Dementia now Australia's second leading cause of death after heart disease

image - Perminder Sachdev 3 8 1

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), dementia deaths are on the rise in Australia and the disease is now the nation’s second biggest killer, after heart disease. Deaths associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease are up by 30 per cent in the last 5 years.

Professor Perminder Sachdev, co-director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at the University of New Wales, said there had not been enough investment in dementia research. "The investment in dementia research has lagged behind other diseases considerably," he said. He also said that a cure for dementia was likely to be a long way off "but that shouldn't make us very pessimistic because I think we are finding there are a number of things one could do to possibly prevent dementia."

Professor Sachdev will lead a new research project at CHeBA, The Dementia Momentum, which aims to pool international research on dementia.

Richard Grellman, chairman of Genworth Mortgage Insurance, IPH Limited and AMP Foundation, said The Dementia Momentum would also ask the private sector to chip in to pay for research on dementia prevention. Mr Grellman said corporate Australia could play a bigger role to fund future research on the brain.

31 Mar 2015
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