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Prevalence of Dementia in the Torres Strait

Dr Edward Strivens, Prof Leon Flicker
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution University of Western Australia
Project Description

Recent research indicates an increased prevalence of dementia in Indigenous communities in the Kimberley compared to the general population. It is unclear if Torres Strait Islander communities share this increased prevalence of dementia, although risk factors for dementia, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes are found in higher numbers within Torres Strait Islander communities, similar to Australian Aboriginal populations.

Recently, all residents over the age of 45 years currently residing on Hammond Island in the Torres Strait were invited to participate in a pilot study to estimate the prevalence of dementia on the Island. Results suggested a lower prevalence of dementia than previous research in the Kimberley, although these results may not be generalisable and further research is required to establish the prevalence of dementia within the wider Torres Strait community. The pilot study, did however, demonstrate the appropriateness of the research methodology for a future larger prevalence study.

This project aims to complete the first stage of a wider prevalence study of dementia in the Torres Strait by employing a Torres Strait Islander project officer to assist with community consultation, background research and ethics preparation prior to the data collection stage of the project.

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