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
Users who download BrainyApp by 29 November can also enter a competition to win an iPad2.
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
(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.
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Bupa’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives.
As a leading global health and care company, we offer health insurance, medical subscription and other health and care funding products; we run care homes, retirement and care villages, primary care, diagnostic and wellness centres, hospitals and dental clinics. We also provide workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and long-term condition management services.
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For more information, visit bupa.com.