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Hot Health - Focus on Wellness and Ageing


Thu 5 Jul 2018, 5:30pm–6:30pm

Where: Barnett Lecture Theatre, Dunedin Hospital, 201 Great King Street, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: georgia8b8

Networking from 5pm with nibbles and drinks.

Featuring presentations by Associate Professor Yoram Barak, Associate Professor Debra Waters, and Dr Sharon Leitch.

The Dunedin Dementia Risk Awareness Project: Pilot Study in Older Adults.

Associate Professor Yoram Barak - Consultant Psychogeriatrician, Department of Psychological Medicine.

Recent recommendations from the USA and UK governmental and academic agencies suggest that up to 35% of dementia cases are preventable. As a pilot study contributing to the design of a probability survey, we canvassed degree of dementia awareness among local older adults.

The modified Lifestyle for Brain Health (LIBRA) scale quantifying dementia risk and protective factors was introduced to a sample of 401 participants. The majority of participants felt they were at risk of suffering from dementia, that this will change their lives significantly, that lifestyle changes will help reduce their risk, that they can make the necessary changes and wish to start these changes soon.

Older adults are not adequately knowledgeable about dementia risk and protective factors. However, they are reporting optimism in their ability to modify risks through lifestyle interventions.

Unlonely Centenarians: Findings from a nationwide assessment in New Zealand.
Dr Sharon Leitch - Senior Research Fellow, Department of General Practice and Rural Health
Loneliness is associated with reduced health-related quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality, and typically worsens with aging. No previous study has examined loneliness in New Zealand centenarians.

The objective of this study was to describe and compare centenarians (100+ years) with the elderly (65-99 years), in terms of the clinical and psychosocial variables associated with loneliness.

Compared to the elderly, centenarians were more likely to be female, widowed and free from depression. Centenarians are unlonely compared to the elderly, especially women. Impaired locomotion was a risk factor for loneliness amongst centenarians, while lack of depression was a protective factor against loneliness.

Centenarians are a unique group to study as a model of successful ageing. Our sample of centenarians were less lonely than other groups studied internationally. We found depression and locomotion were additional variables that affected centenarians’ risk of loneliness. Knowing these variables may help us address risk factors for loneliness in the elderly.

Sarcopenic and Obese: The Skinny-Fat of Ageing
Associate Professor Debra Waters - Department of Medicine and School of Physiotherapy.

In this talk, Debra will provide an overview of body composition and functional change as we age and introduce the concepts of sarcopenia and sarcopenic-obesity. Weight and body mass index (BMI) are commonly used clinical measures but they can be highly inaccurate in older adults who may have normal BMI and weight that masks significant deleterious changes in body composition.

Poor physical function and frailty are associated with this “skinny-fat” body composition and increase the risk of frailty in later life. However, well-designed RCTs have shown that life-style interventions of diet and exercise are effective in reserving the functional decrements associated with sarcopenic-obesity in older persons. Debra will present the results from recent trials and the current thinking around how to prevent and treat sarcopenic-obesity in our aging population.

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