WA Centre for Health and Ageing
Discoveries that lead to improving lives
The WA Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA) is a leading education and clinical studies centre that has redefined ageing research in Western Australia. Our researchers continue to discover innovative cures and treatments to advance the health of people in midlife and beyond.
Launched in 2000 with the goal of improving the health of people in midlife and beyond, WACHA brings together experts, researchers, clinicians and students, empowering them to identify and solve the most critical challenges in health research.
Our researchers are internationally recognised as leaders in their field. They work to extend healthy lives, prevent the onset of disabling illnesses, find better ways to treat diseases common among older people and improve the delivery of health services.
We have a strong record of success into the research of dementia, depression, Indigenous health, person centred aged care, stroke and frailty. Our research has resulted in better care and improved treatments for older people.
- Stroke and Heart Disease
Associate Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer is leading a study to improve adherence to rehabilitation techniques in stroke survivors.
The research aims to assist post-stroke patients to regain their independence and improve their quality of life, by applying non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. Stroke rehabilitation is an important part of recovery after stroke.
This project was made possible by funding from the National Stroke Foundation.
- RESPOND falls prevention
The RESPOND project connects patients with proven fall-prevention strategies and helps them access services such as vision and medication assessments and exercise programs.
The project is being run concurrently in Perth and Melbourne, bringing together some of the country's leading experts on falls including physiotherapists, geriatric and emergency medicine specialists, epidemiologists and psychologists.
The collaboration is aimed at reducing fall injury and therefore relieving pressure on our emergency departments.
Project partners include Monash, Curtin and Notre Dame universities; Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner and Alfred hospitals, the Injury Control Council of Western Australia, the Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation and the George Institute for Global Health.
- Health in Men Study project
The HIMS project has collected data to create a valuable resource that has led to many important findings. The project is currently looking at men who are ageing successfully and the best ways to ward off frailty.
HIMS uses the WA Data Linkage System, a comprehensive electronic health records system.
The data collated includes records for all inpatient hospital admissions, all births, all registered cancers, all deaths, and all public sector mental health service contacts in WA since 1982.
This project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
- Women’s Health
We are currently investigating whether health coaching may be used to help women through the menopause. The study is aimed at preventing depression and mood disturbances in women during their menopausal transition.
The study's approach is similar to that used to prevent heart disease, where multiple risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, poor diet, alcohol use and smoking are targeted simultaneously.
We expect preventing depression during the menopausal transition will have long-term health benefits for older women. If successful, the results of this trial will have implications for the management of women undergoing menopause therapy.
- Indigenous Health and Ageing
There is a disparity between the health of Indigenous Australians and non-Indigneous Australians which has led to a 14 year difference in life expectancy.
Our researchers have been working in partnership with Indigenous Australians, as well as collaborating with researchers from North America, forming part of the Indigenous Cognition & Aging Awareness Research Exchange.
Some of our key achievements through this research so far include:
- Developing the first dementia or cognitive assessment and depression screening tool for older, remotely-living Indigenous Australians.
- Our qualitative research has been recognised by National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC) as being in the ‘Ten of the best NHMRC research projects’, out of 5,000 teams who applied for NHMRC funding.
Find out more about our collaboration with the Aboriginal Ageing Well Research here.
- Healthy Ageing
This project involves a randomised controlled trial of de-prescribing drugs to optimise health outcomes for frail older people.
Older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) often take many medications and these sometimes cause serious side-effects in older people, such as confusion, nausea, constipation, dizziness and falls.
The principle aim of the study is to investigate whether reducing multiple medications is safe among older people living in RACFs. The secondary aims are to determine whether medication reduction improves physical health, cognitive function, and quality of life.
We are currently recruiting a total of 954 participants from Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) in WA and NSW.
If you would like more information on the study and details on how to get involved, contact the Opti-Med Study (WA) Study Co-ordinator Ms Jenny Tasker on (08) 9224 2746 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is funded by Australia Project Grant GNT1045662 of the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Professor Osvaldo Almeida
Professor Osvaldo P. Almeida is the Director of Research at the WA Centre for Health and Ageing at The University of Western Australia.Read more
Dr Andrew Ford
Dr Andrew Ford’s research specialisations include studying risk factors for dementia, psychiatric sequela of stroke, and mood disorders.Read more
Professor Leon Flicker
Professor Leon Flicker is a leading expert in health and ageing in UWA’s Medical School, researching general heath, falls, depression and cognitive impairment.Read more
New trial to help stroke rehabilitation
The Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing will use a grant from the National Stroke Foundation to fund new rehabilitation therapy for stroke survivors.Read more
WACHA awarded funding to fight dementia
Two researchers from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing have received a portion of the Federal Government funding to tackle the causes and impacts of dementia – the second-leading cause of death in Australia behind heart disease.Read more
Health and ageing researcher named young pharmacist of the year
A PhD student at The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Health and Ageing has been named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Young Pharmacist of the Year.Read more
E-Ageing has an educational resource about the ageing process and associated diseases for both medical and paramedical professionals. It aims to foster positive attitudes towards older people.Find out more