RESEARCH: The Federal Government are acting to help find answers to the growing number of older Australian's diagnosed with dementia.
RESEARCH: The Federal Government are acting to help find answers to the growing number of older Australian's diagnosed with dementia.

Government funds help search for dementia answers

THE Federal Government is pouring much-needed funding into dementia research as more ageing Australians are diagnosed with the debilitating illness.

The government confirmed this week that about $40m in medical research project funding is being allocated.

Forty-five projects will receive the funds which will enable them to address the illness and accelerate Australia's fight to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage dementia, including its most common form, Alzheimer's disease.

The growing prevalence of dementia, which is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, is being felt across the world. The World Health Organisation is recognising dementia as a global public health priority.

In 2017 there was about 413,106 Australians living with dementia, and with about 200 diagnosed every day, by 2025 this number is expected to increase to 536,000.

It is more likely to occur among Aboriginal people and over 8% of the funding has a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.

Over $1.2m will be used to support, identify and improve services for indigenous people living with dementia, led by the University of Newcastle's Dr Bryant, working in close collaboration with Aboriginal Health Services.

Dr Nicole Kochan of the UNSW's Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing will receive funding for a world-first study to systematically evaluate and compare several prominent and widely-used computerised neuropsychological test batteries used for assessing cognition in older adults with and without dementia.

"With an ageing population and associated increase in dementia there will be increased demand for neuropsychological assessment, however there are insufficient trained personnel and resources to meet this demand," Dr Kochan said.

"We anticipate that this study will move the field forward and have a major impact on the practice of cognitive testing in older adults with suspected cognitive decline," Dr Kochan added.

Curtin University's Dr Ryusuke Takech will investigate ways in which dementia and diabetes are linked as well as considering the prevention of both.

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.

All projects will be managed by the Commonwealth's leading research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council.

A full list of grant recipients is at www.nhmrc.gov.au.


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