A major new research centre is being launched today by Trinity College Dublin and the University of California to try to tackle the looming dementia epidemic.

The Global Brain Health Institute will be funded by a €138.4m donation from Atlantic Philanthropies - the biggest philanthropic donation in Irish history.

Affecting more than 48 million people around the world, dementia is fast becoming a major health challenge, with the numbers suffering from it expected to double every 20 years.

Experts say while no effective treatment has yet been found, public health measures tackling risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol and lifestyle issues could reduce the numbers developing the condition in the coming decades.

And so researchers at Trinity College Dublin have formed an alliance with colleagues at the University of California, to establish the Global Brain Health Institute.

The centre aims to tackle the growing incidence of dementia by creating a generation of leaders around the world with skills to change attitudes, policy and care and carry out research.

Over the next 15 years, the institute will give multidisciplinary training to 600 fellows and scholars from around the world.