Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, have a huge personal impact in addition to being an increasing economic burden to individuals and the community. There are currently no treatments for many of these disorders, and only symptomatic treatment for some.
Current imaging techniques still cannot assess many cellular biological aspects of the brain, particularly at the molecular level. This is the level that is primarily affected in neurodegenerative diseases, and is the level required to definitively diagnose these diseases and to understand their cellular causes. This is why such tissue is needed for research into understanding and curing these disorders.
According to the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing;
• In 2011, it was estimated that 298,000 individuals were living with dementia in Australia
• Those aged 65 years or older, almost 1 in 10 had dementia
• This increased to 3 in 10 who had dementia for those aged 85 years or older.
• With the increase of Australia’s elderly population, dementia cases are expected to triple by 2050.
• In 2010 dementia was one of the leading causes of death behind cerebrovascular diseases and ischaemic heart diseases.
Researchers in Australia and overseas interested in investigating areas such as basic disease mechanisms, earlier and more accurate diagnosis, genetic contributions to diseases, better treatments, and ultimately, cure and prevention, can request this tissue for their research studies.
To be successful in our goals, we rely on the generosity and altruism of people who donate their brains for research and also the scientists who request the tissue seeking to alleviate the suffering that neurodegenerative diseases cause.
Dennis Frost was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia at age 59. In honour of Frontotemporal Awareness Week, he has shared with us some of the impacts the diagnosis has had on his life. Here, he shares how the music of his youth holds even greater relevance to him now and offers him a pathway to the past once again. It is well […]