Australian government allocates $43 million to find dementia cure

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An elderly woman smiles while joking with a nurse during her lunch at the Canevaro old people's home in Lima March 25, 2010. This public institution is one the biggest in its kind in Latin America, hosting almost 400 elderly people, including dependent patients and those with senile dementia. 90 percent of its population are in abandon condition and more than the half used to live in extreme poverty, according to Canevaro's Director, Felipe Aguirre. Picture taken March 25, 2010. Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivi

The Aussie coalition government has announced $43 million in funds to be shared by 76 researchers for supporting innovations to tackle the effects of dementia as well as find new ways of curing and preventing the devitalising disease. The fellowships have been announced as part of the $200-million election commitment to dementia research made by the coalition government.

Dementia has been Australia’s second most common cause of death with approximately 1.2 million Australians involved in caring for someone with the debilitating disease, according to a government press release. Around 330,000 Australians are living with dementia. Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham have made the announcement to ensure Australia’s continued leading position in international best practice.

“This $43 million commitment, which builds on our $35 million research announcement in August, is essential as the number of Australians with dementia is predicted to grow to over one million people in the next 40 years,” said Ley, in the press release. “These fellowships will ensure Australia’s highly skilled, innovative research workforce continues to advance knowledge in dementia and how we can better support people with the disease.”

The new fellows would hope to find ways to create a resilient workforce for dementia care, explore the importance of intensive exercise in protecting ageing brains as well as understand the progression of the disease. It would also help Australia in contributing to the 2025 target of the World Dementia Council to find a modifying therapy or cure, reports Northern Star.

Ley had earlier announcement $35.6 million for the National Health and Medical Research Council’s team grants for dementia research as well as to facilitate the setting up of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research. “While there is currently no cure for dementia, Australia is a world leader in dementia research,” said Ley in the press release. “The Fellows announced today will no doubt make leaps and bounds in our understanding of how best to prevent, diagnose and treat this disease and how best to support people with dementia and their carers.”

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