Three Million Australians to Develop Dementia

image - Henry Brodaty 0

The report, Modelling the Impact of Interventions to Delay the Onset of Dementia in Australia, was co-authored by CHeBA Co-Director Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Lee-Fay Low.  Professor Brodaty said that the new statistics provide even more evidence that Australia must invest in dementia research now.

“Our analysis shows that if we can develop an effective intervention or treatment to delay the onset of dementia by just five years, we could spare close to one million people from the personal tragedy of a diagnosis of dementia,” Professor Brodaty said.

“In the short term we may be able to reduce our risk of dementia by better protecting our brain through the lifestyle changes that we know may help,” Professor Brodaty said.

“That includes looking after your body, brain and heart.

“But, in the long term, an increased investment in dementia research is the only hope we have for the development of medical interventions to delay, stop or reverse the diseases that lead to dementia.”

In comparison to other chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, dementia research in Australia is significantly underfunded.  Alzheimer’s Australia is calling for an increased investment in dementia research of $200 million over five years in the 2013-14 Federal Budget.

Glenn Rees, the CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, said this relatively modest amount would bring the total investment in dementia research though the National Health and Medical Research Council to just over $60 million per annum, or around 1% of the costs of dementia in health and aged care.

“Over the past 30 years Australian scientists have led the world in research into the causes and care of dementia,” Mr Rees said.

“However, dementia research funding has not kept pace with other countries, nor has it kept pace with other chronic diseases.  As a result, our dementia research sector is now facing an urgent shortage in capacity.  While the Government has made some positive moves, such as the establishment of a new Partnership Centre for research on cognitive decline, we still need an immediate injection of funds to boost the number of Australian researchers working on dementia over the next 10 years.”

 

Date Published: 
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
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