Over $2 million announced for brain trauma research

Summary media release information

Date: 
15 November 2017
Type: 
Ministerial Media Release
Contact for further information: 

Minister Gillespie’s office: (02) 6277 4960

NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au

The Federal Coalition Government has today announced a $2 million boost for brain trauma research, thanks to two grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, made the announcement in Melbourne at today’s Trauma Verification Symposium hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Minister Gillespie said the NHMRC grants were another example of the Government delivering on its commitment to support world-leading research in the health sector.

“Nearly half a million patients are hospitalised with a brain injury in Australia each year, with about one in six injuries classified as ‘high threat to life’, so it’s crucial that we support ongoing brain trauma research to achieve the best possible innovations in care” Minister Gillespie said.

Of the grants, $1.2 million has been awarded to Associate Professor Paul Adlard at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, to support his work in examining how zinc and iron, which are essential for healthy brain cells, might determine how the brain copes with injury. The grant will also examine how the role of these metals changes across the normal lifespan, and in response to different types of brain injury.

Dr Sandy Shultz, at the University of Melbourne, will receive $928,690 to examine whether repeated mild traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, cause long-term changes in the brain that resemble neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia.

Minister Gillespie said that delivering support for research into brain trauma would have big impact for people living in rural and remote areas.

“Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal that the rate of trauma injuries varies considerably depending on where you live,” Dr Gillespie said.

“For example, in 2012-13 – the latest figures – the rate of injury in very remote regions was more than double the rate in major cities.”

“The impact of brain trauma in Australia is considerable and that’s why ongoing investment in research is so necessary” Minister Gillespie added.