During National Dementia Awareness Week (21 to 28 September) researchers at Charles Sturt University (CSU) will be available to talk about their efforts to better understand the condition and improve the quality of life of the many affected.
More than 280 000 Australians suffer from dementia and without a significant medical breakthrough that number is expected to rise to a million people by 2050.
Dr James Crane, lecturer in anatomy and physiology, at the CSU School of Biomedical Sciences in Bathurst has a background in neuroscience research.
“There is no cure for dementia, and current treatments are by no means ideal,” Dr Crane said. “However, neuroscientists in Australia and around the world are working hard to understand the causes of dementia, and to develop better treatments that will help millions around the world.”
Dr Crane can talk about the factors that are thought to contribute to cognitive decline, the role of neural regeneration in dementia, and some activities that could limit the onset of dementia.
Research by Dr Adam Hamlin from CSU’s School of Biomedical Sciences in Wagga Wagga aims to better understand brain cell death in people suffering Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Hamlin’s research is examining a particular type of brain cell, cholinergic cells, which die very early in the disease.
“At the moment there’s no cure and no drugs that slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “If we are going to find a cure or a treatment we must be able to detect it early. Understanding more about the role these cholinergic cells play will help to develop behavioural tests as a very early indicator of the disease.”
Read more about this ground-breaking research on CSU News here.
Dr Maree Bernoth from the CSU’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health in Wagga Wagga said recent research has shown the strengths and deficits of services for people with dementia and their families who live in rural and regional areas.
“People participating in the research told us about how they want to stay in familiar environments, which is particularly significant for people who have dementia, Dr Bernoth said. “Yet, this is not always possible because of insufficient community services and residential places in rural areas.
“People who have lived in rural communities have different interests and histories than people in metropolitan areas. So it is important to maintain those connections to enhance quality of life for a rural person with dementia.
“This is a challenge confronting rural communities, all levels of government, and researchers as we all try to envisage and plan for a whole new demographic.
Read more about Dr Bernoth’s research on CSU News here.
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