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‘Dementia is not inevitable’ says David Cameron as he becomes President of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Former Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that ‘dementia is not inevitable’ as he became the new President of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Mr Cameron made dementia a focus of his time in office, and in 2012 launched Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge which aimed to find a treatment or cure by 2025.

“Tackling dementia was a major focus while I was Prime Minister, and although improvements in attention and research innovation have been rapid, it remains one of our greatest health challenges,” he said.

“So I’m delighted to take up the Presidency of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an ambitious charity driving medical research to fight this devastating condition.

“As well as being a world-leading research organisation, the charity is also fighting the misconceptions of dementia that persist in society. Dementia is not inevitable and research is our greatest weapon against it.

“I’m committed to helping Alzheimer’s Research UK transform the lives of those affected by this life-shattering condition.”

The former prime minister says he waned to ensure academics searching for treatments are “properly funded”

“We must win the battle of priorities,” he added. “Cancer research and stroke research deserve all their funding – but dementia shouldn’t be so far behind.

“Dementia steals people’s lives, turns their relationships upside down, destroys their hopes and dreams.”

Welcoming Mr Cameron’s appointment, Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that Mr Cameron had done ‘more than anyone’ to keep dementia high on the world’s agenda.

“As a world leader, Mr Cameron has done more than any other to put dementia on the global agenda, driving an ambition shared by all G7 nations to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025,” she said.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a hugely ambitious and growing charity, uniquely set-up to tackle our greatest medical challenge. We have a clear focus on pioneering research, working with leading scientists across the UK and the world.

“We are committed to bringing together the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in powerful collaborations that reach breakthroughs faster. David Cameron’s support of our work will help us continue our positive growth and further bolster our research efforts, through which we will end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Source The Telegraph

Cheap asthma drug could help fight dementia

Tests show just a six-week course of commonly available tablets leads to a marked improvement in mental function.

Montelukast appears to work by reducing inflammation in a part of the brain associated with learning and memory.

It is the latest drug to be “repurposed” – used to treat a different condition than it was originally intended for.

Experts said the exciting discovery gives hope to hundreds of thousands of people who will be struck down with dementia.

They believe the pill could hold the key to providing the first “safe and durable” treatment for old age.

The breakthrough came after researchers at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria, found it boosted the memories of older rats.

“Counteracting some, or ideally all, of such age-related changes might rejuvenate the brain and lead to preservation or even improvement of cognitive function in the elderly,” the researchers claimed in a landmark study published in the respected journal Nature.

The gradual loss of memory and cognitive skills is a key sign of ageing.

Growing old is also associated with a slowdown in the growth of new brain cells and an chronic increase in toxic inflammation.

Neurologist Ludwig Aigner tested montelukast because it blocks inflammation in asthma and could do the same in the brain.

Researchers gave 10mg daily doses to four-month-old and 20-month-old rats, the older rodents being the equivalent in age to 65 to 70-year-old humans.

The older animals did not have a rodent form of dementia, but showed the same decline in brain agility that humans experience as they age.

Groups of rats were trained to find a submerged platform in a water pool.

After five days, older rodents were still unclear about its location but those given the drug could find it almost as well as younger animals.

After two days the rats were again lowered into the water pool and went in search of the platform.

Again, older rodents were bad at remembering where it was, but those given the drug appeared to have better memories, and found the platform nearly as quickly as younger animals.

Further experiments examined how animals behaved when familiar objects were moved.

Young rodents spent more time checking out where they had gone, which researchers believe is because they have better memories.

When older rodents were given montelukast they behaved in an identical way.

Studies of their brains revealed older animals given the drug had more freshly-grown neutrons than those given a dummy pill.

Crucially, they showed less obvious inflammation.

Professor Christian Hölscher, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher at Lancaster University, said: “These new research results show very promising effects. As more and more inflammation builds up during ageing, it is a good approach to test currently available drugs that reduce inflammation such as in asthma to see if they can also be helpful in protecting against the long term effects of chronic inflammation.

“Since this drug is already on the market, we know exactly how people respond to it and what the potential side effects are.

“Also, it is much easier to test this drug in clinical trials as it is already licensed for use in people.”

One in three people born this year are expected to develop the harrowing condition.

The scale of “dementia dread” is such that eight in ten over 55s admit to being terrified of the condition with 76 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying the same.

It now affects 850,000 people in the UK and costs £26bn a year to treat.

Experts estimate more than 2m will be struck down by 2050.

Dementia is caused by diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, resulting in the loss of brain cells, which impair mental function.

Research shows a third of cases could be prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles like not smoking, taking more exercise and eating a diet rich in vitamins and fish.

Telltale symptoms include memory loss, confused thinking, speech and difficulty problem-solving. It is progressive, meaning it worsens over time.

Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We now know that inflammation could play a harmful role in many brain diseases, including those that cause dementia.

“Researchers are investigating a wide range of anti-inflammatory approaches in the search for new treatments for Alzheimer’s and this study in rats uses an existing anti-asthma drug to dampen brain inflammation.”

Doug Brown, of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know that inflammation in the brain may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and so finding ways to treat this is a potential avenue for researchers.

