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Alzheimers New Zealand congratulates local researchers

8 August 2013

Alzheimers New Zealand congratulates local researchers

Alzheimers NZ congratulates local researchers Callaghan International, who this week announced a significant contribution to the ongoing search for a treatment for Alzheimers’ disease.

Chemists at Callaghan International (CI, formerly IRL Ltd.), based in Gracefield in Lower Hutt have this week become the first in the world to find a way to synthesise a type of complex sugar that shows signs it could control the process that leads to the common brain disease.

Alzheimers NZ Executive Director, Catherine Hall, says the finding by Callaghan International is a welcome advancement in the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

“Dementia is one of New Zealand’s most significant and growing health concerns, already affecting around 50,000 people in New Zealand, a number that is set to triple by 2050 as the population ages,” Ms Hall says.

“It’s encouraging to see that dementia is a key priority for some of New Zealand’s best and brightest researchers, and that funding is being made available to continue the search for a treatment for this often devastating condition.

“We congratulate Callaghan International on their recent scientific success and encourage further research that may one day lead to real clinical breakthroughs to improve the lives of people living with dementia.”

Ms Hall says that while steps towards a possible treatment for dementia continue to progress, there continues to be good evidence that regular exercise of both the brain and body, and eating a healthy diet can slow the progression of dementia.

“Keeping the brain and body healthy can both slow the progression of dementia, and may reduce the risk of developing dementia at all.

“As well as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, Alzheimers New Zealand recommends that we all exercise our brains through activities such as reading and puzzles, remain socially involved, have regular medical checks and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Ms Hall says.

About Alzheimers New Zealand
Alzheimers NZ is a not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting all people affected by dementia. Our Wellington-based national operation supports a federation of 21 local Alzheimers NZ organisations throughout New Zealand, each of which is a member of Alzheimers NZ.

We represent people with dementia, their home-based carers, families/ whānau and friends by providing awareness raising, advocacy, information services and resources to and for the public generally, the Government and health professionals and service providers in the dementia sector / community, as well as information services and support for our member organisations.

Alzheimers NZ member organisations provide support, education, information and related services directly to members of their communities who are affected by dementia.

What Alzheimers NZ does
Alzheimers NZ’s direct contribution to making life better for people affected by dementia is through its External Services, which focus on:

1. Raising public awareness and understanding of dementia and its impacts amongst people with dementia, their carers, families and friends
2. Advocating with Government on behalf of people with dementia and their carers for greater recognition of and response to dementia as a priority public health issue
3. Providing information services and resources to people affected by dementia, health professionals and members of the dementia community
4. Promoting research into prevention, early diagnosis, support services and care management, and cure for all forms of dementia.

Alzheimers NZ also contributes indirectly to reducing the impact of and making life better for people affected by dementia through its Federation Initiatives by:

1. Providing information services and resources to member organisations to support frontline work in their local communities with people affected by dementia

2. Working with member organisations to support and strengthen the capability of individual members (and from that the Federation as a whole) in providing frontline services in their local communities, including facilitating and supporting centrally provided infrastructure, systems and services

For further information on dementia and the services Alzheimers New Zealand offers visit www.alzheimers.org.nz

ENDS

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