Boost to Australian dementia research

An internationally recognised dementia researcher has taken up an appointment in Sydney where he will focus on improving the diagnosis and management of FTD.

An internationally recognised, British dementia researcher has taken up a joint-appointment at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute (POWMRI) in Sydney.

Professor John Hodges is a clinical neuroscientist who, until last month, was Professor of Behavioural Neurology at Cambridge University.

His innovative research program will focus on developing improved outcomes and rehabilitation methods for people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

FTD is the second most common form of dementia in people under 65 but very little is known about it, compared to other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Hodges hopes to develop effective tools for the assessment of people with disorders affecting fundamental aspects of memory, language and social cognition.

His research looks at the “whole person” as well as investigating molecules and genes.

“We are interested in how these disorders affect people, how caregivers cope, how to improve diagnosis and management, and we are also interested in getting to grips with the basic mechanisms in the brain,” said Professor Hodges.

“FTD is under-diagnosed and few people understand how to manage it. We are holding a day seminar for professionals in NSW to which we have had 110 sign-ups and we have had to turn away another 50, so I think there is a lot of interest.”

Professor Hodges is conducting his research with an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship and has been appointed Professor of Cognitive Neurology.

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