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Dementia Prevention Research Clinic launches in Christchurch

The Dementia Prevention Research Clinic will be officially opened in Christchurch today (26 Ju-ly) – the third in a national network of clinics established by Brain Research New Zealand| Ran-gahau Roro Aotearoa (BRNZ).

With the launch of the Christchurch Dementia Prevention Research Clinic (DPRC), led by Co-Directors Professor Tim Anderson of the University of Otago, Christchurch, and Professor John Dalrymple-Alford of the University of Canterbury (UC), a wide range of New Zealanders will be able to benefit from the multi-disciplinary initiative.

“The Christchurch DPRC will be of tremendous value and benefit for the local community,’ Pro-fessor Dalrymple-Alford says. “It provides a long-awaited avenue for local participants to receive an unparalleled degree of detailed neuropsychological, neurological and neurobiological assess-ments.”

The earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are insidious and notoriously dif-ficult to detect, he says.

“Multiple detailed assessments are needed. Like many other regions, there has been a gap in the availability in Christchurch for such detailed evaluations. The Christchurch DPRC fills this gap for the Christchurch region.”

The DPRC is conducting a long-term, multi-disciplinary study aiming to identify factors that in-fluence the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“Our unique New Zealand DPRC network is recruiting a large group of people who have prob-lems with memory and thinking prior to getting Alzheimer’s dementia with the intent of finding new diagnostic tools and treatments so we can prevent dementia before it occurs,” Professor An-derson says.

“By regularly following our clinic participants over years with detailed clinical and brain-imaging assessments, and storing blood samples for current and future research, not only are we aiming to make our own discoveries here in New Zealand, we will be able to combine with other studies overseas in an international effort to combat dementia.”

Participants may also be invited to join other studies that further understanding of these condi-tions, or to test interventions that might prevent or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s or relat-ed dementias, he says.

Prof John Dalrymple-Alford adds: “It has been difficult in Christchurch for older people with cognitive decline to be aware of and become involved in research projects. The new DPRC clinic provides a welcome focal point for these opportunities. Locals in Christchurch will be part of a national effort to better understand the risk factors and progression of dementia that aims to de-velop new treatments and better understand lifestyle factors that may mitigate cognitive de-cline.”

People who experience early memory problems have the opportunity to participate in the clinic’s research on memory problems, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and may be able to join further studies and test interventions.

In 2016, Brain Research New Zealand set out to establish a national network of Dementia Pre-vention Research Clinics, opening a clinic in Auckland, followed by one in Dunedin in 2017.

The Christchurch Dementia Prevention Research Clinic is based at the New Zealand Brain Re-search Institute, 66 Stewart Street, Christchurch. For more information visit: http://www.brnz.ac.nz/clinics

The Christchurch DPRC will be formally opened by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel at the Manawa building today (26 July) at 11am. Speakers include New Zealand Dementia Prevention Trust Chair Sir Eion Edgar, DPRC study participant Brother Osmund, BRNZ Co-Director Pro-fessor Cliff Abraham, University of Canterbury Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Wright, University of Otago Professor David Murdoch, and BRNZ Māori Advisory Board Co-Chair Dr Waiora Port.

About Alzheimer’s disease
• More than 60,000 New Zealanders suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia – a number expected to triple by 2050.
• Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 50-60% of all dementias.
• Alzheimer’s disease currently has no cure, and by the time a diagnosis is made, a significant amount of brain damage has already occurred. Yet, changes in the brain occur many years if not decades before clinical symptoms show. To have the biggest possible impact on people’s lives, we need accurate early assessment to identify and follow those at risk of developing Alz-heimer’s.
About Brain Research New Zealand | Rangahau Roro Aotearoa
Brain Research New Zealand | Rangahau Roro Aotearoa (BRNZ) is a national Centre for Re-search Excellence undertaking ground-breaking research on the ageing brain and ageing-related neurological disorders.
Neurological disorders pose one of the greatest global challenges of our time. By bringing to-gether New Zealand’s best neuroscientists and clinicians, and working in partnership with the community, BRNZ aims to undertake the translational biomedical research necessary to tackle this challenge head on – to improve people’s lives through brain research and, ultimately, the wellbeing of our ageing population. www.brainresearch.co.nz

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