The Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR), housed within the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland, is Australia's first and largest research centre dedicated to the prevention and treatment of dementia. Professor Jürgen Götz, a world leader in conducting cutting-edge research in Alzheimer’s disease, is the inaugural Director of the Centre. CJCADR is driven by the insight that fundamental, basic research is required to provide a solution to the ageing crisis as diseases including Alzheimer's pose an increasing challenge to our society. The Centre currently has 10 laboratories of researchers. 

What is dementia?

Dementia is not a single disease but rather a term to describe a number of illnesses that predominantly affect people over the age of 65. It is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to function normally. The condition involves the degeneration of brain cells, with common symptoms including memory loss, confusion, personality change, withdrawal and a loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

There are many different forms of dementia. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration, Huntington’s disease, Alcohol related dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

Ageing dementia is one of the country’s most pressing health problems. Alzheimer’s affects more than two-thirds of dementia patients, and approximately a quarter of a million Australians. The total number of dementia cases in Australia is expected to rise to 900,000 by 2050. It presents significant challenges to the health care system, which makes directed research programs aimed at preventing and treating ageing dementia all the more urgent.

Our research

Led by Professor Jürgen Götz, CJCADR scientists are developing a non-invasive ultrasound technology to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory. The approach temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier, activating mechanisms that clear toxic protein clumps and restoring memory functions. Research has been conducted in mouse models and is being scaled up in higher animal models. Human clinical trials are two to three years away.

Findings of the research, Scanning ultrasound efficiently removes amyloid β and restores memory in an Alzheimer’s model, are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Using ultrasound to treat dementia

CJCADR Group Leaders



Thank you for your interest in CJCADR ultrasound research.

We have initiated our work in mice, which have a very thin skull. In order to apply our work to human skull we encounter two problems: The first is that the human skull is much larger; the second, has to do with the properties of the cancellous bone of the human skull that blocks the ultrasound waves and causes skull heating. Both issues need to be solved. 

The ultrasound project team is currently focussed on the development of an ultrasound device suitable for the use in people. Our researchers are working with an engineering company to develop equipment for the measurement and analysis of ultrasound waves through thicker skulls.  

It will unfortunately take a few years until the device will be available and clinical trials can be initiated. At this stage we are not maintaining a clinical trial contact list due to the enormous amount of work that is still ahead; likewise, no locations for clinical trials have been determined, either domestically in Australia or internationally.

We encourage patients and their families to maintain contact with their general practitioner or treating specialist who will be first to be informed of clinical trials when they become available.

We realise that time is pressing and it is urgent to find a cure or at least a disease-modifying strategy, we are working hard towards achieving this goal.

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What can be done to help?

Currently there is no prevention or cure; however, some medications reduce some of the symptoms. Enquiries on current clinical trials of new medications can be forwarded to Liz Arnold, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, K Floor, Mental Health Centre, RBWH Herston Qld 4029, Tel: + 61 7 3365 5147, Email: elizabeth.arnold@uq.edu.au

National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500: helpline.nat@dementia.org.au 

The National Dementia Helpline is a telephone information and support service available across Australia. The Helpline is for people with dementia, their carers, families and friends, as well as people concerned about memory loss. It is also used by health professionals, service providers, community organisations and students. More information is available from: https://www.dementia.org.au/helpline/

Dementia Australia

Dementia Australia offers a range of services for people with dementia, family carers, industry workers and anyone who wants to know more about memory loss, dementia or good brain health.