and carers.
Visit the ADF2020 website to register and find out more.

34th International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International | 19-21 March 2020 | Singapore
This unique, multi-disciplinary event brings together all those with an interest in dementia, including researchers, scientists, clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, people living with dementia, family members, care professionals, and staff and volunteers of Alzheimer associations. 
Visit the ADI Conference website for more details.

Dementia Australia National Symposium | 24 March 2020 | Sydney

Dementia Australia’s National Symposium 2020 - Quality care is dementia care, is the culmination of Dementia Australia’s Quality Care Initiative, a project started in 2018 to identify how people living with dementia, and their families and carers define quality dementia care. The symposium will provide a timely opportunity within the context of the work of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to explore the importance of leadership in shaping culture to achieve the outcomes consumers are seeking. Delegates will hear from providers on how they are achieving engaged workforces who are delivering improved outcomes for consumers.
Visit the Symposium website for more details. 

ANZGSM Annual Scientific Meeting 2020 | 27 - 29 May 2020 | Melbourne

The 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine - Vision for the future, is an opportunity to look at the emerging themes in Geriatric Medicine and how these will impact on the care of the older person into the future. The scientific programme will feature updates in dementia and delirium and the Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. 
Visit the Scientific Meeting website for more details.

Declared 2020: Delirium Past, Present and Future | 2 - 4 September 2020 | Brisbane

DECLARED 2020 welcomes multidisciplinary clinicians, students, researchers and consumers to vibrant, subtropical Brisbane to gain a deep understanding of current knowledge, hear latest research, share their experience, and guide the future in delirium care. The Australasian Delirium Association consists of multidisciplinary health professionals who promote delirium awareness and use of scientific evidence to improve clinical practice around delirium. The biennial DECLARED conference is their flagship educational event providing access to internationally leading scientists, educators and clinical leaders.
Visit the Conference website for more details.

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Useful References

Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission Roadmap - DRAFT
Medical Research Future Fund
Click here to read the Framework.

Integrating the prevention agenda for brain and body health
Duggan M, Calder R, Harris B
The Mitchell Institute and Victoria University
Click here to read the paper in full.

Managing the transition to non-driving in patients with dementia in primary care settings: facilitators and barriers reported by primary care physicians
Scott TL, Liddle J, Pachana NA, Beattie E.
International Psychogeriatrics

Click here to read the article in full.

How medical professional students view older people with dementia: Implications for education and practice
Scott TL, Kugelman M, Tulloch K
PLOS ONE

Click here to read the article in full.

The characterisation of subjective cognitive decline
Jessen F, Amariglio RE, Buckley RF, van der Flier WM, Han Y, Molinuevo JL et al.
The Lancet Journal of Neurology
Click here to read the article.

The global burden of neurological disorders: translating evidence into policy
Feigin VL, Vos T, Nichols E, Owolabi MO, Carroll WM, Dichgans M et al.
The Lancet Journal of Neurology
Click here to read the article.

International view on genetic frontotemporal dementia
Wauter E, Van Broeckhoven C
The Lancet Journal of Neurology (Open Access)
Click here to read comment in full.

New routes of dopaminergic drug delivery in patients with Parkinson's disease
Antonini, A
The Lancet Journal of Neurology
Click here to read comment.

Age at symptom onset and death and disease duration in genetic frontotemporal dementia: an international retrospective cohort study
Moore KM, Nicholas J, Grossman M, McMillan CT, Irwin DF, Massimo L, et al.
The Lancet Journal of Neurology (Open Access)
Click here to read article in full.

New evidence on the management of Lewy body dementia
Taylor J-P, McKeith IG, Burn DF, Boeve BF, Weintraub D, Bamford C, et al.
The Lancet Journal of Neurology
Click here to read review.

The gut microbiome in neurological disorders
Cryan JF, O'Riordan KJ, Sandhu K, Peterson V, Dinan TG
The Lancet Journal of Neurology
Click here to read review.

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