“With the help and support from some outstanding people in the dementia prevention field, we launched the International Research Network on Dementia Prevention at a very successful event in London on 17th July,” said Professor Kaarin Anstey, Chair of the IRNDP Leadership Committee, and Director of the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) in Australia.
More than 40 senior academics, representatives from stakeholder institutions, mid-career researchers, early career researchers, PhD students and representatives from global and national health networks attended the launch. They took part in a highly productive discussion on what IRNDP can do to assist researchers and others in working to prevent dementia and improve cognitive health around the world.
“Everyone agreed that the network is essential, important and timely,” said Professor Anstey.
The IRNDP was initiated in Australia. Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty, Director, Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, University of New South Wales and keynote speaker at the event, highlighted Australia’s commitment to the network saying, “Australia is well placed to lead the IRNDP. We have government commitment, and we have shown international leadership as the first country with a population-based risk reduction program.”
Support also came from Dr Tarun Dua from the World Health Organisation who pointed out that, “WHO’s role is about raising awareness, providing guidance and integration into policies and the third thing, which is very much related to IRNDP, is strengthening the evidence base around dementia prevention, sharing, and disseminating evidence.”
Participants took part in a great interactive panel discussion, chaired by Professor Kenneth Rockwood who heads the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) in Canada.
Discussion centred on the role of IRNDP in ―
- supporting robust research and evidence synthesis
- influencing policy or interacting with policy and implementation of policy
- the importance of monitoring and evaluating the impact of policy
- the need to link to existing networks and organisations
- the need to avoid and even reduce duplication in the area of dementia prevention, and particularly to consider linking with non-communicable disease organisations
- the importance of the IRNDP as a hub of knowledge and the potential for an educational and knowledge translation role
- the need for strong links to low- middle-income countries, and
- the benefits and risks of linking with dementia registries
“The meeting and contributions of all participants will help us to move the fledgling IRNDP forward on research and policy projects. Both the leadership committee and independent advisory group will use information gathered at the launch to actively shape IRNDP over the next few months,” said Professor Anstey.
Immediate plans include the development of an e-bulletin to members, special issue journal publications, symposia in the Asia/Pacific region, and a major conference to be held in Asia in 2020.
You can view edited highlights from speakers at the launch: