Funds help study Vitamin B12 in dementia

MEDICAL research into the impact of low Vitamin B12 levels is among six new dementia research grants announced by Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler.

Vitamin B12, commonly found in seafood such as oysters, has a key role in normal brain functioning and University of Wollongong Professor Brett Garner will receive $429,011 to investigate how a lack of Vitamin B12 contributes to age-related memory loss, reasoning and decision making.

Dr Brett Collins and colleagues from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and Queensland Brain Institute will receive $456,787 to investigate potential new drug targets for Alzheimer's treatment.

Ms Plibersek said the government was committed to improving the health and quality of life of our older Australians and this research aims to make dementia a far less debilitating condition than it is today.

"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," Ms Plibersek said.

Mr Butler said dementia had achieved national prominence this decade and it was important that we continued to support research.

"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," Mr Butler said.

"Earlier this year, the government also established a new $25 million NHMRC Partnership Centre on Cognitive Decline."

This work complemented the Federal Government's 'Living Longer Living Better' aged care reform package that was providing $3.7 billion over five years from 2012, including more support for people with dementia, he said.

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