Perth researchers are using National Dementia Awareness Week* to encourage people who care for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's to take part in groundbreaking research.
Researchers from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA) at The University of Western Australia are currently investigating the effect of lifestyle interventions on the progression of Alzheimer's Disease.
There are now more than 227,300 people with dementia with the number expected to reach 731,000 by 2050.**
Professor Leon Flicker, Director of the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, said the research team hoped that these studies would reveal new ways to help people with Alzheimer's maintain their memory.
"To date, we haven't found the ‘silver bullet' to cure Alzheimer's and until we do these lifestyle factors are the best treatment we have. They are easy to adopt, inexpensive and proven," Professor Flicker said.
"We have already proved that a lifestyle intervention - physical activity - can slow the progress of memory decline in older adults with memory complaints."
"Our population is ageing rapidly and age-related disorders such as dementia are on the rise, so it is crucial studies such as these are carried out."
Professor Flicker explained that these studies were looking at the effect of lifestyle factors on memory. WACHA is looking for volunteers for the study, people over the age of 65 who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and their carers.
Volunteers should call the Centre on (08) 9224 2855 during office hours for more information.
WACHA's research aims to improve the health of older people by investigating ways to prevent, delay and cure dementia. While the risk of dementia increases with age, dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
Professor Flicker will be giving a public lecture in Albany on Friday September 18, 2009, as part of dementia awareness week on how lifestyle factors can prevent Alzheimer's disease. This free public lecture will be held at 2pm in the Scots Church Hall, York Street, Albany.
*Dementia Awareness Week 2009 runs from Tuesday September 15 to Friday September 25. **Alzheimer's Australia Living with Dementia: Dementia Facts and Statistics, March 2008