Dementia 2

CoRE funding contributes to research into slowing onset of dementia

CoRE funding contributes to research into slowing onset of dementia

Last updated 13 December 2016
Last updated 13 December 2016

New Zealand’s first Dementia Prevention Research Clinic at the University of Auckland has begun a collaborative research trial to identify factors that influence progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease to dementia.

“Slowing the disease onset and progression by five years would cut the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 50 percent,” says Professor Richard Faull, co-director of Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ).

BRNZ is one of 10 Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) we fund. It undertakes ground-breaking scientific studies on the ageing brain and aging-related brain disorders.

CoREs are funded to deliver outcomes that benefit New Zealand and the wider world.  By setting up this clinic BRNZ is well-placed to deliver on its long-term outcomes of better health, improved quality of life and positive aging for older people.

A national network of dementia clinics

The Auckland-based dementia clinic which opened in April 2016 is the first of a national network of Dementia Prevention Research Clinics BRNZ is setting up. Two further clinics are scheduled to open in Christchurch and Dunedin next year. The clinics are partly funded by us and partly funded through a philanthropic trust.

“The clinics are a great example of how CoREs are providing significant benefits to improve the health of New Zealanders,” says Dafydd Davies, Manager of the TEC’s Universities Investment Team. 

The clinics involve partnerships between neuroscientists from the Universities of Auckland, Otago, Canterbury and AUT, clinicians from the District Health Boards, and the community. The clinics will allow researchers to test new treatments and lifestyle interventions to slow disease onset and progression, as well as study disease progression and improve detection.

The first phase of the clinics is to recruit people with Mild Cognitive Impairment into a longitudinal study to identify biomarkers, or a biomarker signature, which indicate those who will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The clinics’ work will deliver on another one of BRNZ’s outcomes: to improve understanding of aging-related neurological disorders and improve clinical practice in this area.

Our other CoREs

  • Bio-Protection Research Centre, hosted by Lincoln University – research into natural, sustainable ways of protecting New Zealand from plant pests, diseases and weeds.
  • The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, hosted by the University of Otago – research into how the physical universe is composed and behaves, combined with cutting-edge research that has the potential to underpin advanced technological development.
  • MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington – research into electronic and photovoltaic materials, nanoporous materials for energy and environment-related applications, functional nanomaterials for advanced applications in energy, medicine and sensing, and new nano-tools for cellular studies.
  • The Maurice Wilkins Centre  for Molecular Biodiscovery, hosted by the University of Auckland – research and development of new drugs and vaccines, tools for early diagnosis and prevention of disease, and new models of disease.
  • The Medical Technologies CoRE, hosted by the University of Auckland – research and development of new technologies to improve hospital, community and home-based healthcare.
  • Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga – New Zealand’s Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence, hosted by the University of Auckland – research showing how the creative potential of Māori communities can be realised to bring positive change and transformation to the nation, and the wider world.
  • QuakeCore: Centre for Earthquake Resilience, hosted by the University of Canterbury – research supporting the development of an earthquake-resilient New Zealand where thriving communities have the capacity to recover rapidly after major earthquakes through mitigation and pre-disaster preparation.
  • Te Pūnaha Matatini, hosted by the University of Auckland – research into methods and approaches for transforming complex data about New Zealand’s environment, economy and society into knowledge, tools, and insight for making better decisions.
  • The Riddet institute – fundamental and strategic scientific research, into food material science, innovative food processing, human nutrition and gastrointestinal biology.


Feature image: Brain Research New Zealand principal investigator and clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Dudley (second from left) chats with some of her research participants at the Waitakere District Health Board. Dr Dudley is a Māori researcher conducting research into how Māori experience dementia. Photo courtesy of Brain Research NZ.