Dementia prevention: the time to act is now

Terence WH Chong, Helen Macpherson, Mia A Schaumberg, Belinda M Brown, Sharon L Naismith and Genevieve Z Steiner, For the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research, Dementia Prevention Special Interest Group*
Med J Aust 2021; 214 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50972
Published online: 15 March 2021

A multilayered action plan is needed for a substantial, timely and sustained investment in dementia prevention

In 2012, the Australian Government declared dementia as the ninth National Health Priority Area. Eight years later, dementia is the greatest cause of disability in Australians aged over 65 years, the second leading cause of mortality, and the highest in women.1 Today, more than 459 000 Australians live with dementia, and this number is expected to exceed one million by 2056.2 The societal, economic and health care burden of dementia is unprecedented, with significant impacts on individuals, caregivers and families. In addition to therapeutic advances, improved and timely diagnosis and coordinated person‐centred care, dementia prevention and risk‐factor management are our best chance to make a difference.3 How do we tackle dementia prevention cost‐effectively in the post‐pandemic era?

  • 1 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, QLD
  • 5 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 6 Centre for Healthy Ageing, Murdoch University, Perth, WA
  • 7 Charles Perkins Centre and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 8 NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW


* The other members of the Dementia Prevention Special Interest Group who contributed to this article include: Kaarin Anstey, Janice Besch, Henry Brodaty, Amy Brodtmann, Michele Callisaya, Eleanor Curran, Maree Farrow, Paul Gardiner, Johnson George, Frini Karayanidis, Hannah Keage, Michelle Kelly, Nicola Lautenschlager, Yen Ying Lim, Ralph Martins, Ruth Peters, Andrew Pipingas, Rachel Quigley, Sarah Russell, Joanne Ryan, Ashleigh Smith, Edward Strivens, Robert Williamson, Rachel Wong, and Lidan Zheng.

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