Dementia Research News, Issue 31 - March 2020

Director's update 

Our top priority over the coming months is to ensure the outcomes of the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative can lead to real benefits for those who matter most – people with dementia, their families and carers.

In this edition, we release the Initiative’s 2014-2019 Report, which provides a complete account of investments made and features multiple high impact programs led by cutting-edge Australian dementia researchers across all strategic priorities. I commend the report to you and my sincere thanks go to Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP and Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck for contributing the Report foreword, and to the researchers who generously agreed to be featured.

With almost 250 abstracts submitted for ADF2020, there is ample evidence, beyond this outcomes report, that the dementia research sector is going from strength to strength. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted abstracts and public travel award applications, and to urge you all to join us in Adelaide. The ADF2020 Program Committee, led by co-convenors Associate Professor Hannah Keage and Dr Tobias Loetscher, is now hard at work assessing abstracts and building a vibrant and informative program for delegates to enjoy at the Adelaide Convention Centre (31 May - 2 June).

Additionally, NNIDR is proud to exhibit at the Dementia Australia National Symposium (24 March, The Fullerton Sydney) which is providing an excellent opportunity for us to share the latest resources, tools and outcomes arising from the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative. Through the Symposium, Dementia Australia is reaching out to health services providers with clear messages from its national consultations on what constitutes quality care. NNIDR’s exhibit will showcase those programs of research that are providing a stronger evidence base for quality dementia health services provision. If you would like your research included in our showcase, please contact us. We would love to bring your work to the attention of providers.

I'm pleased to share with you all that NNIDR will also be celebrating these and other outcomes and stories more broadly over the next few months, starting with a social media campaign sharing stories of impact through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I'd encourage researchers and people living with dementia, as well as carers and family members involved in research, to join in by sharing their stories using the international dementia research campaign’s #ShareTheOrange.

Also included in this edition are grant announcements and the latest opportunities for funding from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, upcoming events, and a collection of useful resources and information, with some of the recent publications from dementia research fellows featured.

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Celebrating the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative: Release of the 2014-2019 outcomes report 

NNIDR is pleased to announce the release of the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative 2014-2019 Report, a follow-up to the well-received Early Outcomes Report in 2018. 


The 2014-2019 Report provides details of the 156 grants awarded to 374 leading dementia researchers, across 28 institutions through the five year $200 million Boosting Dementia Research Initiative. Six case studies are featured in the Report along with four researcher profiles, highlighting significant successes in dementia research across prevention, treatment, diagnosis and care.


Additionally, the Report provides the latest updates on each NNIDR program area, including collaboration and partnerships, community and consumer involvement in research, capacity building and retention, and our consultations and policy work to help shape the future strategic direction of Australia's dementia research efforts.

The 2014-2019 Report is available for download here.

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Only 93 days left until the Australian Dementia Forum 2020 

With abstract submissions and public travel award applications now closed, the ADF2020 Program Committee is hard at work putting together an informative and highly-engaging two-day program of presentations which will explore this year’s theme: Dementia Research: Innovation, Discovery and Research Translation.

If you're waiting to hear the outcome of your abstract submission, notifications will be made by Wednesday 19 March at the latest.

Registrations for the Forum are now open, with early bird rates in effect until Friday 3 April 2020. Get in soon to secure your place at a discounted rate!

ADF2020 Registrations are open here.

ADF2020 Accommodation

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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Special thanks to our Australian Dementia Forum 2020 partners

We're pleased to be partnering with the following organisations to deliver ADF2020. Partners support the ADF2020 Program and will join us in Adelaide to connect with delegates and share updates on their programs, events and research.

University of South Australia - Gold Partner

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is Australia’s University of Enterprise. It is known for its culture of innovation anchored around global and national links to academic, research and industry partners. Its graduates are tomorrow’s professionals at ease with the world and ready to create and respond to change. Its research is inventive and adventurous and it creates new knowledge that is central to global economic and social prosperity. 

UniSA is number one in South Australia for graduate careers and student satisfaction* and last year contributed $1.27 billion to the state economy. UniSA has a strong focus on dementia and dementia-related research which is embedded in the research theme – An Age-Friendly World – one of six priority topics for the University.  

*QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey and Course Experience Questionnaire 2016-18 (Undergraduate). Public SA-founded universities only.

Visit the UniSA website link to find out more about this partner.

University of Adelaide - Gold Partner

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide is a world leader in health education and research. The Faculty seeks to improve health care in Australia and internationally and contains one of Australia's largest concentrations of leading health researchers, teachers and clinical titleholders. 

Through the integration of teaching and research, University of Adelaide graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to not only deliver the best care, but be tomorrow’s health leaders. University of Adelaide researchers lead transformative investigations that generate a rich stream of new insights, innovative technologies and treatments and improved policy. Through its international research partnerships, the University is working to improving health outcomes across the globe.

Visit the University of Adelaide website to find out more about this partner.

Flinders University - Silver Partner

At the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University, research is helping people lead healthier, happier, longer lives, and teaching is equipping generations of health professionals with the skills and vision to truly advance health outcomes. The College of Medicine and Public Health delivers clinical, population and lab-based research, integrated teaching programs and high-quality clinical services. The College promotes research in health services, systems improvements, public, and population health, improved clinical care and laboratory and precision medicine.

Their teaching and research footprint reaches out from the world class teaching hospital at the Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia to multiple rural locations through South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The College has achieved some significant results in rankings, including:

  • No. 1 in Australia in Medicine for full-time employment (postgraduate): The Good Universities Guide 2020
  • No. 1 in SA in Medicine for learning resources, student support and teaching quality (undergraduate): The Good Universities Guide 2020, public SA-founded universities only
  • Flinders University is ranked in the top 200 in the world for Public Health (2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities).

