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Intouch : In Touch Issue 78
8 In touch Spring 2011 www.alzheimers.org.au FEATURE Funding for dementia research is woefully inadequate, giving researchers little chance of finding answers, a leading neuroscientist has warned. Baroness Susan Greenfield, Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Oxford University, is one of Britain's foremost neuroscientists and heads a multidisciplinary research group that investigates neurodegenerative disorders. In Australia in July on a speaking tour for Alzheimer's Australia, Baroness Greenfield said more effective approaches for treating the debilitating condition could be found, but only with appropriate funding. Level the playing field "There is an inexplicable and disturbing disparity in funding for research between dementia and other chronic conditions," Baroness Greenfield said. "In Australia, dementia research receives approximately $20 million -- a little more than four per cent of the total amount spent on research for all chronic diseases -- despite the fact that it is already the third leading cause of death in this country. "In comparison cancer research receives $144 million annually while $97 million per annum is spent on researching cardiovascular disease. The situation is similar in the UK where dementia receives only about five per cent of total research funding compared with the 70 per cent that cancer research receives. "Yet by 2060, spending on dementia is set to outstrip that of any other health condition in Australia. "Without appropriate funding for dementia research, too many parents and grandparents will be lost to a condition for which more effective answers can be found. We can beat dementia. Governments are just not trying hard enough." A numbers game An estimated 269,000 Australians have the condition, a number that is expected to soar dramatically to almost one million by 2050 as the population ages. Currently, there are approximately 1500 new cases of dementia each week. The Hon. John Watkins, the CEO of Alzheimer's Australia NSW, said decisions taken in the 2011/12 Federal Budget had resulted in the government taking a step backwards rather than trying harder to beat dementia. "WE CAN BEAT DEMENTIA. Governments are just not trying hard enough." BARONESS SUSAN GREENFIELD What price HEALTH? Leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield has said that increased funding for dementia research could see an end to deaths caused by the condition.
In Touch Issue 77
In Touch Summer 2011-12