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Funding supports Australia’s best and brightest dementia researchers

Seventeen of Australia’s new and early carer researchers will share in just over $1 million to conduct ground-breaking dementia research, as the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation’s 2016 grant recipients are announced.

The Foundation’s Chair, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, said that the grants were essential in growing dementia research in Australia allowing researchers to tackle some of the biggest challenges in this field. Professor Samuel said:

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and there is at least 353,800 people currently living with this life limiting disease. Moreover, around 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person living with dementia. Without a major research breakthrough for a cure or new treatments, approximately 900,000 of us are likely to develop dementia by 2050.

We are investing in the next generation of Australian dementia researchers who will be among those making the breakthroughs in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and ultimately a cure of dementia in the future.”

This year, Dr Sarang Kim from The Australian National University was awarded a $50,000 Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care, and will use the funding to develop and evaluate an online intervention programme, Dementia Stigma Reduction (DESeRvE), for the general public to reduce dementia-related stigma. Dr Kim said:

“Dementia is a highly stigmatised condition. It is undoubtedly harmful, leading to low self-esteem, isolation and poorer mental health outcomes in people with dementia and increased stress in caregivers. Stigma can also prevent people from seeking help. It is therefore vital to develop programmes to reduce the stigma of dementia and in doing so, improve the lives of people living with dementia and their family and carers.

Health care, workplaces and retirement villages will be able to use this intervention to educate their residents and employees about dementia and reduce dementia-related stigma. This intervention programme will also be available to policymakers.”

Four PhD scholars will also be supported through the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, with Ms Jessica Marshall from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute receiving the coveted Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty PhD Scholarship. The Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation Patron and Alzheimer’s Australia National Ambassador said that it was important to build capacity in the dementia research community by encouraging talented graduates to embark on a career in dementia. Professor Brodaty said:

“These enthusiastic early career researchers are ready, willing and now able to make a difference in the field of dementia research.”

The full list of successful applicants can be viewed here.

Sources: 

Pictured: Dr Sarang Kim receives the Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care for her project Dementia Stigma Reduction (DESeRvE): A randomised controlled trial to reduce dementia related stigma in the general public.

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