Centre for Medicine Use and Safety project awarded $2 million to reduce risk of dementia

Identifying middle-aged people at risk of developing dementia and finding ways to prevent or delay its onset is the aim of a new Monash University trial about to get underway.

Announced by the Federal Minister of Health, the program will be a key part of the new National Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA) launched today at Monash University’s Peninsula Campus.

Dementia is a leading health burden and a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. In 2018 there were an estimated 436,000 Australians living with dementia which is expected to increase to 1,076,000 by 2058.

The $2 million program – called Holistic Approach in Primary care for Preventing Memory Impairment and Dementia (HAPPI MIND) – will involve 40 general practices across Victoria and NSW. The program is a collaborative interdisciplinary project involving Melbourne University, Deakin University and University of Newcastle.

Led by Dr Johnson George, Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the program will involve three-monthly face-to-face or telephone meetings with the practice nurse, a personalised risk reduction action plan, and referral to targeted additional interventions as needed in 1st year and tailored mobile phone-based risk reduction support for 3 years.

“This is the first time a holistic approach has been taken to both the early identification and the preventative treatment of a disease that is rapidly on the rise, is devastating for families and costs the community $15 billion annually,” Dr George said.

Minister Hunt also announced funding for a project in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region that will the first in Australia use electronic record data to develop ways of monitoring the prevalence of dementia.  

The $600,000 grant to Monash University’s Professor Velandai Srikanth and Dr. Nadine Andrew, will use the unique aspects of the region to conduct a pilot study for a program that will be rolled out across Victoria and nationally if successful.

The researchers will collaborate with colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA to develop and validate the program. The design and conduct of the project will be informed by active engagement with members of the public, consumers of health care.

“This data integration across all residents in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region allows us to track the health of the population as well as the effects of treatment, it is a true Living Lab,” Professor Velandai said.

Professor Simon Bell, Director of CMUS, will act as Chief Investigator for both the HAPPI MIND program and the electronic monitoring of dementia prevalence in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region. CMUS Research Fellow Dr. Jenni Ilomaki is Chief Investigator of the electronic monitoring of dementia prevalence grant.

Contact: Divya

Phone: 0466910111

Email: divya.krishnan@monash.edu