More Healthy Brain Project participants (aged 50-79) sought
University of Tasmania Dean of Health Science http://www.healthsci.utas.edu.au/ Professor Ray Playford, has announced the success of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre in attracting $1m to the state to further their research into brain plasticity.
Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project Chief Investigator, Professor James Vickers, Head of the UTAS School of Medicine http://www.utas.edu.au/medicine/ , explained the world-first project examines if older adults who undertake university education have reduced rates of age-related cognitive decline than older adults who do not undertake further education.
The success comes at the start of Dementia Awareness Week (15-25 Sept).
“This would support the notion that boosting cognitive reserve in later life is protective against age- and disease-related neurodegenerative change,” Prof Playford said.
At the announcement, current participants of the Healthy Brain Project and friends were invited to a morning of brain teasers such as memory tasks and sequencing exercises and a coded treasure hunt through the Royal Botanical Gardens.
More than 250 Tasmanians have already volunteered and are studying a variety of UTAS courses, on-campus and by distance, across the state.
More Healthy Brain Project participants (aged 50-79) are being sought to give a little of their time to this project with an annual 4-hour cognitive assessment (involving non-intrusive puzzles and tests) that provides scientists with data over the years about cognitive function.
As a thank you for being part of the Healthy Brain Project the participants can receive a HECs-free unit (conditions apply) each year and only a minimum of one unit per semester needs to be undertaken.
“The university benefits from more than 1,450 students over 50 years of age being part of our community, gaining more knowledge around their own interests and sharing their life experience with younger students,” Professor Playford said.
“The benefits to these students are the increased knowledge and social networks, alongside the good feeling of being able to give to a project, which may help to delay the onset of dementia in the future.”
Established in 2008, the Wicking Centre is funded by the JO & JR Wicking Trust, (managed by ANZ Trustees) with further financial support from the UTAS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Tasmania.
More information on the project can be found at www.utas.edu.au/healthy-brain
Photo: Participants and potential participants of the Healthy Brain Project participate in a scavenger hunt at the Gardens.