Novel research from Monash University aims to discover whether targeted lifestyle changes can prevent declines in thinking and memory in middle-aged Australians with a family history of dementia.
Led by Associate Professor Yen Ying Lim, the BetterBrains trial was born out of necessity. By the year 2050, it is projected that the number of people living with dementia will triple from 50 to 152 million, due to unprecedented population ageing. However, research estimates that approximately 40 per cent of all dementia is attributable to risk factors that are highly modifiable, including low mood, poor sleep, poor heart health and low cognitive and social engagement.
The BetterBrains trial will test whether personalised lifestyle and educational behaviour change strategies targeted at modifying these four risk factors can prevent thinking and memory problems in middle-aged adults aged between 40 and 70 years. The trial is also one of the first in the world to be delivered entirely online, meaning participants can be involved no matter where they live in Australia.
The trial aims to recruit 1,510 people living in the community. After completing an initial assessment, participants will be allocated at random (like tossing a coin) to one of two study groups. Of these people, 755 participants will be randomised to the intervention group and will receive the personalised BetterBrains program, including 1:1 health coaching delivered by an allied health professional, while the other 755 participants will receive health education materials about dementia and its risk factors.
Associate Professor Lim said this research is critical to discover the most effective ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia, particularly for people in higher-risk groups, such as those with a family history of the disease.
Please visit www.betterbrains.org.au to learn more or to sign up.