Dementia is one of the biggest global public health challenges in history.
It is the leading cause of death in the UK and Wales and the second leading cause of death in Australia. Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia.
Worldwide, it affects almost 50 million people – a staggering statistic that is predicted to increase to 131.5 million people by 2050. Here in Australia, more than 250 people are diagnosed with dementia every single day, which is expected to increase dramatically to more than 650 per day by 2056. It is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians, with more than half the residents in aged care facilities living with a diagnosis of dementia.
Without a medical breakthrough, it is likely that Australia’s population with dementia will surpass one million people by the middle of the century. Change for future generations depends largely on research and dementia research continues to be disproportionately underfunded when its prevalence, disability burden and cost are considered.
Many research groups across the globe are working to uncover the causes, preventative strategies and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. While each study has the potential to provide an important clue, bringing together these separate efforts could mean significant improvement to the speed of discovery and provide exciting breakthroughs not possible when data from small-scale studies are analysed in isolation. Running large-scale statistical analyses means we are better able to identify groups at risk and implement early intervention strategies to delay or stop the progression of dementia.
Through DPAU we will provide the means to securely bring together study data, which will add tremendous value to the wealth of research already being undertaken - for a modest additional cost.