First round of funding for dementia research boost

By on the Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Federal Government has made good on its promise to target the prevention and treatment of dementia with the release of $32.5 million worth of research grants.

The move is a bold callout to the country’s best researchers, encouraging them to get behind the fight against dementia.

The Minister for Health Peter Dutton made the announcement last Friday while visiting the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research in Brisbane.

He urged cross-disciplinary groups to apply for the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHRMRC) Dementia Research Team Grants, which will fund five teams for up to $6.5 million each over five years.  

Mr Dutton said recent studies indicate dementia had overtaken cancer as the most feared disease for adults over 55.

“Our understanding of how to diagnose and treat cancer has made great progress over the last few decades, but the same cannot be said for dementia,” he said.

“We fear it because we know so little about it.”

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as the third leading cause of death in the country.

More than 300,000 Australians currently have the disease, with that figure is expected to triple by 2050.

The research grants will support study into the causes of dementia, improved methods of prevention and innovative treatment options.

The funded groups will also look at how to improve the quality of life for people who already have dementia, as well as ways to support their carers.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Graeme Samuel AC welcomed the announcement.

“We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this call for applications and will continue to work with NHMRC to ensure that consumers are centrally involved in the new activities and that the research reflects their priorities.”

Image: The Minister for Health Peter Dutton (third from left) at the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research last Friday. CONTRIBUTED.

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