Visit the Flinders University website to find out more about this partner.

SAHMRI - Wi-Fi Partner

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is South Australia's first independent flagship health and medical research institute. Home to more than 700 medical researchers, SAHMRI is tackling some of the biggest health challenges in society today. Research at SAHMRI is translational and delivers the right interventions to the right people at the right time in their lives to optimise health; delivers health outcomes with global impact to communities: and, provides focus and leadership for health and medical research. The work undertaken at SAHMRI is geared towards conducting inspired research that leads to better health outcomes.

Visit the SAHMRI website to find out more about this partner.

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Fellow shapshot - Dr Kate Smith

Dr Kate Smith is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow at the University of Western Australia. She is working on three research projects funded by the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative, and co-led the consultation process with Bard/Yjindjabandi woman, Professor Dawn Bessarab, to develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation. The Roadmap and its associated Action Plan, which take a strengths-based and community-led approach to tackling dementia issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, will be released shortly, with extended stakeholders meeting in Perth on 5 March to discuss a coordinated approach to implementation

Dr Smith is focusing on culturally-appropriate models of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia including for assessment, treatment and prevention.

‘The NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research has facilitated so many opportunities and built vital connections. In particular, the Roadmap work has allowed me to learn more about policy, and influencing Indigenous health policy,’ says Dr Smith.

‘Researchers rarely get together other than at conferences. It’s been great to talk in detail with each other and collaborate. For example, another collaboration has come from the Roadmap — we’re now looking into data sovereignty and data linkage, as we want community elders to influence what is done with that data.’

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News from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC)

Pilot Projects Announcement

The DCRC is pleased to announce the successful applicants of the 2019 Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration – Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF) Pilot Grant round (funding commencing 2020), as below

  • Dr Sophie Andrews, UNSW Sydney, NeuRA. Harnessing habits to increase physical activity in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Subjective Cognitive Decline.
  • Dr Belinda Brown, Murdoch University. Sustaining exercise to enhance cognition: A feasibility study.
  • Dr Louise Mewton, CHeBA, UNSW Sydney. Clarifying the relationship between alcohol use and dementia.
  • Dr Claudia Meyer, Bolton Clarke Research Institute. Respite care and transition to permanent residential care for people living with dementia and informal carers: Mind the Gap!
  • Dr Jade Cartwright, Curtin University. Evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of a novel discourse intervention to improve everyday communication in people with dementia. Dr Cartwright was also awarded the Dementia Advocates’ Award because it was felt that her research would benefit many people living with dementia who experience language difficulties.

These pilot projects funded by the DCRC and supplemented by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF) will each receive total funding of $75,000 over 1-2 years.

The DCRC has funded 2 additional pilot projects from the same round, receiving $50,000 over 1-2 years. Congratulations to the following recipients:

  • Dr Jacki Liddle, University of Queensland. Not left behind: Co-creating solutions to transport technology disruption for people living with dementia and their care partners.
  • Dr Maria O’Reilly, CQ University. The road less travelled. Opening the door to the leisure travel experience for people living with dementia.   

The 2020 Pilot Grants will be advertised later this year. Keep an eye on the NNIDR website for details.

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Current Funding Rounds

The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) has a number of funding opportunities available and upcoming for 2020 including travel scholarships, PhD scholarships and small and large research grants.

DCRC Travel scholarships

Applications for travel scholarships are open. National and international scholarships will be available, and this is a wonderful opportunity to support dissemination and networking for dementia researchers, particularly early career researchers. Applications for these travel fellowships close on the Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Full details can be found here.

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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.

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. The program includes internationally-renowned speakers, examples of the practical implementation of quality dementia care, and the latest technology. 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.

34th International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International | 10-12 December 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.


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Useful References

Metformin and risk of Alzheimer's disease among community-dwelling people with diabetes: a national case-control study
Sluggett JK, Koponen M, Bell SJ, Tapale H, Tanskanen A, Tiihonen J, Uusitupa M, Tolppanen AM, Hartikainen S
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Click here to read more.

In a nutshell: how to write a lay summary
Tancock C
Elsevier Connect
Click here to read more.

Occupational therapy for people with dementia and their family carers provided at home: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Bennett S, Laver K, Voigt-Radloff S, Letts L, Clemson L, Graff M, Wiseman J, Gitlin L
BMJ Open
Click here to read more.

Preliminary Research: Virtual Reality in Residential Aged Care to Reduce Apathy and Improve Mood
Brimelow RE, Dawe B, Dissanayaka N
Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking
Click here to read more.

A systematic review of the use of virtual reality and its effects on cognition in individuals with neurocognitive disorders
Moreno A, Wall KJ, Thangavelu K, Craven L, Ward E, Dissanayaka N
Alzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
Click here to read more.

Shaping attitudes: The association between prior contact with residential aged care and resistance to enter residential aged care
Walker N, Dissanayaka NN, Scott T, Manchha A, Pachana NA
International Journal of Nursing
Click here to read more.

Prescribing of psychotropic drugs and indicators for use in residential aged care and residents with dementia
Brimelow RE, Wollin JA, Byrne GJ, Dissanayaka NN
International Psychogeriatrics
Click here to read more.

Exercise and dementia prevention
Alty J, Farrow M, Lawler K
Practical Neurology
Click here to read more.

Interpretation of risk loci from genome-wide association studies of Alzheimer's disease
Andrews SJ, Fulton-Howard B, Goate A
Rapid Review, The Lancet Neurology
Click here to read more.

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