Blog: The Brain Dialogues

30 May 2023

PhD Students Excel at CHeBA

PhD Students Excel at CHeBA
Dr Rebecca Koncz
HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au The breadth of research groups and studies at CHeBA make it a leader in the global epidemiology of dementia, with the data available making the Centre a rich resource for not just researchers, but also students.  According to the Co-Directors of CHeBA, Professor Perminder Sachdev and Professor Henry Brodaty, the calibre of students the Centre has supported has been outstanding.  Recent PhD graduate, Dr Rebecca Koncz, is no exception. Dr Koncz led a world first study using data from CHeBA’s long-standing Older Australian Twins Study, using a brain… Read More

The Keys to Growing Old Well

The Keys to Growing Old Well
Mrs Patricia Segal
HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au Across the globe, people are fascinated and intrigued by centenarians – the group of incredible human beings that defy the odds and live to 100 and beyond.  Over the last 20 years, the number of Australians who were living to over 85 years of age has risen by 110%; an extraordinary increase and begs the question as to whether this trajectory will continue. Sydney near-centenarian Mrs Patricia Segal is the hallmark of positive ageing. She is a participant in CHeBA’s Sydney Centenarian Study which explores the genetic and environmental determinants of… Read More
27 Apr 2023

Change Makers | Marina Oliveira

Development Coordinator, UNSW Medicine & Health, Marina Oliveira, is a proud member of the CHeBA Change Makers - Next Gen Philanthropy program. Change Makers are an exclusive group of next generation philanthropists aged 18-40 who are supporting critical research into Alzheimer's disease and other dementias for a brighter future in ageing.   What does it mean to you personally to be a ‘philanthropist’? Personally, for me it’s about contributing to the community and the world for a better future. Although I am neither a doctor nor in a position to have a significant impact on the world… Read More
2 Nov 2022

Ageing With Resilience

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au For the first time in three years, seniors from across Sydney were able to attend an in-house version of the Eastern Suburbs Older Persons’ Mental Health Service’s annual forum which seeks to encourage a paradigm shift in the approach to ageing. The official opening of the Secrets of Ageing with Resilience forum was made by Deputy Chair of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Dr Debra Graves, who acknowledged the importance of the theme and its relationship to positive mental health promoting healthy communities. Professor Henry… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Daughter's Perspective, with Francesca Wood

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au After losing her Mum to dementia in May 2020, Francesca Wood has a vision for society to address dementia the way we approach cancer, and for people to take their brain health as seriously as their physical health.  Following the first signs, it took nearly five years for Mrs Helen Reading to be diagnosed with vascular dementia.   According to Francesca, there was initially a lot of denial that anything was wrong, despite all signs pointing towards dementia.  “Watching the essence of Mum slowly disappear and not recognising me or my two daughters… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Grandson's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au Jackson Skirka, adoring Grandson of 75-year-old Marlene and lawyer with Henry William Lawyers in Sydney, wants his Nan to know that he’ll always be there to support her through her Alzheimer’s journey, and do everything in his capacity to ensure she feels happy, safe and loved.  Jackson, who visits his Nan in the dementia ward of Belrose Nursing Home every few weeks, acknowledges how challenging the dementia journey is – for the individual, for carers and family members.  “My beautiful Nan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 3 years ago.  “… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Daughter's Perspective, with Eileen Hoggett

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au KPMG’s National Managing Partner of Audit, Assurance and Risk Consulting, Eileen Hoggett, lost her beloved Mum, Christine Moloney, to younger onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013.   Looking back, Eileen says it is hard to pinpoint the first moment she realised something was different but does recall that in the lead up to her diagnosis, her Mum stopped calling regularly and avoided long conversations.  “In hindsight, I think Mum had started finding it difficult to answer questions about what she had been up to and what her plans were for the week,” says… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Son's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au & HELENA HUDSON | h.hudson@unsw.edu.au Head of Middle Markets Distribution and Sales at iPartners, Vito Abbonizio supports CHeBA’s call for dementia care to be seen as a human right, and for improved reform across government and aged care policy.  Italian born Raffaele Abbonizio is 87 years of age and effectively bed bound, a disheartening picture for Vito who describes his Dad as a personable, talkative tradesman.  Over the course of a year, his cognition declined so rapidly that he lost the ability to speak, walk, feed and take care of himself… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Husband's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au For Michael du Chateau, dementia is a thief. A cruel and brutal thief that is stealing the life of his much-loved wife, Jilly. Jill was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease when she was in her late 50’s. According to Michael, she began having reactions to situations that were outside of her usual behaviour.  “From that point, I had to bite the bullet and organise tests, coordinate a brain scan, talk to a neurologist, and speak with a dementia specialist." “I had to start down that brutal road.” Together, they share three sons and a… Read More
11 Oct 2022

The Secrets of Ageing With Resilience

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au The last three years of a global pandemic have intensified health impacts on the lives of older Australians in many ways, challenging their coping mechanisms and consequently their levels of resilience.  The Eastern Suburbs Older Persons’ Mental Health Service (OPMHS) - in partnership with UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) - is giving attention to the topic of resilience at their free annual forum for seniors, to be held from 10am to 1pm on Wednesday, 26 October 2022 at The Juniors, Kingsford.  The event will be chaired by… Read More