Dementia Australia celebrates 25 years

Dementia Australia

Friday, 26 April, 2024

Dementia Australia celebrates 25 years

A new report has been released by Dementia Australia, marking 25 years in research support and innovation.

The More than a Cure: 25 Years of Impact report highlights some of the more than 380 game-changing research projects that have advanced due to more than $31 million provided by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation over the past quarter century.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation Chair and Dementia Australia Patron Professor Graeme Samuel AC said the Foundation had spent 25 years funding revolutionary projects to expedite medical breakthrough and to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

“During this time, they’ve enhanced our understanding of dementia at a cellular level and have developed models of care that are improving life for people living with dementia and their carers,” Samuel said.

“Dementia Australia Research Foundation funds researchers across all stages of their career but maintains a particular focus on supporting Australia’s talented new and early-career dementia researchers. A recent survey of grant recipients over the past 25 years found that 75% were still working in dementia research and 97% had mentored new researchers in the field.”

One of the researchers who received funding from Dementia Australia Research Foundation is Dr Rachel Buckley, who was awarded a two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2014.

Buckley said the Fellowship was a huge step in her research career, which has ultimately led to her running her own laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is Harvard University’s largest teaching hospital.

It’s in this lab, in the Department of Neurology, where Buckley is producing cutting-edge research on how dementia impacts men and women differently.

“We’re one of the first groups to show that women are very different to men in their risk for pathology,” she said.

“We’ve found over and again that older women show much higher levels of tau, a brain protein that becomes toxic in dementia.

“Our most recent finding is that even middle-aged women have higher levels of tau, which we think is related to menopause. The use of hormone therapy may have a dual role in reducing or increasing the risk of dementia.”

Dementia Australia Patron Ita Buttrose AC OBE and a former president of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation said the Dementia Australia Research Foundation had played a significant role in enhancing the understanding of dementia over the past 25 years.

“It’s predicted that the number of Australians living with dementia will approach 800,000 in the next 35 years. However, with continued commitment and support from researchers and donors, by the time we get there, we can be closer to a medical breakthrough and, ultimately, a cure,” she said.

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