Federal funding has been provided to support 13 new dementia research projects.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a total of $21 million in federal government funding for 13 projects focusing on risk reduction, prevention and tracking of dementia - the nation's second highest killer.

Mr Hunt says investment is needed, with forecasts suggesting more than one million Australians will have dementia by 2056 unless a medical breakthrough occurs.

“We're committed to ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life's challenges,” he said.

Data from the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare shows the cost of dementia is continuing to grow.

Deaths from dementia including Alzheimer's disease have risen from 13,126 to 13,729 year-on-year. Women account for more than 8,800 of the people whose underlying cause of death was from those conditions in 2017.

The new studies include research into how cardiovascular exercise impacts the cognitive decline of high-risk patients, and how the Mediterranean diet coupled with exercise appear to reduce both decline and risks.

Another study will investigate dementia risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.