Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. Tasmania has the oldest population in the country, and is ageing faster than the national average.
In Australia, dementia is the second leading cause of death. There were an estimated 436,000 Australians living with the condition in 2018.
Tasmania has relatively high rates of many dementia risk factors. Realistic reductions in the rates of modifiable risk factors would have positive health impacts across the entire state.
Approximately 1/3 of dementia cases may be effectively preventable by tackling specific modifiable risk factors.
Register your interest in the largest dementia prevention study in the world
The Wicking Dementia Centre is a global research leader on the risk factors for dementia.
The Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease (ISLAND) Project will involve a range of studies that relate to understanding who is at most risk of dementia and how we can self-manage risk behaviours to build resilience to dementia.
An ISLAND to take on dementia
The Wicking Dementia Centre has world leading research on the cause, prevention and care of dementia. It has also developed a unique public health intervention, the Preventing Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which builds self-efficacy in managing behaviours that contribute to risk of this condition.
Most of the risk for dementia is associated with ageing. However, international research has indicated that approximately a third of dementia cases may be effectively prevented if modifiable risk factors are addressed. It is never too late to tackle these risk factors, but it is particularly important from middle age onwards.
The Wicking Dementia Centre is establishing a bold new initiative that has never been attempted before. We are seeking to reduce the incidence of dementia in a whole population – the population of Tasmania – and we need your help. If we can show that we can reduce risk behaviours in our State, then we can encourage the world to take on dementia risk reduction.
We are looking to sign up over 20,000 Tasmanians over 50 years of age to be partners in this globally significant challenge. Anyone can join in. The project will be called the Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease, or ISLAND.
The main ambition of ISLAND is to equip our Tasmanian community for dementia risk behaviour reduction through the Preventing Dementia MOOC. We would ask that you use what you learn from the MOOC to address your own risk profile and to share with your family, friends and community.
We hope to also develop other tools and activities to help individuals and communities take on these risk factors.
While the main outcome in the short term is to see if we can shift dementia risk behaviours, the longer goal is to see if this reduces the age-specific incidence of dementia in Tasmania. Along the way, there will also be a range of research studies that ISLAND will be running, such as understanding who is at most risk based on lifestyle and genetic factors, what health messages might encourage a focus on dementia risk, can we detect the very early stages of dementia with a blood test? We will also be setting up clinics to assist people with cognitive issues during ageing.
Register your interest in the ISLAND Project through the form below. Please encourage anyone you know who is concerned about dementia to also register their interest! We will be in touch via your contact details about the next steps. You can be involved in as little or as much of this campaign as it rolls out, and engagement in research studies will be voluntary.
Help us make a dent in dementia in Tasmania, and help Tasmania lead the world in preventing this life changing condition.
Thank you for your interest!
Your details have been received. We'll be in contact in the future with regard to studies being conducted as part of "The Island Project"