March 2021 Newsletter View in your browser
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Professor James Vickers

Welcome to our March newsletter

This week saw what we hope will become an historical time point, as the final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was tabled in Australian parliament. This inquiry commenced in 2018 and has included over 10,000 submissions made by Australians impacted by aged care. We welcome the report and are excited to be part of the catalyst for positive change; particularly in the area of dementia education which the report states as imperative to anyone who has a role in direct care, and is one of the most common issues that adds to the complexity of care.

You will see in this newsletter our new Wicking Dementia Centre logo. This will be rolled out across all materials in the coming months as the University of Tasmania refreshes the various logos of its flagship centres and institutes. We hope you like the circle imagery. The design thoughts around the rings represent inclusivity, collaboration, and support even when there are interruptions in the circles. 

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WHAT'S NEW IN 2021
Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury MOOC The ISLAND Clinic

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury MOOC

The ISLAND Clinic

The Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) MOOC is a new FREE, online course. It aims to raise awareness and build knowledge to reduce risk and improve management and rehabilitation outcomes for people who have experienced a TBI.

This MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has been developed by the Wicking Dementia Centre and looks at the causes and consequences of TBI across the spectrum from mild concussion through to severe injuries, as well as at how and when injuries may occur across the lifespan.

This free, 5-week course, is easily accessible and is suitable for anyone with a personal or professional interest in learning more about Traumatic Brain Injury.

Enrolments are now open – follow the link below to find out more and enrol.

ENROL TODAY

On 22 February 2021, the Wicking Dementia Centre launched the new Tasmanian Dementia and Cognition Clinic (The ISLAND Clinic). The Clinic will see Tasmanians, who have been referred by their General Practitioner, for assessment of their cognitive function.

The Clinic team comprises a range of health professionals including geriatricians, neurologists, GP's, neuropsychologist, psychologist, nurse practitioners and physiotherapist. The clinicians will work closely with other health providers, including iMed for state-of-the-art imaging.

The Clinic is set to see its first patients on 3 March 2021 and patients will receive a comprehensive assessment of their memory and thinking concerns.  

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OUR RESEARCH
Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Research Excellence Supporting research into childhood dementia

Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Research Excellence

Supporting research into childhood dementia

As a society, we can learn much about optimising the health and wellbeing outcomes of the older population by adopting a strengths-based approach that privileges the voices, cultures, and perspectives of older Indigenous peoples – and this is where the Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Excellence begins.

Associate Professor Lyn Goldberg from the Wicking Dementia Centre is part of a 5-year project, funded by the NHMRC, and led by Professor Dawn Bessarab, a Bard/Yindijibarndi woman with a social work background and the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia.

The project aims to increase the capability of the services, systems, and communities that support older Indigenous Australians as they age. 

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A grant from the Batten Disease Support and Research Association (BDSRA) Australia has been awarded to Associate Professor Tony Cook and his team to research into Batten disease, one of the most common forms of childhood dementia. 

The funds ($49,400) will support their research in innovative human stem cell models of the most common subtype of Batten disease, CLN3 disease.

“CLN3 Batten disease is a truly devastating, fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure or treatment,” said Dr Ineka Whiteman, Head of Research, Medical and Scientific Affairs at BDSRA Australia. “The research being undertaken by A/Professor Cook and his team is truly world-class, and we are delighted to support their work which aims to further our understanding of CLN3 disease mechanisms and the development of potential future therapeutics.”

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OUR EDUCATION
Preventing Dementia MOOC University Study

Preventing Dementia MOOC

University Study

Is it possible to modify your risk of dementia?

It has recently been estimated that addressing modifiable risk factors across your life-course could prevent or delay 40% of cases of dementia.

Participants in this FREE course will explore the best available evidence about dementia prevention, drawing on a range of expertise from around the globe. 

Examine the evidence and take steps to reduce your risk today. The next PD MOOC opens on 11 May.

ENROL TODAY

The Wicking Dementia Centre is proud to be able to offer a range of online dementia courses covering everything from the structure of the brain and neurobiology to different models of dementia care, and how the trajectory of dementia affects the person and caregivers.

The impact of your study will be felt across society with education being crucial to help reduce stigma and improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families.

We encourage you to look at our range of courses to start your study in July 2021.

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AUTUMN SNAPSHOT
  • Welcome to our commencing students who started their study in February. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at dementia.care@utas.edu.au. We also have four new Honours scholarship students and three new PhD Candidates starting with us. This is a very exciting time for all our students - so welcome to everyone!
  • Ongoing grant submissions and publications keep our researchers very busy throughout the year - here is a snapshot of two recent successes:
    • A 5-year grant has been awarded by the National Health & Medical Research Council to develop a new type of computer screening that can detect the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease by analysing hand movements. We will be recruiting people from the ISLAND Project and Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project to help us develop this new test called 'TasTest' – a new test developed in Tasmania that could help transform dementia prevention worldwide. 
    • A recent paper looking at a new disease model for motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia was recently published by Dr Rachel Atkinson et al.

  • As part of UK Dementia Researcher, we will be presenting a webinar on Thursday 4 March discussing the Master of Dementia Program and careers in dementia research. Register here.
  • Our researchers are still presenting (virtually) at a number of conferences including the International Neurotrauma Symposium.
  • Dementia Australia is again running its Memory Walk & Jog fundraising event. Visit their website to find an event near you. The Wicking Dementia Centre is pleased to support this event in Hobart on 13 March.
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CRICOS Provider Code: 00586B | ABN 30 764 374 782