Three-fold increase recommended for dementia funding

A new report says current dementia research investment is about a third of what it needs to be.

A new report recommends that funding for dementia research be tripled in response to the increasing economic and social impact of various forms of dementia.

By 2030, it is expected that close to half a million Australians will have dementia, costing the taxpayer $8.2 billion.

The findings are outlined in a report written by the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at the University of NSW.

Over the past six years, $13 million – or 0.6 per cent of the total cost of the disease – has been provided for dementia research in Australia.

But the report recommends that to keep pace with the growing burden of dementia, it needs to be closer to 1.5 per cent.

According to report co-author Professor Henry Brodaty, although current initiatives are a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.

“The recent initiatives taken by the Federal Government in establishing three
Dementia Collaborative Research Centres and a program of dementia grants were
encouraging,” he said.

“However, investment in dementia research fell short of what was needed if more effective medical interventions were to be provided to the ever increasing number of people at risk of dementia or with a diagnosis of dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Australia Executive Director, Glenn Rees said early detection and interventions should be a key focus of dementia research.

“Modeling done by Access Economics shows [that] if the onset of Alzheimer’s disease could be delayed by five years, it would result in a 50 per cent reduction of new cases each year with a significant saving to the direct cost of dementia,” he said.

“This emphasises the importance of research strategies directed to early diagnosis and identifying those at most risk of dementia.

“In this way Australians would have earlier access to medications currently being trialled that held out the prospect of modifying the disease.”

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