Dementia priorities under spotlight

old lady sits on bed and looks out window

A survey commissioned by the National Health and Medical Research Council has revealed that finding ways to prevent dementia, improving diagnosis and better care are considered top priorities for future dementia research.

Released today, the survey sought views from consumers (people with dementia, their family and personal carers), researchers (new and established), medical practitioners and aged care providers around Australia.

The results will be used to inform the research agenda of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research – a major component of the Australian Government’s $200 million Dementia Research Boost.

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson says it’s clear that urgent solutions need to be found to combat the growing problem dementia poses to current and future generations of older Australians.

“The NHMRC has reached out to consumers, researchers, medical practitioners and aged care providers to ask them what they think is most important and which areas they believe should be prioritised for research through this dementia initiative,” he says.

“Their feedback is essential to ensuring that the research undertaken through this initiative addresses the most pressing concerns and greatest needs of people with dementia and those who care for them.”

The top dementia research and translation priorities identified through the survey and interviews were:

For professional care providers, senior investigators, researchers and medical practitioners: to identify effective interventions to reduce the risk of and prevent the incidence of dementia.

For people with dementia: timely, accurate and supported diagnosis with prevention their second priority, a reminder of the importance of accurate and sensitive diagnosis and support for people and their families

For personal carers: to develop effective interventions to support their opportunity and capacity to care which are quite patchy currently, and they also had prevention as their second priority.

The new NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research will be established in the first half of 2015 and will be responsible for targeting, coordinating and translating the national dementia research effort.

Two rounds of grants have already been announced under the Dementia Research Boost, including the Dementia Team Research Grants worth $32.5 million and the NHMRC-Australian Research Council fellowships worth up to $46 million, announced earlier this month.

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