Author: dean_alexander

All of Government Showcase

Ageing Well is excited to be taking part in this year’s All of Government Showcase. The Showcase, which takes place on Tuesday 9thApril, features a raft of government initiatives designed to provide New Zealand with “seamless services”.

The theme of this year’s Showcase, “Re-imagine. Innovate…Curious?”, is spotlighting government initiatives like Ageing Well that are innovative and collaborative. It represents an “opportunity to share, learn about and be inspired by the work going on in this space across local and central government.”

Ageing Well’s Director Assoc. Prof. Debra Waters and Manager Lisa Davis will be at our stall on the day where they will be sharing our stories and  successes.

If you are interested to learn more or would like to register your interest to attend the event, please click the link below:

Visit All of Government Showcase Website

We will be tweeting (#AOGShowcaseNZ) about the event on the day and will also write about our experiences in our May newsletter.

Ageing Well and Building Better Homes, Towns and Citiesare the two National Science Challenges that were invited to attend this year’s AoG Showcase.

Filed under: Events

Research Featured in North&South

Dr Hamish Jamieson, an Ageing Well Principal Investigator, has had his research featured in April’s issue of North&South. 

The article (the cover story), which explores the issues of overmedication and overprescribing, drew attention to Dr Jamieson’s Drug Burden Index research.

Like the research study, the article noted a correlation between certain medications and falls risks.

Ageing Well is delighted that Dr Jamieson’s important research continues to generate interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Find the magazine story details here.

Filed under: Press, Research

Improved access to greenspaces needed

Ageing Well Director, Associate Professor Debra Waters, is a co-author of a new study that argues older adults need improved access to green spaces (e.g. gardens, parks).

Further information

  • You can read more about the research in a media release from the University of Otago;
  • You can read the study article here:

Heezik, Y. van, Freeman, C., Buttery, Y., & Waters, D. L. (2018). Factors Affecting the Extent and Quality of Nature Engagement of Older Adults Living in a Range of Home Types. Environment and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518821148

 

 

 

Filed under: Publications, Research

Ministry grants supporting age-friendly communities

From Office For Seniors Webpage:

The Office for Seniors’ Community Connects fund supports communities to become Age-friendly.

The fund targets projects to promote the inclusion and contribution of older people in community life, and support their community to prepare for an ageing population.

Find out more about Age-friendly communities here.

You can apply for funding to either:

  • start development of an Age-friendly Communities Plan, or
  • implement an Age-friendly Community project.

Grants have a value up to $15,000 (the fund has an annual budget of $100,000). All funded activities funded must be completed within 12 months.

There are up to two grant rounds each financial year.

The current round will open in February and close on 7 April.

Further information

Please visit the Office for Seniors website

Filed under: Funding

Novel stroke treatment has scientists excited

Prof John Reynolds with Paul Robertson Linch

In a world-first, Professor John Reynolds and his team at Otago University have gone against traditional thinking, targeting the healthy side of the brain, rather than the area around the stroke, with electrical stimulation.

“Putting an electrode in the healthy side of the brain when someone has a stroke on the other side is really not a conventional thing to do,” Reynolds said.

“We are potentially putting something that could be risky on the good side.”

Studies show a third of the 9,000 people who have a stroke each year will never regain full movement.

Reynolds theorised that the healthy side of the brain was overcompensating for the damaged side, and inhibiting its recovery.

But to test his theory, he needed the help of the only man in the world with a patent for the technology – pioneering Belgian neurosurgeon Dirk de Ridder.

He had also tried to treat the damaged part of the brain, without success.

“So when John came up with this new idea to treat the healthy part in order to influence the diseased part. I thought it was a brilliant idea,” he said.

Otago University’s Professor John Reynolds consults 61-year-old Paul Robertston-Linch, who volunteered to wear a device designed to help with stroke recovery.

Together, they developed a novel device, and with funding from the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, were able to put it to the test.

During surgery, de Ridder places an electrode over the brain’s motor cortex, which controls movement.

A wire is tunnelled under the skin to the chest, where a stimulator is implanted – similar to a pacemaker.

“From a surgical point of view, it’s very safe. We don’t even see the brain because it is covered by the dura mater,” he said.

Two men volunteered to trial the device, including 61-year-old Paul Robertston-Linch.

Four years ago he had a stroke at work, which initially robbed him of his speech, and all movement down his right side.

Despite rehabilitation, he still couldn’t use his right arm and hand.

“I guess it fascinated me,” he said.

“I thought ‘I’ve got nothing to lose.'”

He can’t feel the stimulator at all, which is only activated by another device when he has physio.

Reynolds said the initial results are exciting.

The men couldn’t grip anything when they started, and at the end could lift at least 7kg.

