World-first app to lead fight against Alzheimer’s disease

Ita Buttrose, National President of Alzheimer's Australia, has heralded an Australian-developed, world-first app as the latest digital tool in the global fight against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Based on the latest scientific research that links brain health and a reduced risk of dementia, to a healthy heart and cardiovascular system,

BrainyApp is the world's first dementia risk reduction app designed to help people monitor and improve their Brain-Heart health.

Ms Buttrose: "Most people are aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke but what isn't well known is that these same lifestyle choices may also lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia."

Developed by Alzheimer's Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation, BrainyApp helps users monitor and improve the physical, mental, dietary and social aspects of their lifestyle.

Dr Christine Bennett, Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee: "The number of Australians with dementia is expected to dramatically increase from 267,000 today to 385,000 people by 2020 - up by almost 50 per cent in just eight years."

Dr Michael Valenzuela, head of the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the University of NSW and author of Maintain Your Brain (ABC Books) helped to develop BrainyApp.

Dr Valenzuela: "People need to start thinking about their brain health earlier in life. The changes in the brain that lead to dementia can start when people are in their 30s and 40s.
Although the evidence is still developing, we are learning that there are a wide range of lifestyle choices and activities that can improve brain health, and which in turn may reduce the risk of dementia."

BrainyApp allows users to take a Brain-Heart health survey about their diet, exercise patterns and lifestyle. It then provides suggestions and ideas about how to improve.

BrainyApp also includes all-new brain games, and encourages users to build Brain-Heart points by staying physically and mentally active, socialising with friends and family, and sharing their progress on Facebook.

One of the brain games - Word Tennis - requires players to unscramble anagrams in order to move a paddle and hit a ball back to their opponent.

Ita Buttrose says it is quite a challenge but also good fun: "I'm looking forward to improving my Brain-Heart score. I expect it might help improve my Scrabble game too."

BrainyApp is available as a free download for users of iPhone, iPod and iPad devices from the App Store.

BrainyApp adds to a range of new and innovative technologies such as interactive websites and GPS tracking devices to assist people with dementia, being developed by Alzheimer's Australia. 

More information about BrainyApp is available at

www.brainyapp.com.au

Users who download BrainyApp by 29 November can also enter a competition to win an iPad2.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Alzheimer's Australia is the charity for people with dementia and their families and carers. As the peak body, it provides advocacy, support services, education and information.

National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500 - An interpreter service is available

www.fightdementia.org.au

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

About the Bupa Health Foundation

The Bupa Health Foundation helps build a healthier Australian community through its support of important health research, health education and other healthy living programs. Established as a charitable foundation in 2005, the Bupa Health Foundation has partnered in over 60 initiatives nationally, with a combined investment of around $17 million, across its key focus areas: promoting wellness, managing chronic disease, healthy ageing, empowering people about their health; and keeping healthcare affordable.

www.bupa.com.au/foundation

Contact Us

For media enquiries or further information please contact:

Fionnuala Maye
Porter Novelli
Email : fmaye@porternovelli.com.au
Phone: 02 8987 2100 / 0432 797 579

Tegan McGrath
Alzheimer's Australia
Phone: 02 6278 8924 / 0417 621 212

Stella Tilkeridis
Bupa Australia
Email: stella.tilkeridis@bupa.com.au
Phone: (03) 9937 4082 / 0400 120 978

About Us

Bupa’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives.

As a leading international healthcare group, we offer health insurance and medical subscription products, run care homes, retirement villages, hospitals, primary care centres and dental clinics. We also provide workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and long-term condition management services.

We have over 22 million customers in 190 countries. With no shareholders, we invest our profits to provide more and better healthcare and fulfil our purpose.

We employ more than 70,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and Chile, as well as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, and the USA.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.

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