Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease, and is not a normal part of ageing.

Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks because brain cells gradually die during the disease process.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. If someone has Alzheimer’s, they may have problems with memory, thinking skills, emotions, behaviour and mood. As the disease progresses, brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.

Alzheimer’s occurs when abnormal protein builds up inside and outside the brain. The cells in the brain eventually die, damaging the connections between the brain’s cells. The loss of these connections lead to the loss of brain function as symptoms of the disease develop. As Alzheimer’s disease moves through each area of the brain, certain functions or abilities are lost.

Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in Australians over 65. An estimated 425,000 Australians currently live with dementia. One in four people over the age of 85 have dementia. Without a significant medical breakthrough, this is expected to soar to over one million by 2050.

How The Florey is making a difference

Florey scientists are chipping away at dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease from every angle. Our scientists work with animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to uncover basic aspects of the disease process. Our scientists are also in the clinic trialling drugs that may help prevent memory decline, language and mood disturbances, and developing new tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s years before symptoms begin.

Research projects

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Latest news

Latest Florey news on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias