Research

Digital tool to predict dementia risk early on

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A cutting-edge project to create a digital platform for predicting dementia risk is moving forward, thanks to new research funding from the Western Australian government.

The innovative tool, led by Professor Blossom Stephan at Curtin University’s EnAble Institute, seeks to develop a predictive algorithm for dementia using global and Australian data, including insights from ‘The Busselton Healthy Ageing Study’.

“While numerous dementia prediction models exist, none have been developed and tested using Western Australian data and targeted intervention is lacking,” Professor Stephan said. “This project has the potential to create a greater public awareness of dementia and its risk factors and make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals affected by the condition.”

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Melinda Fitzgerald congratulated the team on securing $3 million in government funding. “Insights gleaned from this project will be instrumental in shaping innovative strategies for dementia prevention and risk mitigation with the potential to deliver lasting personal, societal and economic dividends.”

The project, titled ‘Dementia Risk Prediction and Risk Reduction in Western Australia: DEMRISK-WA,’ is one of four recipients sharing $3 million in funding through the Western Australia Cohort Studies – Research Support Program.

Partnering with Dementia Australia, The University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University, the project underscores the growing focus on catching cognitive decline early, when interventions are most effective.

With dementia affecting over 55 million worldwide and an estimated 46,000 people in Western Australia, Professor Stephan stresses that without a cure, preventative measures are paramount.

Ultimately, the research aims to produce an electronic ‘Healthy Brain Ageing Resource Pack’ to enhance public awareness of modifiable risk factors associated with dementia.

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