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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, Bindoff, A ORCID: 0000-0002-0943-2702, Doherty, K ORCID: 0000-0002-0122-0123, Vickers, J ORCID: 0000-0001-5671-4879 and Alty, J ORCID: 0000-0002-5456-8676 2021 , '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 , doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2021.11.005.

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Abstract

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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Morgan, J and Bindoff, A and Doherty, K and Vickers, J and Alty, J
Keywords: ageing, medical education, dementia, risk factors, medical students
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
ISSN: 0967-5868
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.jocn.2021.11.005
Copyright Information:

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

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