Dr. Maree Farrow
Maree Farrow 博士
My name is Maree Farrow and I am the Senior Academic Lead for Dementia MOOCs at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania.
On behalf of the Wicking team, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Preventing Dementia Massive Open Online Course or MOOC. The Preventing Dementia MOOC was developed by the Wicking Centre in partnership with internationally leading researchers in the area of dementia prevention.
We developed this course in response to the growing global challenge of increasing numbers of people affected by dementia, and the need for improved awareness of the potential for dementia prevention. In fact, we regard dementia to be the public health issue of the twenty-first century.
The purpose of the Preventing Dementia MOOC is to learn about the potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia and what the current evidence suggests you can do to reduce your risk. We also want to help you to separate fact from fiction, and to understand what those headlines about the latest way to prevent dementia really mean.
Here is an overview of the dementia prevention issues you will learn about and the activities you can undertake during the Preventing Dementia MOOC.
In the Preventing Dementia MOOC you will learn about the important risk factors for dementia – the ones that we can’t change, and also the ones that we can do something about. We know that much of the risk for dementia is associated with ageing and genetics. Older age is in fact the biggest risk factor for dementia and the incidence of dementia increases rapidly after the age of 65.
While inherited forms of dementia are very rare, genetics do play a role in everyone’s risk and that’s something that at the moment we can’t change. Our friends in the Wicking laboratory will explain how our genes and environment interact to influence our risk of dementia.
While genes are important, it’s also estimated that around one-third of dementia cases are potentially preventable by addressing modifiable risk factors. These include things like physical inactivity, low education, and diabetes, and each of the factors will be covered in some detail during the MOOC.
The media reports a seemingly endless stream of risk factors for various conditions and dementia is no exception. However, some of these reported factors are supported by reliable evidence, while others are not, and we will explain the difference.
In the Preventing Dementia MOOC, we’re going to focus on the most significant risk factors for dementia that are supported by the most up-to-date evidence. We’re also going to dispel some of the myths about supposed causes of dementia.
The MOOC is made up of four modules, or sections, and at the end of each module there is a short quiz for you to test what you’ve learned.
As part of the Preventing Dementia MOOC, you will have the opportunity be involved in online discussion forums, to share your ideas about dementia prevention, and to hear those of your fellow MOOC participants from all around the world.
You will also have the opportunity to be involved in research related to dementia prevention. To be successful, this research relies on the participation of people like you, with an interest in improving how we develop initiatives to reduce dementia risk in our community. This research is entirely voluntary of course, and it’s entirely up to you whether you participate or not.
If you are keen to get a measure of your own dementia risk, there will also be an opportunity to undertake an individual dementia risk assessment during the MOOC.
At the end of the Preventing Dementia MOOC, you will be eligible to receive your free personalised certificate of completion, and we also have some enhanced certificate options available.
On behalf of the Preventing Dementia MOOC team at the Wicking Centre, I sincerely hope that you find the MOOC useful and informative, and we’re looking forward to your engagement throughout the course.