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2 Dementia research projects get boost from legendary Formula One racer

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Sir Jackie Stewart and wife Helen Stewart, who was diagnosed with Frontotemporal dementia in 2014.

Racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart OBE’s Race Against Dementia charity and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation have announced the inaugural recipients of the ‘Race Against Dementia – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship’ programme.

Dr Adekunle Bademosi from The University of Queensland and Dr Andrew McKinnon from The University of Sydney will each receive an award valued at $405,000 AUD in total, over three years, which will cover salary and project expenses.

Dr Bademosi’s project will explore how and why frontotemporal dementia begins by using advanced imaging tools that have resolutions up to ten million times that of a standard digital camera. The results obtained will help scientists to produce drugs that target frontotemporal dementia.

Meanwhile, Dr McKinnon’s study will comprehensively characterise sleep problems in older adults with early dementia or those at risk for dementia. This will include developing tools for clinicians to guide strategies for dementia management and prevention for individual patients.

Stewart, an Honorary International Dementia Australia Ambassador, said he was delighted to announce the recipients in partnership with the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, as a demonstration of Race Against Dementia’s global commitment to funding early-career dementia scientists.

“Race Against Dementia is building an international team of dementia scientists, who not only have their research funded, but also benefit from developmental opportunities, inspired by best practice in Formula 1 technology from both McLaren F1 and Red Bull Racing as well as other high tech commercial enterprises. My wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014, and ever since then I have devoted my efforts globally to raise funds and stimulate breakthroughs and innovations in dementia research, “Stewart said in a media release.

“I hope this award assists the recipients, and the research community more broadly, to apply a ‘Formula 1 attitude’ to work faster and smarter and continue to make breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of dementia,” he said.

The Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, congratulated the recipients for their commitment to looking for ways to cure and manage Dementia.

“With dementia affecting almost 50 million people worldwide and someone in the world developing dementia every three seconds, research into dementia is now more urgent than ever. We are delighted to launch this joint fellowship with Race Against Dementia, powered by Sir Jackie’s vision and commitment to dementia research,” Samuel said.

“These fellowships form part of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation’s 2020 grant round, with more than $1.7 million in funding on offer for early-career researchers,” he said.

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