Volunteers are the unsung heroes in new Alzheimer's disease blood test

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dementia Australia wishes to acknowledge the generous contribution made by volunteers to the development of a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease following an announcement recently by The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said that volunteers are the unsung heroes contributing to the success of studies, such as these, that aim to provide improved health and lifestyle outcomes for people impacted by dementia.

In this instance the 273 volunteers from Australia and Japan have shared their time for over ten years with either the Japanese National Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG) or the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Study of Ageing (AIBL), the two studies on which the blood test was designed and then validated.

Christina Ratcliffe, an AIBL study participant in the cognitively healthy group, said that she is overjoyed by the results announced last week.

“My time in the study involved regular memory tests, brain scans and three lumbar punctures to detect amyloid indicators in the brain,” Ms Ratcliffe said.

“It feels great to have had made an impact on dementia research, and this easier and quicker test will be very welcome.”

“We are so grateful to the study participants. We want them to know that their contribution is genuinely making a difference. It is invaluable and it will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” Ms McCabe said.

“Volunteering for research is not just about drug testing and trials but also includes social research and in this study the collection and analysis of biomarkers over time.

“It would be wonderful if this inspires others to become involved in research.”

Professor Colin Masters, Laureate Professor of Dementia Research at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and The University of Melbourne said the new blood test, although still in a research stage, is a game-changer for researchers and may allow clinicians to more easily detect Alzheimer’s disease and at a larger scale– an important step when conducting research.

“It is an honour to be working with the study participants and we would like to join Dementia Australia in acknowledging all the volunteers for their important contribution to dementia research,” Professor Masters said.

If you would like to find out how you can become involved in future research please visit the Dementia Australia Research Foundation https://www.dementiaresearchfoundation.org.au/. The website provides information on current studies and how you can make a difference by volunteering.

More information about the blood test is at https://www.florey.edu.au

ENDS

 

Media Contact: Christine Bolt, christine.bolt@dementia.org.au / 0400 004 553

 


Dementia Australia is the national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 425,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

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(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.

www.dementia.org.au