Dementia in the spotlight

A series of Australian projects are underway to combat the growing rates of dementia accompanying an ageing population.

The Australian Government's 2017 Budget commitment of $200 million to the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative has supported 127 research projects aimed at dementia prevention, management and hopefully finding a cure.

Projects range from ultrasound technology to clear a toxic protein from the brain, studying the impact of childhood stress as a dementia risk factor, to training staff in massage, music and reminiscence therapies.

Dementia is the second most common cause of death in Australia. For women, it is the leading cause.

There are 425,000 Australians living with dementia. Three in 10 people over the age of 85 and almost one in 10 people over 65 have the condition. Many suffer from a sense of isolation and lack of purpose due to the lack of awareness of dementia.

Without a medical breakthrough, it is predicted that more than 1.1 million Australians will be living with dementia by 2056.