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Whole of Tasmania to tackle dementia risk

A new project will see researchers work to help shift the dementia risk of an entire state.

The largest of its kind, the study has been designed to empower people to self-manage significant modifiable dementia risk factors.

Launched today by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, the Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease (ISLAND) Project will recruit 10,000 community members aged 50 and over.

Wicking Dementia Centre director Professor James Vickers said the project is the first in the world to target a whole population through a public health and educational campaign.

“Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, and Tasmania has the oldest population in the country, one which is ageing faster than the national average,” Vickers said.

“Tasmania also has high rates of modifiable risk factors of dementia; however, it has been estimated that a third of dementia cases may be prevented if the population can attend to these risk factors.”

The researchers will give participants a toolbox for monitoring dementia risk factors and behaviours.

They will also establish a state-wide registry to track the incidence of dementia. The team said this will also assist in understanding the impact of dementia across the health system in Tasmania.

The ISLAND project will combine engagement in the Wicking Dementia Centre’s Preventing Dementia MOOC with community co-developed and led programs.

Participants will also be invited to take part in ancillary research studies to help identify those at most risk of dementia.

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One comment

  1. Leanne Thompson

    Brilliant at last a good sized study for Tasmanian’s to participate in.
    This awful disease tears at family’s hearts viciously.
    Thank you so much for launching this.