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Intouch : In Touch Autumn 2013
12 IN TOUCH AUTUMN 2013 RECENT STUDIES THE NEED FOR DEMENTIA-SPECIFIC TRAINING FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, AND GREATER FOCUS ON THE USE OF ANAESTHETICS AND BENZODIAZEPINES IN OLDER PEOPLE. RESEARCH DEMENTIA-SPECIFIC TRAINING New Australian research from the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre -- Carers and Consumers suggests that understanding of dementia among health care staff could be improved, particularly in relation to medical aspects such as risk reduction and the course of the disease. "The study clearly showed that those who had had dementia-specifc training had better knowledge and understanding, " says study author Dr Elaine Fielding. "Our primary recommendation is making dementia- specifc training a component of clinical practice. " Read more: goo.gl/R9wGO ANAESTHESIA RISK Research led by Associate Professor David Scott from St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne has found that older people who already have mild cognitive impairment before anaesthesia are more likely than others to suffer increased cognitive dysfunction after surgery. More worryingly, some of these people do not return to their presurgery level of cognitive function. "Patients with post-operative cognitive dysfunction may experience a longer stay in hospital, have a reduced quality of life and even have an increased mortality, " says Dr Scott. "We need to be able to identify patients susceptible to postoperative cognitive dysfunction and modify how we treat them. " EARLY DETECTION More than 10,000 Australians are participating in a study led by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne. The Trajectory-Related Early Alzheimer's Database (TREAD) project will assess the memory and cognitive function of healthy over-50s over the next three- and-a-half years. "Our research aims to detect the earliest possible signs of dementia in otherwise healthy people even before signifcant symptoms are noticed, ” said project leader Associate Professor David Darby. If you are aged over 50 and healthy, you can volunteer. Find out more: tread.forey.edu.au BENZODIAZEPINES AND DEMENTIA Recently published results of a 15- year French study have found a 50 per cent increase in the risk of developing dementia with prolonged use of benzodiazepines in older people. Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation and, less commonly, seizures, muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal. Previous studies focusing on a link between dementia and benzodiazepine use have had conficting results. The results emphasise the importance of monitoring the use of anxiety and sleep treatments, says UK Alzheimer's Society Director of Research Professor Clive Ballard. Read more: goo.gl/pHLdD BRAIN HEALTH STUDY Researchers from Alzheimer's Australia and the Australian National University are working together to assess Australians' commitment to improving brain health. "The particular focus is on lifestyle choices that impact the health of the brain, " says project leader Dr Maree Farrow. The team is looking for participants who: • are over 18 • can read and write English • have daily access to email and internet • have a smartphone or tablet • undertake moderate physical exercise • can commit to four weeks of regular participation and three surveys over four months Find out more: brainhealthstudy.org.au
In Touch Winter 2012
In Touch Winter 2013