More importantly, they had regained fine motor skills which can hamper stroke patients.

“The stimulator doesn’t make them better – it’s the rehabilitation. What we are trying to do is allow parts of the brain to wake up during that session and form new connections.”

Studies show a third of the 9,000 people who have a stroke each year will never regain full movement.

Reynolds theorised that the healthy side of the brain was overcompensating for the damaged side, and inhibiting its recovery.

But to test his theory, he needed the help of the only man in the world with a patent for the technology – pioneering Belgian neurosurgeon Dirk de Ridder.

He had also tried to treat the damaged part of the brain, without success.

“So when John came up with this new idea to treat the healthy part in order to influence the diseased part. I thought it was a brilliant idea,” he said.

Together, they developed a novel device, and with funding from the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, were able to put it to the test.

During surgery, de Ridder places an electrode over the brain’s motor cortex, which controls movement.

A wire is tunnelled under the skin to the chest, where a stimulator is implanted – similar to a pacemaker.

“From a surgical point of view, it’s very safe. We don’t even see the brain because it is covered by the dura mater,” he said.

Two men volunteered to trial the device, including 61-year-old Paul Robertston-Linch.

Four years ago he had a stroke at work, which initially robbed him of his speech, and all movement down his right side.

Despite rehabilitation, he still couldn’t use his right arm and hand.

“I guess it fascinated me,” he said.

“I thought ‘I’ve got nothing to lose.'”

He can’t feel the stimulator at all, which is only activated by another device when he has physio.

Reynolds said the initial results are exciting.

The men couldn’t grip anything when they started, and at the end could lift at least 7kg.

More importantly, they had regained fine motor skills which can hamper stroke patients.

“The stimulator doesn’t make them better – it’s the rehabilitation. What we are trying to do is allow parts of the brain to wake up during that session and form new connections.”

– Aotearoa Science Agency

Filed under: Press, Research

Ageing Well & Brain Research New Zealand announce co-funding

The Ageing Well National Science Challenge and Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) have just agreed to co-fund three research projects led by BRNZ investigators, awarding a total of $277,339.

This co-funding marks the first step in a partnership that Ageing Well and BRNZ plan to strengthen over the years to come, with likely further collaborative support for research projects in the future.

BRNZ, a national Centre of Research Excellence, has a major focus on the ageing brain and particularly discovering therapies and interventions to delay and treat many age-related neurological diseases that affect New Zealanders. BRNZ Co-Directors Professors Peter Thorne and Cliff Abraham welcome this co-funding partnership saying that “it will enable researchers and clinicians to extend the scope of their research through collaborations and particularly to extend their research more into the community. We are particularly pleased that this research includes studies involving Māori and Pasifika communities. We look forward to working yet more closely with Ageing Well in the future.”

The Ageing Well National Science Challenge is a national research collaboration with a vision to add life to years for all older New Zealanders. Ageing Well Director A/Prof Debra Waters comments: “This is an important and timely initiative and reflects a common interest in the ageing brain. We look forward to working more closely with colleagues from Brain Research New Zealand to identify other co-funding opportunities.”

The co-funded projects of this first funding round are:

Long-term effectiveness of health and wellness coaching: Three-year follow up in a randomised clinical trial for prevention of cardiovascular disease
PI: Dr Rita Krishnamurthi, AUT
Total funding $91,513

Project description:
Despite 80% of strokes being preventable, the number of people affected by and dying from stroke is increasing around the world. Moreover, midlife vascular risk factors are shown to be associated with later life cognitive impairment and dementia. The recent New Zealand Health Survey showed that the prevalence of modifiable risk factors in NZ is high.

The aim of this study is to determine the long-term effectiveness of Health and Wellness Coaching (HWC) intervention in reducing cardiovascular disease risk and prevention of cognitive impairment compared to usual care. It investigates the effectiveness of HWC, targeting people in the community with a moderate to high cardiovascular disease risk in a randomised control trial.

HWC is a client-focused, cost-effective and widely applicable multi-dimensional behavioural intervention which has been shown to empower and sustain behaviour change to improve health and enhance wellbeing in people with chronic disease.

This new funding will allow the current study to extend the length of the follow-up to include an additional assessment at three years post-randomisation.

Adapting Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for Maori and Pasifika People with mild to moderate dementia
PI: Dr Gary Cheung, AI: Dr Margaret Dudley & Dr Kathy Peri, University of Auckland
Total funding $88,338

Project description:
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is an evidence based non-pharmacological treatment for people with a diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia. It aims to actively stimulate and engage people with dementia, whilst providing an optimal learning environment and the social benefits of a group of six to eight participants with two facilitators. CST has been shown to improve cognition, quality of life and communication.

