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Are tomorrow’s doctors prepared to prevent dementia? A cross-sectional study of Tasmanian medical students’ knowledge of dementia risk factors


Morgan, J and Bindoff, A and Doherty, K and Vickers, J and Alty, J, Are tomorrow's doctors prepared to prevent dementia? A cross-sectional study of Tasmanian medical students' knowledge of dementia risk factors, Journal of Clinical Neuroscience ISSN 0967-5868 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Crown Copyright 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2021.11.005


Tomorrow’s doctors are unprepared to prevent dementia. This cross-sectional study invited medical students enrolled in the University of Tasmania 5-year medical degree (MBBS) to participate in an online questionnaire during 2019. This study measured students’ recall of risk factors, prompted and unprompted, for dementia and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) score. Data were collected via an online survey comprising the DKAS, and risk factor questions adapted from the Alzheimer’s Research UK National Monitor Survey, with questions on CVD risk factors added for comparison. Medical students (n = 82) proffered fewer unprompted risk factors for dementia than for CVD and were less proficient at recognizing dementia risk factors from a prompted list. Knowledge of vascular risk factors for dementia was particularly limited. Their broader dementia knowledge was generally adequate and DKAS scores were at the level of a qualified doctor by final year. Whilst medical students’ general knowledge of dementia was satisfactory, their knowledge of modifiable risk factors of dementia was limited. If replicated elsewhere, this raises concerns about whether the future medical workforce is equipped to take a necessary lead role in managing dementia risk reduction. As dementia incidence rises worldwide, and 40% cases are attributable to modifiable risk factors, educational programs may need to urgently address these deficiencies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ageing, medical education, dementia, risk factors, medical students
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Geriatrics and gerontology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Preventive medicine
UTAS Author:Morgan, J (Mr Jonathon Morgan)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, A (Mr Aidan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Doherty, K (Dr Kathleen Doherty)
UTAS Author:Vickers, J (Professor James Vickers)
UTAS Author:Alty, J (Associate Professor Jane Alty)
ID Code:147834
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2021-11-17
Last Modified:2021-12-08

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