Home > What We Do > Current Research

At the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, we currently support research in four areas of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • understanding the pathology of the disease
  • developing treatments
  • identifying factors to defer or prevent the onset of the disease
  • discovering an early diagnosis

Our current research utilises memory tests, medical and neuropsychological assessments; brain imaging; and highly specialised blood tests to help find an early diagnosis. We are also developing lifestyle interventions to delay or prevent the onset of symptoms, and are working to develop better treatments for those already diagnosed.

As part of our research into a diagnosis, we undertake the latest, highly specialised brain imaging, known as PET amyloid imaging. This allows detection of the accumulation of beta amyloid in the living brain.

While beta amyloid is a diagnostic marker, it is not sufficiently reliable on its own. We are therefore collaborating with researchers in Melbourne, the USA, Germany and other parts of the world to develop a suite of bio-markers and an accurate and reliable diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease.

Another major study relates to the preventative value of specific nutritional supplements for Alzheimer’s disease. This study will focus on the potential of antioxidants and poly phenols to defer the onset of the disease.

The major research projects currently supported by the Foundation include:

  • Blood-Based Protein and Lipid Biomarkers for Diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease
  • Programs investigating the role of genetics in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Developing agents that selectively target the enzyme responsible for beta amyloid generation
  • The role of diet in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Identification and validation of peptide agents that neutralise beta amyloid toxicity
  • Molecular and neuropsychological predictive markers of cognitive decline
  • The role of testosterone in Alzheimer’s Disease

If you would like further information about any of these projects please contact us

 

Why Research is Essential

With an aging population a far larger proportion of our community will be affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia in the coming years. Ongoing and committed research will play a vital role in the continuing journey towards an Alzheimer’s free world for the benefit of our whole community.

Alzheimer’s disease is occurring at an increased pace. The Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation is dedicated to ensuring research continues on an international level. Millions will be condemned to a demeaning and frightening end to their lives if treatments are not discovered.

The reality is that despite currently being the second largest cause of death, research into Alzheimer’s disease in Australia is underfunded relative to the current and projected costs and the scope for huge savings from investment in research for cause, prevention and treatment. Urgent action is essential.

Identifying a means of early intervention is a priority as the effectiveness of any treatments will be limited by the current inability to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease until significant neurological damage has already been sustained.

As a result of past research we are now aware of a number of mechanisms implicated in the body developing abnormal levels of beta amyloid in the blood and its deposition on the brain.

Our knowledge of beta amyloid is increasing all the time. We now know that beta amyloid is a commonly occurring protein which has a beneficial role in normal bodily functioning. There are different forms of beta amyloid, some being beneficial, others destructive. We know that in some people there is an increased production of the destructive forms.

We also know that deposition of beta amyloid is widespread among the population, even for those who do not develop the condition. With some people, there is increased production of beta amyloid which in itself may contribute to increased deposition. The problem could also be due to a reduced ability of the body to remove the amyloid from the brain.