The dementia ‘tsunami’ is coming – but two potential medications offer hope

Sophie Scott

writer

Sophie Scott

Medical Reporter, ABC News

Brooke Wylie

writer

Brooke Wylie

Specialist Reporting Team, ABC News

As our population continues to age, the number of people with dementia is set to skyrocket, a situation that geriatric medicine researcher A/Prof Michael Woodward has likened to a ‘tsunami that’s sadly almost bearing down on us’.

Dementia already affects more than 400,000 Australians and is the second-biggest cause of death, but it’s predicted that this will grow to 589,000 by 2028 and more than one million by 2058.

The debilitating condition causes a decline in memory, cognition and day-to-day functioning, a distressing process both for sufferers and their loved ones.

Two new medications for dementia are currently being trialled, giving hope for more effective treatment. One is a monoclonal antibody gantenerumab, designed to remove the toxic protein amyloid from the brains of people with dementia. Although earlier trials have been disappointing, a higher dose is now being trialled in several thousand participants, including at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital.

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Sophie Scott

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Sophie Scott

Medical Reporter, ABC News

Brooke Wylie

writer

Brooke Wylie

Specialist Reporting Team, ABC News

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