CST was initially developed in the UK and therefore lacking in Māori and Pasifika cultural content and values. The aim of this project is to use a well-validated methodology to adapt Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for Māori and Pasifika people with mild to moderate dementia. The study follows the international guidelines for adapting

CST to other cultures and ultimately, will have direct benefits to Māori and Pasifika people living with dementia and their whānau. Two adapted CST manuals (Māori and Pasifika) will be used to train CST facilitators to deliver an evidence based treatment to Māori and Pasifika with dementia.

Exploring the needs of Pacific families affected by age-related cognitive decline
PI: Prof Pauline Norris & Dr Rose Richards, University of Otago
Total funding $97,488

Project description:
Pacific people in New Zealand have the highest reported rates of ageing-related diseases and chronic conditions. Pacific older people have poorer physical and mental health than non-Pacific older people, and experience unmet health needs and barriers to accessing health care. The number of Pacific people with dementia is predicted to increase, and there is reason to suspect that the incidence of dementia may be higher in Pacific people due to the presence of higher risk factors.

This research aims to investigate what information and services are currently available and used by Pacific people and families affected by age-related cognitive impairment, and to explore unmet needs for information and services. The findings will be valuable in developing ways and mechanisms for delivering any new preventative measures and early interventions.

Filed under: Navigation

Challenge refunded through to 2024!

MEDIA STATEMENT:

Ageing Well National Science Challenge
University of Otago
PO BOX 56, Dunedin
ageingwell@otago.ac.nz

Monday 19 November 2018

 

MBIE APPROVES $20.3M IN EARMARKED FUNDING FOR AGEING WELL TO CONTINUE RESEARCH TO JUNE 2024

Following the conclusion of the MBIE Mid-Way Review, Ageing Well is delighted and honoured to report that the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation has endorsed the release of $20.3M in funding for our next five years of research (July 2019-June 2024). In a media statement published on Saturday, Minister Dr Megan Woods said that all 11 Challenges are “delivering excellent, collaborative, research programmes” which are “fundamentally changing the culture of how science is being undertaken in New Zealand.” The positive outcome of the Mid-Way Review enables Ageing Well to continue at full steam with our next funding round, which is already well advanced (see below).

The Chair of Ageing Well, Dr Dianne McCarthy (CNZM, CRSNZ), noted that this decision validates the “world class, collaborative research that has been undertaken by the Challenge over the last five years.” Ageing Well commissioned 15 research projects in its first five years, which provided a breadth of studies on topics as diverse as supporting older Māori (kaumātua), using community-based exercise and nutrition to combat frailty, harnessing big data to predict falls risks, and using electrical stimulation to aid stroke recovery. Projects have produced many publications, informed policies at many levels of government, and even secured additional funding for future research.      

The second tranche of funding “empowers” Ageing Well to continue to make inroads into achieving our mission, said Challenge Director Prof. David Baxter. After extensive consultation, Ageing Well is focusing its future funding on two Focus Areas: Health and Wellbeing in Ageingand Ageing and Māori.  Currently, there is a call for Expressions of Interest for thematic research programmes that can address the research priorities of these Focus Areas. The Challenge is also holding a series of Roadshows around the country in late November and early December to answer questions about the funding round and its future strategic direction. (Full details can be found on our website.)

Ageing Well looks forward to another fruitful five years of groundbreaking research and stakeholder engagement, and we encourage all interested parties to follow our progress on our website, via our social media platforms, or in our newsletter.

AWNSC_Media_Release_Mid-Way-Review_Outcome [PDF]


Further Information          

Media enquiries about the Review process can be directed to Beck Kraakman of MBIE:

Rebecca.Kraakman2@mbie.govt.nz (021 823 048).

Filed under: Funding, Office

Research seeks to improve health outcomes of older Māori (kaumātua)

From Left: Prof. John Oetzel, Hoki Purcell, and Rangimahora Reddy

How can we support older Māori (kaumātua) to cope with significant life transitions? This is the question at the heart of Ageing Well-funded research undertaken between the Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (RKCT) and the University of Waikato.

And attendees at the pre-conference of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga in Auckland on Monday were treated to some answers from researchers Rangimahora Reddy, Hoki Purcell (both from RKCT) and Professor John Oetzel (Waikato).

Their research focuses on tuakana (older/experienced kaumātua) guiding teina (younger/less experienced) kaumātua through significant life transitions. The most challenging life transitions are when a spouse passes away, followed by a change in health (e.g. loss of independence), which alters how life is lived. The programme seeks to enhance social and health outcomes for kaumātua by supporting them to navigate these difficult transitions.

The researchers developed the kaumātua peer-support programme, with an orientation followed by three conversations between the tuakana and teina. The programme is kaumātua driven and wairua is at the heart of the relationship. Focus groups report that the programme has had a positive impact on their lives.

