The Turnbull Government is allocating more than $40 million to medical research projects which will improve the lives of Australians fighting dementia.
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in Australia and we must do everything we can to investigate and the causes and effects of this terrible disease.
People with dementia and their carers helped set the priorities for these research projects and contributed to the expert review which picked the successful grants.
The 45 projects receiving funding are critical to addressing this growing health issue and in accelerating our fight to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage dementia, including its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2017, there are estimated to be 413,106 Australians living with dementia and by 2025 this number is expected to increase to 536,000.2
This is not just an Australian issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises dementia as a global public health priority.
Dementia is more likely to occur amongst Aboriginal people and over 8 per cent of the proposed funding has a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
One of the projects led by Dr Jamie Bryant at the University of Newcastle, and will look at improving timely diagnosis and provision of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia.
Over $1.2 million will go into support, identification and improved services for indigenous people living with dementia, led by Dr Bryant’s team, in close collaboration with Aboriginal Health Services.
Investigating ways in which dementia and diabetes are linked as well as considering prevention of both will be a key part of Dr Ryusuke Takech’s project based at Curtin University.
Finding ways to improve sleep as a way of reducing dementia will be a project led by Dr Craig Phillips from the University of Sydney.
They will explore the pathophysiological mechanisms that link disturbed sleep and circadian rhythm with cognitive impairment and dementia.
This research will investigate how circadian disruption in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea and mild cognitive impairment can affect the body and brain vascular function.
These projects will be administered by the Commonwealth’s peak research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council.
A full list of grant recipients is available on the NHMRC website.
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (cat. no. 3303.0)
2 The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056