NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow
02 9399 1269
Dr Kylie Radford is a clinical neuropsychologist and Research Fellow leading the Aboriginal Health and Ageing Group at NeuRA. She completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of Sydney. Her diverse clinical research experience has involved studying early onset dementia, alcohol dependence, and cognitive rehabilitation for acquired brain injuries, mild cognitive impairment and epilepsy, as well as population brain ageing. This has included experience in a range of research methodologies, such as randomized controlled trials, multicentre studies, longitudinal observational cohort studies, development of psychometric instruments and validation studies.
Since 2009, she has worked with the Koori Growing Old Well Study (KGOWS), an epidemiological study investigating ageing and dementia in urban and regional Aboriginal communities in New South Wales. Her current NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship focuses on understanding social and biomedical risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia, and promoting healthy brain ageing in collaboration with urban and rural Aboriginal communities.
The Caring for Spirit project is focused on providing a centralised online source of evidence-based resources and information that are culturally appropriate and appealing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The team is translating the results of current research into culturally relevant and accessible information, education and training for people living with dementia, their families and carers, as well as for Aboriginal Health Workers.
We have engaged the services of Aboriginal staff, consultants, and graphic and website designers to achieve the appropriate look and feel. Community engagement and approval is essential and we are working with our Aboriginal community partners across NSW, as well as through our diverse networks to ensure national impact. Advice and feedback from these partners will be used to refine the resources. Growing old well is something we all want for our communities, but we also know that many things happen in our lives that could influence this process. A diagnosis of dementia can have an influence on our mind, body and spirit. This project is focused on translating the results of current research to keep our mind, body and spirit well, through education and training. This is important for people living with dementia, their families and carers, as well as for Aboriginal Health Workers. It is anticipated that these resources will contribute to enhancing the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their carers who are living with dementia, and contribute to alleviating the high burden of dementia in this population.
High rates of dementia have been observed in Aboriginal Australians. This study aimed to describe childhood stress in older Aboriginal Australians and to examine associations with late-life health and dementia. Childhood stress appears to have a significant impact on emotional health and dementia for older Aboriginal Australians. The ongoing effects of childhood stress need to be recognized as people grow older, particularly in terms of dementia prevention and care, as well as in populations with greater exposure to childhood adversity, such as Aboriginal Australians.
The MMSE is an effective cognitive screening tool in urban Aboriginal populations. The mKICA is a good alternative when illiteracy, language or cultural considerations deem it appropriate. The RUDAS also has adequate validity in this population.
Consistent with previous findings in a remote population, urban and regional Aboriginal Australians face high rates of dementia at younger ages, most commonly Alzheimer's dementia.