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AUSTIN HEALTH

Brief info

A/Professor Michael Woodward MB BS MD FRACP
Head of Aged Care Research and M emory Clinic , Austin Health, Heidelberg, VIC.
Associate Professor Michael Woodward is Head of Aged Care Research and the Memory Clinic at Austin Health in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a specialist in geriatric medicine with major interests in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. He is Principal Investigator for numerous research trials of new therapies for AD and related disorders. He is immediate Past President of the AC4R – now called Dementia Trials Australia, that brings together researchers into therapeutic agents for dementia. He is also a member of the Board of the Dementia Alzheimer Research Foundation, which annually administers over $10 million of dementia research funding. He is one of now 3 Honorary Medical Advisors for Dementia Australia.

Michael Woodward’s publication record includes over 140 original research and review articles. He has been awarded his MD on the overlap between the dementia syndromes. More recent research interests have focussed on characterizing the frontal (dysexecutive) variant of Alzheimer’s Disease.
He is a Fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, the Australian Wound Management Association (AWMA- now Wounds Australia) and of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and has long served each of these professional bodies, including being President of AWMA and AAG (Vic) and chairing the Committee for Physician Training that oversaw the training of all RACP trainees. He is currently Chair of the Accreditation Committee of the Adult Division of the RACP, accrediting training and training sites for Basic Physician Training and sits on the Adult Division Education Committee of that College.


Topic : PREPARING FOR NEW TREATMENTS

The Good-25 years of failures to develop effective AD therapies have led us to a far greater understanding of AD risk factors, pathology, subtypes and clinical progression. And the field is not holding its breath for a cure. We had become almost resigned to reducing risk, management and support. BUT… we now have disease modifying therapies (DMT’s). And we have “proof of concept”: amyloid matters. The future is rosy- it is likely new therapies will target different molecules/processes and provide even greater disease modification. We’ve done it for MS (partly) and have even made slight headway with MND. Now it is time for AD.
The Bad- there is much more to AD disease modification than removing amyloid. It is likely that this is so even if target preclinical stages. Symptomatic therapies are, at best, modestly effective. The absolute numbers of people with AD/other dementias is increasing rapidly and we have made no progress in disease modification in non-AD neurocognitive disorders.
The how- we need to identify the right patients, have sufficient infusion centres, have neuroradiologists who can detect ARIA, create funding models (don’t hold our breath with PBAC but still possible) and even convince our colleagues that current DMTs work.
And, finally, participation in research needs to be both normalized and expected- by the public, the support organizations and by clinicians, as it is with cancer and cardiovascular disease. Dementia is now the top Burden of Disease in Australia- it deserves a far greater research effort.