Professor Daniel Chan and his research team in the Aged Care Department of Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital have been actively involved in the improvement of lives of older people through research projects aimed at “innovative solutions to unresolved areas” related to diseases or care of older people. They use an approach of combining basic science (geroscience) and translational research in order to offer the best chance of solving these “hard to crack nuts”.

Current research projects include:

  1. Parkinson’s disease – Plasma biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease for early accurate diagnosis and predicting cognitive impairment. Some of these biomarkers may have protective properties against Parkinson’s disease and its progression.
  2. Vascular dementia – 1) Plasma biomarkers indicating high risk for neuroinflammation causing small vessel vascular dementia 2) association of genetic polymorphisms in tight-junction proteins and environmental factors in the vascular dementia, 3)  collaborative studies looking at the possible treatment of vascular dementia.  
  3. Digital health - Using digital care technologies on falls prevention in older people especially in those with cognitive impairment in healthcare settings.  First randomised controlled trial using video clips to help communicate safety message to cognitively impaired patients in hospital setting resulted in 50% less falls in those who were frail or with dementia.
  4. Geriatric outreach services - Establishing and improving an acute outreach service to aged care facilities and evaluating the impact of such service on patients’ emergency department presentations, admissions to hospital and health economic savings.  Preliminary results showed a huge “economical benefit ratio of 1:5” when the new model of acute outreach services to aged care facilities was compared to hospital model.

Our goals

To investigate the biomarkers for early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and vascular dementia and possible cure of these neurodegenerative diseases.

To reduce the incidence of falls using new digital technology, so that chemical or physical restraints for at risk of fall people can be avoided.

To improve the delivery of healthcare services for older people in health or care settings via innovative ideas and to prove the efficacy and safety of new models. 

Research strengths

By combining basic science with translational research, we have a unique strength to solve “not yet resolved research areas”.

Multi-disciplinary Team with basic scientists and clinicians. 

Effective networks of collaborative research – national and international 

Our results

Plasma biomarkers for diagnosis and cognitive impairment prediction of Parkinson’s disease have been published (Molecular neurobiology 2022; Journal of Neurology 2022). The biomarkers include preventive indicators which may slow the progress of the disease.

Preventing falls and improving healthcare services in older people.

Our experts

Research Officers

Research Assistants

Project Coordinators and Research Nurses

Melissa Smead is the Murrumbidgee Local Health District Project Coordinator for the Watch me Grow – Electronic Research Project for Ingham Institute. Melissa has worked for NSW Health for the past 14 years, working in various Project Coordinator roles and in the Public Health Sector. Previously she worked with the MLHD Child and Family team rolling out the pilot focus on New Fathers Program in MLHD. Her education includes a Bachelor in Applied Management and a Post Graduate Certificate in Commerce. Melissa has been recently awarded with a 2021 Award for Excellence at Federation University.

Wendy Pickup is an experienced Registered Nurse/Midwife with 30 years’ experience working in several large Maternity units. Wendy completed a Diploma of Applied Science (Nursing) at The University of Western Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Health Science (Midwifery) at The University of Sydney. During the last two years she completed Maternal, newborn and women’s Clinical Academic group Clinical Research Internship at UTS and has worked solely as a Research midwife/Project coordinator with AUCS and WHITU (Women’s Health Initiative Translation Unit).

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