Seeing someone you love lose themselves as their brain degenerates with age, is heartbreaking.
As the condition progresses, families might fall into crisis and despair dealing with lost memories and erratic behaviours, but communities are affected as well. These neurodegenerative conditions are expensive to provide services for and the costs to Australia are set to increase dramatically.
More than 413,000 Australians currently live with dementia. In the absence of a significant medical breakthrough, one estimate suggests that more than 6.4 million Australians will be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years.
Add in the families and carers who will be drawn in, and the numbers of people directly affected will be astronomical.
The neurodegeneration research at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre covers a range of disorders, including frontotemporal dementia, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
As Australia’s population ages, these diseases will become increasingly common.
Lenity Australia has donated $1.25 million to support a 5-year research fellowship in the field of neurodegenerative diseases at the Brain and Mind Centre. The fellowship is to be named The Lenity Research Fellow.
“Lenity is honoured to be a partner in this vital area of research,” a spokesperson for Lenity Australia said. “This donation compliments our portfolio of humanitarian and medically-focused projects in Australia and Oceania.”
Professor Matthew Kiernan, Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre, says philanthropy is a vital avenue of support for research. “Gifts like this one from Lenity Australia allow us to continue our work, attract the brightest talent and expand into new areas of focus,” he says.