New research is set to look into the impact of Vitamin B12 levels on the brain and in particular, dementia. Other aspects of memory and decision making will also be studied.
Six new dementia research grants have been announced by federal minister for health Tanya Plibersek and minister for mental health and ageing Mark Butler.
B12 is a vitamin found in foods such as beef, liver, oysters, clams, cheese and egg, and plays a vital role in brain functioning. If B12 levels are low or there are problems absorbing it, one may experience a number of symptoms including weakness and tiredness, stomach problems, mood changes and more.
Professor Brett Garner will receive a grant to investigate how a lack of Vitamin B12 may contribute to age-related memory loss, reasoning and decision making.
At the University of Melbourne, professor Roberto Cappai will receive funding to determine the specific type of protein that may be toxic to brain cells, the impact of anaesthesia and surgery in patients with mild age-related memory loss, reasoning and decision making.
In addition, potential new drug targets for Alzheimer's treatment will be looked into, as well as investigating proteins that cause early onset Alzheimer's Disease, one of the most common forms of dementia.
Finally, professor David Small at the University of Tasmania will look into the way new drugs can block the build-up of toxicity in the brain protein which causes Alzheimer's disease.
All of this research will help move towards a future where dementia is a far less debilitating condition.
"Dementia is likely to affect 900,000 Australians by 2050 and I’m proud that Australia is acting now in whole range of areas like research, awareness and better services," said Ms Plibersek.
"We’ve made dementia a national priority area this year and that’s supported with research funding, including these grants through the National Health and Medical Research Council."
Already, dementia affects over 321,600 Australians, impacting upon individual quality of life as well as families and friends.
It's the third leading cause of death in Australia but there is still little treatment available and no cure.
To address this national health problem, increased focus and funding is going towards research into the condition.
If you are thinking about the future of your own health then you may want to consider private health insurance, to avoid sometimes lengthy hospital waiting lists so you can be treated at your convenience.