Dementia and frailty are linked to loss of independence and entry into aged care, and have a substantial family, societal, and economic impact.

Dementia is a group of brain disorders that affect a person’s memory, thinking and ability to interact socially. It is caused by damaged nerve cells that may occur in several areas of the brain. As a result, people experience dementia differently, depending on which area of their brain is affected.

Without a medical breakthrough, the number of Australians with a diagnosis of dementia is expected to increase to more than 530,000 by 2025 and over 1.1 million by 2056. As dementia prevalence will continue to increase due to population ageing, novel and cost-effective approaches are needed to reduce the impact of the disease on people, their care partners and society.

Our research approaches

Studies by NeuRA researchers and others have shown that older adults who are socially isolated, physically inactive, or have low mood are at increased risk of developing dementia and frailty.

A diagnosis of dementia can lead to an overwhelming mix of emotions. Access to advice and support can help people regain control, plan for the future, and carry on living a life that is meaningful to them.

Our research discoveries

Our work at NeuRA is putting people with dementia at the centre of their care, by developing tools for people to identify their own risk of dementia and help clinicians develop personalised risk reduction plans and interventions. NeuRA’s dementia experts are not only improving disease management, but are investigating prevention mechanisms, alternative methods of treatment, and the environmental and genetic risks that influence a person’s susceptibility to neurodegeneration. 

Every day, our researchers are making evidence-based recommendations to improve health outcomes and quality of life for Indigenous and non-Indigenous older Australians living in the community.