Thursday 13 April 2023

Media Release

Two of the National Ageing Research Institute’s (NARI) top researchers have been awarded significant funding grants, as part of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation’s 2022 Dementia Grants Program.

Dr Anita Goh and Dr Christa Dang received a combined total of more than $400,000 to support vital research into dementia, and dementia care in Australia.

Dr Goh was awarded the Dr Stuart and Bonnie Bartle Mid-Career Research Fellowship for her project Closing the gap from evidence to practice to enhance dementia care: Using change management and implementation science, whilst Dr Dang received the Co-Group Project Grant for her project MiND Your Thinking: examining relationships between patterns of repetitive negative thinking and blood-based biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegeneration, inflammation and stress.

Dr Goh’s fellowship will support closing the gap from evidence to practice, helping to implement faster and more effective use of dementia interventions, and enhancing dementia care.

“High-quality dementia care should centre on evidence-based practices, but on average it takes 17 years for research evidence to reach clinical practice,” Dr Goh said.

“The objective of the fellowship is to speed this process up. We aim to increase the rate of collaborations between aged care providers and researchers and increase the adoption rate and success rate of the implementation of evidence-based interventions.”

The MiND Your Thinking project will test whether there are connections between Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) and cognitive decline. Dr Dang will then test whether RNT or any of the biomarkers can predict diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disorder. 

“Because RNT affects things like stress and inflammation, which we know are harmful to the body and brain, it might be possible that we can reduce chances of someone developing Alzheimer’s disease in their future if we can find a way to help them reduce their negative thinking,” Dr Dang said.

In 2023, there are more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to more than 800,000 by 2058.

NARI Executive Director, Professor Briony Dow, says with the number of people affected by dementia continuing to grow, this research is increasingly important.

“Thank you to the Dementia Australia Research Foundation for their recognition and support of Dr Goh and Dr Dang’s ongoing research, as they work towards ensuring people with dementia and their carers have access to the best possible support, and are able to live as well as possible,” Professor Dow said.

Dr Anita Goh and Dr Christa Dang are available for interview.

Media Contact: Olivia Joyce – 0448 129 595