Further Research Information:

Research Project information: Kaumatua mana motuhake

Newsletter Profile: Professor Brendan Hokowhitu hopes to reframe how we think about ageing

Published: Wednesday 14th November 2018
Filed under: Events, Research

Call for Expressions of Interest

Expression of Interest: Guidelines & Application Form

 

Ageing Well is pleased to announce a call for Expressions of Interest as part of our Tranche 2, which will start in July 2019, subject to Government refunding the Challenge. Our future research will centre around two Focus Areas: Health and Wellbeing; and Ageing and Māori.

 

For more information, please check out our How to Apply page.

 

More details to follow.
Filed under: Funding, Research

Register NOW for our Roadshows

Ageing Well NSC Roadshows: Purpose

We are holding Roadshows in New Plymouth, Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch to:

  • discuss funding opportunitiesavailable for 2019-2024;
  • outline ourFuture Strategy—that is, to explain where we are heading over the next five years, if we are successfully refunded.

There will be presentations and a Q&A session to answer any questions you may have. Tea and coffee will be provided on arrival.

We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our Roadshows.

 

Roadshow Dates and Venues

Roadshows are happening from the end of November through to December. The dates and venues are as follows:

Auckland – 28 November 2018
University Of Otago, Auckland Centre, 10am-12noon
Map.

Wellington – 30 November 2018
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, 10am-12 noon
Map.

Dunedin – 7 December 2018
Otago Museum, 9am-11am
Map.

Christchurch – 10 December 2018
Christchurch School Of Medicine, University of Otago, 1pm -3pm
Map.

New Plymouth – 22 November 2018 
(NB: Special Roadshow within externally-organised conference)
Kaumātua Service Providers Conference, 9am

This Roadshow is only available to Conference attendees. Roadshow attendees will therefore need to complete the separate Conference registration form.

Please note that we may also hold more ad hoc Roadshows as required.

Register Here for a Roadshow

Spaces are limited, so to ensure your place at a Roadshow, please click the Register Now button below and complete the email by filling in the details and selecting the appropriate Roadshow.

Register Now

 

Filed under: Events

MEDIA RELEASE – Life Course Research Symposium

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday 17 October 2018

He Ora Te Whakapiri – Life course research symposium

Human development is shaped by the physical and human environment at all stages of life, so life course research is vital for improving health and wellbeing outcomes. What is the future of life course research in New Zealand? How can we all contribute and be involved? Where is this research heading?

These questions will be addressed at a major symposium He Orate Whakapiri: Unleashing the potential of New Zealand’s life course research this week in Wellington. The conference will be opened by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Juliet Gerrard, at Te Papa on 18 October.

Hosted by the three health and wellbeing National Science Challenges, A Better Start, Healthier Lives and Ageing Well, this symposium brings together leading thinkers about life course research from New Zealand and overseas, and serves to create new synergies to apply innovative research to help New Zealanders live healthy and successful lives.

“Life course research takes researchers out of their comfort zones. It brings together people from disciplines that rarely meet. The goal is to generate new questions and new ways of asking questions about key stages in our lives from birth to our later years,” says A Better Start National Science Challenge Director Professor Wayne Cutfield.

The conference aims to achieve a discussion on improving the health and wellbeing of people from birth to old age and support better lives and brighter futures for the country, and how a life course approach can help us to better understand the impact of events and experiences during important periods of our lives.

“Taking a life course approach is about more than just producing academic outputs. Life course findings are used to inform policy and practice in Aotearoa,” says another of the organisers Dr Reremoana (Moana) Theodore, from Ageing Well and a co-Director of theNational Centre for Lifecourse Research.

Life course research helps us understand the impact of events on our health throughout our life journey. That knowledge should be able to help inform policy and practice so that individuals, whānau and communities can steer a course to more healthy lives.

Healthier Lives Director Professor Jim Mann notes that the symposium will reveal that research also needs to focus on adults and intergenerational effects.

Professor Mann will chair a session of future directions of life course that will include research from Professor Rod Jackson of the University of Auckland that has also potentially identified reversible factors in adult life.

“Life course research to date has identified many determinants of health outcomes.   I hope that discussions at the symposium will clarify which of these warrant translation into interventions which can be tested and translated into actions most likely to improve the health of all New Zealanders.”

Keynote speakers include Professor Janeen Baxter, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, University of Queensland, whose research focus is on the impact of intergenerational transfer of inequality, and Professor Richie Poulton, Director of the National Centre for Life course Research, University of Otago, who leads the Dunedin Study, New Zealand’s longest running longitudinal health and development study.

ENDS

 

For details of the day and programme go to http://lifecourse.nz/programme/

And follow on Twitter #lifecoursenz.

 

 

 

Filed under: Events, Research