Dementia & Ageing

HEALTH AREA

There are several well-known diseases where neurodegeneration occurs, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias, in which your memory and ability to think are affected.

Aboriginal ageing

Very little is currently known about how Australian Aboriginal people age. What we do know is that rates of dementia in Aboriginal Australians living in remote and rural areas are up to five times higher than the rest of the Australian population. Almost nothing is known about the prevalence of dementia in urban Aboriginal communities. The Koori Growing Old Well Study explores healthy ageing and cognition in urban Aboriginal communities, in particular looking at how life events affect healthy ageing.

Alzheimer’s disease

We are conducting research into the role of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease in order to find potential targets for therapeutic intervention. We are also studying how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain and body early in the disease, with the aim of developing a diagnostic test. Through our research on healthy ageing, we are working with Indigenous communities to increase our knowledge about ageing and dementia in Australian Aboriginal people living in urban areas.

Dementia

Dementia is a group of brain disorders that affect a person’s memory, thinking and ability to interact socially. It is caused by damaged nerve cells that may occur in several areas of the brain.

Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most common degenerative disease causing dementia in younger adults. Our research is investigating the cognitive, behavioural, psychological and physical brain changes associated with frontotemporal dementia, as well as the impact of the disease on the lives of patients and their families. We are also looking at the genetics of frontotemporal dementia, and are currently conducting animal studies and designing a clinical trial of a potential treatment to slow the disease.

NeuroHIV

There is a growing concern that long-term HIV infection and aging may increase the risk of developing degenerative brain diseases similar to Alzheimer's disease. We are conducting a study to better understand whether long-term HIV infection increases the risk of developing difficulties with memory and concentration in HIV+ individuals aged 45 years or older.

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FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

Ten siblings. One third live (or have passed away) with dementia.

The scourge of dementia runs deep in Lorna Clement's family. Of the eleven children her dear parents raised, four live (or have passed away) with complications of the disease. Her mother also died of Alzheimer's disease, bringing the family total to five. This is the mystery of dementia - One family, with two very different ageing outcomes. You will have read that lifestyle is an important factor in reducing the risk of dementia. We also know diet is a key factor, and an aspect that Dr Ruth Peter's is exploring at NeuRA. Along with leading teams delivering high profile evidence synthesis work in the area of dementia risk reduction, Dr Peters has a particular interest in hypertension (that is, high blood pressure) and in the treatment of hypertension in older adults. “We have known for a while that treating high blood pressure reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, but it is becoming clearer that controlling blood pressure may also help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Now we need to know what the best blood pressure is to protect brain health.” You are invited to read more about Lorna's story and Dr Peter's work, by clicking 'Read the full story' below. Please support dementia research at NeuRA Will you consider a gift today to help Dr Peter's unlock the secrets of healthy ageing and reduce the risk of dementia? Research into ageing and dementia at NeuRA will arm doctors and other medical professionals with the tools they need to help prevent dementia in our communities. Thank you for your support.
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