Dementia currently affects over 350,000 Australians, a staggering number. With our ageing population coupled with a lack of viable treatments, this number is set to nearly triple in the next 30 to 40 years.
One of the main issues in our inability to effectively treat Dementia lies in not knowing how it affects the physiology of the brain and that we are currently left to rely on cognitive tests to diagnose and manage all forms of dementia.
This where a new brain scan, designed to highlight and identify the synapses in the brain that break down during the dementia process, comes in.
To successfully conduct the scan Dr Eamonn Eeles and his team need to replicate and develop a new isotope to be used in the radiography of the brain; allowing areas of the brain, that have not been seen before, to be shown. Once this isotope is ready and approved the team will then be able to start utilising this revolutionary scan on dementia patients.
The realisation of this scan is the first step to uncovering the mystery that is dementia, and hopefully finding a cure for the debilitating disease. The hope is that the scans will successfully show the memory-forming parts of the brain that are damaged in patients that have dementia. Following this initial data, the team hope to secure NHMRC funding to carry out a larger project.