Alzheimer's disease preceptorship

Like many countries, Australia is experiencing the pressures of an aging population. One such pressure is the increased incidence of dementia associated with this aging population.

Recognising this significant burden of disease caused by dementia, Roche Diagnostics Australia has held a number of educational webinars and events on the topic. We take a closer look at our most recent preceptorship event, designed to upskill Australian health care professionals working with people with dementia. 

Alzheimer's disease in Australia

In February 2023, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released an updated report entitled Dementia in Australia. Reporting on 2022 data, Australia experienced a concerning increase in the amount of healthy life lost due to dementia among Australians aged 65 and over.

The AIHW estimates that close to 400,000 Australians live with dementia, and 70% of the diagnosed cases have Alzheimer’s disease (Reference 1).

An early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is key to being able to treat the disease. When people receive a timely AD diagnosis before the disease has advanced, they can put in place measures to keep them mentally, physically, and socially active in planning for their future.

In providing better outcomes for everyone in Australia, Roche Diagnostics Australia is committed to advancing the range of in vitro diagnostics tests available in Australia. 

One such test is for Alzheimer's disease. Characterised by the abnormal accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) and tau proteins in the brain, traces of these 'biomarker' proteins can be detected in the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of people with Alzheimer's disease (Reference 2).

The above footage was taken in Melbourne, February 2023 at a Roche organised Alzheimer's disease preceptorship, hosting some 80 guests (including speakers) at the event. 

Key Opinion Leaders in Dementia

Recognising this significant burden of disease caused by dementia, Roche Diagnostics Australia has held a number of educational webinars and events on the topic of dementia.

Most recently, in February 2023 Roche hosted an event entitled "Preceptorship meeting on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s Disease". The industry event hosted some 70 delegates at the Marriott Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. 

To entice neurologists, geriatricians, psychologists, and other specialists with an interest in treating dementia to travel from interstate, Roche invited a who's-who of Australian key opinion leaders in the field of dementia, to speak at the preceptorship.

The first speaker was Associate Professor Michael Woodward, AM, Director and Clinical Head of Aged Care Research, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Austin Health. A/Prof. Woodward recently featured in an ABC News article on dementia and was kind enough to act as chair at the event and mediate much of the delegate Q&A session. 

Also presenting at the event was Professor Colin Masters, a professor of dementia research at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne. Prof. Masters has focused his career on research in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. His work over the last 40 years is widely acknowledged as having had a major influence on Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, Professor Sharon Naismith presented on the topic of cognitive and neuropsychological assessment at the preceptorship. A clinical neuropsychologist, NHMRC Dementia Leadership Fellow, Professor Sharon Naismith also heads the Healthy Brain Ageing Program at the Brain and Mind Centre, a one-of-it's-kind early intervention research clinic for dementia.

Networking and engagement

Two videos shown on this web page captured the success of the event.

The first video captures the depth of engagement by delegates, particularly when invited to partake in a robust Q&A session. The evening networking session further facilitated the sharing of resources and ideas among the delegates, from all around Australia. Early career clinicians were invited to meet with distinguished industry leaders to help increase their expertise in the diagnosis and management of MCI and early dementia.

The second video features more detailed answers to questions asked of some of the key opinion leaders who spoke at the event (above).

At its conclusion, the preceptorship succeeded in up-skilling dozens of health care professionals in the various emerging treatment and therapy options for Alzheimer's disease.

Over 2020–2021, Roche Diagnostics engaged more than 6,294 healthcare professionals through approximately 1,263 educational events and training across 15 countries (Reference 3). That averages to 12 events per week, with virtual or remote access available to a majority of these events!

Our vision is to realise the right treatment for the right patient at the right time through education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment, transforming the lives of people everywhere.

Reference 1 - (Last Accessed: 28/03/2023)

Reference 2 -  (Last Accessed: 28/03/2023)

Reference 3 -  (Last Accessed: 28/03/2023)