On Friday the 21st of September, 2018 the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre hosted the 3rd Tasmanian Dementia Symposium at the University of Tasmania's Medical Sciences Precinct. The event coincided with World Alzheimer's Day and brought together some of the country's best minds on dementia cause, prevention and care.
The day began with a debate that looked at the topic of 'Dementia prevention is not possible because people are unwilling to change their lifestyles'. Debating the topic for the affirmative side were the Wicking Centre's Dr Maree Farrow along with Professor of Cognitive Science Andrew Heathcote and Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Dr Peta Cook. Whilst on the opposing side were the Wicking Centre's Professor Fran McInerney along with Senior Research Fellow Dr Michele Callisaya and Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Kim Norris. Following a captivating discussion of the issues that help and hinder lifestyle change, the opposing team claimed a narrow victory with 60% of the audience deciding dementia prevention is possible after all.
Following this a number of research posters were on display as guests to the event enjoyed their lunch. To see a short description of some of the posters that were displayed please watch the video below.
In the afternoon, two separate discussions were conducted by senior members of the Wicking Centre research team with input from other academics within the University and also externally. One of the external guests to the event was Dr Rachael Lewis, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales Business School where she specialises in research to better understand how managers think and make decisions, with a particular interest in the aged care sector. At the symposium Dr Lewis weighed in on the discussion topic of 'Exploring the meaning of care and breadth of the concept' alongside the Wicking Centre's Dr Helen Courtney Pratt and Professor Fran McInerney, who spoke on the importance of community and language, respectively, in shaping dementia care. The other discussion was chaired by Dr Matthew Kirkcaldie with input from Dr Tony Cook and Dr Brad Sutherland that explored the discussion topic of 'Alzheimer's: out with the old, in with the new'. The neuroscience researchers provided intriguing updates on the roles of the amyloid protein, the brain's vascular system, and stem cells in advancing our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and how it might eventually be treated.
To conclude the symposium, guests were treated to a public lecture from Professor Joe Ibrahim and a screening of his latest award winning film 'Dignity of risk'. Seats were at a premium as Joe presented his film and answered audience questions that further explored the notion of dignity of risk and the complex interplay between individual, family and organisational requirements to manage risk.
Professor Joe Ibrahim pictured, with Professor James Vickers and Dr Helen Courtney-Pratt, both of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre