The Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing has been launched at the University of New South Wales to help tackle an illness that affects 300,000 people in Australia and is the nation’s third leading cause of death, dementia.

The Centre - with a focus on healthy ageing to enable Australians to lead active, productive and fulfilling lives - will be led by UNSW Scientia Professors Henry Brodaty AO and Perminder Sachdev AM, dubbed the “dynamic duo” by UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC, who says the centre brings together a number of visionaries.

“It takes a whole village to do this research,” Scientia Professor Sachdev says.

Funding for the UNSW-initiated centre has come from the Thomas Foundation, Montefiore Jewish Home, other philanthropic sources and donations, as well as grants from the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

“Eventually we’d like to see more people ageing with healthy brains. That’s the ultimate aim,” says Scientia Professor Brodaty.

Scientia Professor Brodaty has also been named the Montefiore Chair of Healthy Brain Ageing.

The centre has been officially launched 123 years to the day since the first Montefiore home opened and on the third anniversary of the death of Don Lane, who had Alzheimer’s Disease and whose son PJ Lane is the centre’s ambassador.

“I’d love to know what it was – why such a brilliant mind was given such a lethal blow,” PJ Lane says of his father’s illness. “I hope this is an exciting wonderful step for research.”

UNSW Medicine Dean, Professor Peter Smith, says the funds provided a solid foundation for the faculty’s critical research into ageing.

“We have established a new Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at UNSW. These very generous donations from the Thomas Foundation and the Montefiore Home will enable us to research important issues to tackle one of the most critical global public health challenges,” he says.

The research at CHeBA will be supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and many other funding bodies including the Viertel Foundation, Alzheimer’s Australia, the Rotary Health Fund and the Rebecca Cooper Foundation.

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