RESEARCH projects to test how acoustic sleep technology and a new drug treatment can help reduce toxins associated with Alzheimer’s disease will share in $750,000 of funding from the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.
Associate Professor Clare Anderson from Monash University and Professor Michael Parker from St Vincent’s
Institute of Medical Research were both awarded a Faye Williams InnovationGrant, each worth $375,000.
Associate Professor Anderson’s team at Monash’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health will
use cutting edge acoustic stimulation technology to stimulate slow wave sleep in research participants,
providing a breakthrough in our understanding of the role of sleep in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Slow wave sleep, which is a very deep state of sleep, is thought to be very important for memory consolidation, as well as clearing out toxins in the brain that are associated with cognitive
decline,” Associate Professor Anderson said.
“Our facility enables us to take blood samples from participants without interrupting their sleep so we
will be able to measure how much toxin is cleared from the brain during slow wave sleep.
“We hope this study will inform future interventions for sleep and cognitive health that reduce the risk
of developing Alzheimer’s disease including public health messaging promoting the importance of sleep as
we age and the development of slow wave enhancement sleep therapeutics.”
Professor Parker and his team will test a new drug that may help enhance the brain’s ability to clear the
toxins associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“The brain naturally has cells that act as garbage collectors by removing the toxins that are associated
with Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have some very promising preliminary results that indicate that the new drug we are developing
can enhance this process without the negative consequences that have plagued drug trials,” Professor Parker said He said the grant would enable the testing of the new drug in mouse models of
“This is very exciting, because if we can successfully enhance the brain’s ability to clear these toxins, we delay, and even potentially reverse, some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Parker said.
The chairman of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, said
that the grants are a valuable chance for researchers to test new ideas.
“These grants provide vital insights into reducing dementia risk and establishing treatment options for
people who live with, or are at risk of developing dementia,” he said.
Details about the grant are available online at www.dementia.org.au.