Dr Sam Manger of the Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic.
Dr Sam Manger of the Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic.

Brain ageing clinic project seeks fresh solutions

COAST seniors are becoming shining examples of the positive effects of Lifestyle Medicine through their participation in the Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic (HBAC) research project.

Over the next five years, every week a cohort of volunteers is being accepted into a free program that will take them through a series of activities aimed at reducing a person's risk of dementia. The researchers will also be looking at the causes of cognitive decline and dementia.

President of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr Sam Manger, is one of the University of the Sunshine Coast's Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute researchers working on developing from project data a model for the delivery of Lifestyle Medicine as the first line of defence for chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Lifestyle Medicine uses food, movement, sleep, stress management, social interaction, connection with nature or green time, cessation of smoking and illicit drugs combined with behaviour change, improved confidence and health coaching.

"Some of my patients find it difficult to change their lifestyle behaviours for a variety of reasons and so health coaching and peer support are crucial,'' Dr Manger said. It is only relatively recently that the components of Lifestyle Medicine have been recognised as important to both healthy ageing and healthy brain ageing.

"There isn't as yet any models on how to do it and exactly what impact we will see from this type of intervention," Dr Manger said.

By 2050 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicts there will be one million people in Australia with dementia.

"But recent evidence from the UK is that we could delay the number of people with dementia at a given age by 40 per cent with fairly simple lifestyle changes.''

To register for the project, phone 5430 1133 or email hba@usc.edu.au.


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