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Dementia research grant winners announced

Twenty nine of Australia’s best and brightest young scientists will share in $2.5 million to conduct ground-breaking dementia research, following an announcement by the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, naming the 2013 grant recipients.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Ita Buttrose said:

“The grants will allow researchers to start working on some of the biggest challenges in the field of dementia research.

“More than one million Australians are touched by dementia in some way, and unless we can make the research breakthroughs needed for new treatments, more than three million of us are likely to develop dementia over the next 36 years.”

One of the research grants is named in honour of Hazel Hawke who died with Alzheimer’s disease in May 2013, and established the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer’s Research and Care Fund shortly after she was diagnosed in 2001.

Dr Zoe Terpening from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute was awarded the Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care, and will use the funding to investigate whether treating sleep breathing disorders (such as sleep apnoea) can improve cognitive abilities.

“My research aims to evaluate whether continuous positive airway pressure can improve cognition and daily functioning in people with mild cognitive impairment.

“This is a relatively simple treatment for sleep apnoea, and if we can show that it improves cognitive abilities by even a small amount, there will be some very exciting implications for clinical practice, and for further research to see if we can potentially delay symptoms of dementia in people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.” - Dr Terpening said.

To coincide with the grant recipient announcements, the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation has launched a new interactive website, www.dementiaresearchfoundation.org.au, that explains and showcases dementia research currently being conducted in Australia and worldwide.

The Foundation has also announced a call for applications for its 2014 dementia grants round, with a further $2.5 million available for new and early career dementia researchers.

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