University of Tasmania

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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

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 04:12 authored by Morgan, J, Aidan BindoffAidan Bindoff, Kathleen DohertyKathleen Doherty, James VickersJames Vickers, Jane AltyJane Alty
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.


Publication title

Journal of Clinical Neuroscience




Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Churchill Livingstone

Place of publication

Journal Production Dept, Robert Stevenson House, 1-3 Baxters Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland, Midlothian, Eh1 3Af

Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Preventive medicine

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