Project funded by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation receives $5 million investment from the Government

Friday 9 August 2019

The PainChek® app, initially funded by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation in 2012 has recently received a $5 million investment by the Morrison government.

The investment by government makes provision for a universal PainChek® access license for the more than 1,000 Residential Aged Care Providers in Australia and their 100,000 residents living with dementia for a one year period.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation Chair Professor Graeme Samuel AC said the investment in the capacity building of researchers, Mustafa Atee and A/Prof Kreshnik Hoti, early in their career has paid off in dividends, with the announcement of the investment in their PainChek® app. The research was led by Prof Jeff Hughes from School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University.

“Research into dementia care is now more urgent than ever. Our aim is to help researchers to launch and explore a career in dementia. Mr Atee and A/Prof Hoti are great examples of what can be achieved,” Professor Samuel said.

The PainChek® app is an intelligent pain assessment tool that provides caregivers and health professionals with an efficient, smartphone-based system to determine a person living with dementia’s pain using artificial intelligence through automated facial recognition technology. It works through the use of a smart device’s inbuilt camera, capturing and analysing real-time brief videos for the presence of facial micro-expressions associated with pain. These are then combined with other clinical markers such as vocalisations to calculate pain intensity.

Professor Samuel said the grants given by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation provide a valuable opportunity to researchers who want to make a difference in the field of dementia.

“We are investing in the next generation of Australian researchers who will be among those tackling some of the biggest challenges in this field. These provide vital insights into reducing dementia risk, improving accurate and timely diagnoses and establishing treatment and care options for people who live with dementia,” Professor Samuel said.

“We commend the Morrison Government for its commitment to research in the field of dementia and look forward to more research investment to improve the health, care and lifestyle outcomes for all people impacted by dementia.”

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Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 438,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

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(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

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Media contacts: Fiona Wade Manager Media & Communications, fiona.wade@dementia.org.au, 0407 019 430; Gabrielle Prabhu Senior Media & Communications Advisor, gabrielle.prabhu@dementia.org.au, 0447 253 583.

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