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Survey identifies key dementia research priorities

John McCallum
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (6): 286. || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00248
Published online: 6 April 2015

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) National Institute for Dementia Research has identified diagnosis, prevention and interventions to reduce risk as the key priorities for dementia research.

Australian scientists are world leaders in dementia research and, over the coming decades, would have found treatments for dementia. However, this timeline is too slow for the economic and social pressures of an ageing population. Therefore, the federal government moved to accelerate research discoveries with a $200 million investment to boost dementia research in the 2014–15 Budget.

A survey and interviews of consumers (people with dementia, families, personal carers), researchers (new and established), medical practitioners and aged care providers identified three top priorities.

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

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

For personal carers, the priority is to develop effective interventions to support their opportunity and capacity to provide care, which are currently quite variable; again, prevention is their second priority.

The priorities form a key element of the government's commitment to supporting dementia research. The NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research will target, coordinate and translate dementia research, guided by the priorities.

The NHMRC report states: “The priority for prevention indicates a consensus and confidence that research into risk and preventative factors will have an impact in reducing the incidence of dementia and is the first priority for Australian research.”

The NHMRC Dementia Research and Translation Priority Setting Project was prepared by ThinkPlace consultants and released on 27 January 2015 at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au.

  • John McCallum

  • Research Translation Group, National Health and Medical Research Council

Correspondence: media@nhmrc.gov.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures

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