Joining Team CHeBA for Positive Brain Ageing a Family Affair

08 Jul 2015

CheBA Blog: Joining Team CHeBA for Positive Brain Ageing a Family Affair


Dave Brodaty, son of CHeBA Co-Director Professor Henry Brodaty, is optimistic about the future of brain ageing.

“It is apparent even through Henry’s medical career that our understanding of brain ageing and the medical responses to it have developed considerably,” says Dave.

“Being the eternal optimist, I am confident that with the great minds researching this area, even though a cure may not be attainable yet, the course of brain ageing will be dealt with much better – and become far less of an unknown.”

This is the first year Dave will be entering the City 2 Surf, alongside his father, “a 20 odd year veteran of the run, who is not only internationally renowned in the field, but also in far better physical condition than many men half his age, myself included,” according to Dave.

For Dave, participating with Team CHeBA is a family affair. He will be joining his father, and taking on the challenge to improve his health for the sake of his daughters Zara, aged 5, and Liora, 4.

Current thinking suggests it takes 25 years for symptoms of dementia to show.

“If we can halve the rate of that process, and build it up over 50 years, we can actually delay it showing up in our lifetime at all,” says Professor Henry Brodaty.

A range of modifiable lifestyle factors have been identified by researchers as crucial for healthy brain ageing, among them physical exercise.

Joining Team CHeBA for this year’s City 2 Surf won’t just help fund critical research into dementia prevention, it’s also a great start to improving your own brain health.

Funds raised by Team CHeBA in the 2015 City 2 Surf will go towards The Dementia Momentum®, a movement to bring researchers and the community together to change the future of dementia incidence by increasing awareness, reducing prejudice and raising funds for “big data” research into risk and protective factors for the disease.

CHeBA Co-Director Professor Perminder Sachdev says delaying the onset of dementia by five years could halve the overall rates of dementia, because after the age of 65, the prevalence doubles every five years.

“[Delaying onset] is something we think may be achievable within the next one or two decades,” says Professor Sachdev.

“But what we need is more research and that’s where The Dementia Momentum® comes in. For every dollar spent on research for dementia there is probably $7 spent on cancer, so there is a long way to go to catch up with other fields.”

While CHeBA researchers continue their work on identifying modifiable risk and protective factors for dementia, Dave is implementing his father’s findings – and example - at home.

“My wife and I have tried to foster our girls’ thirst for knowledge. The old adage of ‘use it or lose it!’ means we are doing what we can to stave off detrimental brain ageing. Henry is a beacon of ‘best practice’ living. He is constantly mentally and physically active. It is, I assume, this mental agility, which allows him to be a leader in his field and also a really great dad.”