Dementia research gets $21m in fed funds

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt says new funding will help research dementia treatments.
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt says new funding will help research dementia treatments.

More than a dozen research projects to better understand dementia will be given a total of $21 million in federal government funding.

The 13 projects focus on risk reduction, prevention and tracking of dementia, the nation's second highest killer.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says it's evident investment is needed in research to develop new treatments and to improve dementia care.

It's predicted that more than one million Australians will have dementia by 2056 unless a medical breakthrough occurs.

"We're committed to ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life's challenges," he said on Thursday.

The latest data from the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare, released on Wednesday, showed dementia is continuing to edge higher as Australia's second biggest killer.

Deaths from dementia including Alzheimer's disease rose from 13,126 to 13,729 year-on-year, with women accounting for more than 8800 of the people whose underlying cause of death was from those conditions in 2017.

The new research projects include the study of how cardiovascular exercise impacts the cognitive decline of high-risk patients, as well as the Mediterranean diet coupled with exercise to reduce both decline and risks.

Another study will consider how to reduce the dementia risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Australian Associated Press