“The approach of repurposing existing drugs is a promising one as it could mean new treatments for dementia become available in half of the time of a standard drug – bringing hope to hundreds of thousands.”

Source The Express

First trial to stop Alzheimer’s before symptoms emerge

Most research into dementia is about finding treatments for people who are already affected by symptoms.

But a trial is under way in London which aims to prevent Alzheimer’s in people at high risk, before they show any physical signs of the disease.

These people have at least a 50-50 chance of carrying a rare genetic mutation which means they will develop the disease early in life – typically in their 30s or 40s.

Sophie Leggett, from Suffolk, saw her aunt and her mother develop Alzheimer’s in their early 40s.

Now 39, she has chosen not to know whether she too has the rare genetic mutation that obliterated their lives and could soon take over hers.

She recalls seeing her mother decline, just as she was coping with her own baby baby girl, was hard to bear.

“I would look at her lying in a bed unable to communicate, unable to do anything at all for herself, and grieve for her – for the mum that I’d lost – but also for the fact that I felt like I was looking at my future,” she says.

‘Protect our children’

She is worried if she has the mutation, it could be passed on to her daughter, who is now in her teens.

“I can cope with the possibility that it could happen to me. And I have many a time made a deal with God saying I’ll take it, give it to me, but don’t let my daughter have it. I think we all want to protect our children. And I don’t want her to feel the fear that I feel now for myself.”

That is why she is taking part in a pioneering study which she feels could “change the future”.

The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) is an international collaboration working with 200 people who – because of their genes – are at high risk of developing early onset Alzheimer’s.

Dr Cath Mummery from University College Hospital in London is leading the UK branch of the study. She says this trial the first of its kind.

“They know that they may get Alzheimer’s disease because they may have a mutation that causes it, but they don’t have symptoms. So we’re trying to prevent the onset of the disease which is very different.”

The researchers are looking out for subtle signs of Alzheimer’s that can start to appear years before physical symptoms emerge.

They are monitoring changes in the brain and spinal fluid and checking cognitive performance.

And they are testing two immunotherapy drugs to see if they can stop the disease.

‘Really exciting’

Dr Mummery says if they are successful the benefits could extend well beyond this rare genetic group.

“Genetic Alzheimer’s disease is very similar in the way that it affects people – apart from being younger – to sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, the one you see in the general population,” she explains.

“The really exciting bit after that is potentially we can extrapolate to that population and start to look at using this treatment for preventative measures for them.”

Dr Mummery says she has found it humbling to work in the trial with people who have seen so much suffering in their families, and are ready to go through such extensive testing to help the research.

Sophie says that for a long time she struggled to deal with the spectre of Alzheimer’s. Now though, she can discuss it freely. She has given advice to a new production at the Royal Court Theatre in London about familial Alzheimer’s, called “Plaques and Tangles”.

The playwright, Nicola Wilson, says talking to Sophie was a moving experience.

“It brought me back to a quote I’ve got at the beginning of the play text by the physician William Osler, which is ask not what disease the person has, but rather what person the disease has.”

In her mind’s eye Sophie has no version of herself growing old. She assumes she will get Alzheimer’s. She does not believe the trial will produce a treatment in time for her, but she wants to help future generations.

The Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Simon Ridley, said the DIAN-TU study offered a unique opportunity to test new experimental drugs at the point when they were likely to have the biggest impact.

“The insight gained from the study has the potential to transform approaches to clinical trials and treatment development not only for families with rare genetic forms of Alzheimer’s, but for everyone affected by the disease.”

Source BBC News

Government boosted in drive to cure dementia after 60% rise in volunteers

The government’s ambition to find a cure for dementia by 2025 has been boosted by a big rise in people volunteering to take part in groundbreaking research studies.

During the last year, almost 22,000 people have taken part in research studies to tackle the condition – a 60% rise – according to figures from the National Institute for Health Research.

The increased participation in 100 dementia research projects across the UK will boost scientists in their bid to find new treatments to prevent, treat and eventually cure the illness.

Research projects include testing whether antibiotics slow cognitive decline, investigating the role of the immune system in dementia, identifying genetic risk factors and improving end of life care for people with dementia.

George Freeman, minister for life sciences, said: “Dementia is a devastating condition that can have a significant impact on the lives of those affected and their families.

“Volunteers are essential to our battle against the disease and I’m delighted that so many people – with and without dementia – are coming forward to participate in ground-breaking new trials.

“There is still a long way to go, but with their help we hope to find a cure or disease modifying therapy by 2025. The race is on.”

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are delighted that more people affected by dementia are being given the opportunity to take part in vital research.

“Not only is it essential for us to make progress towards new treatments and better care, but it could also empower people to learn more about their condition and benefit from additional support.”

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and this figure is expected to rise to more than 2 million by 2051.

The boost in participation was in part triggered by the prime minister’s challenge on dementia, launched in March 2012. David Cameron called on the public, charity and private sector to do more to improve diagnosis, care and research into the disease.

Following the success of this initiative, Cameron launched the Dementia2020 Challenge, which aims to make England the “best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases”.

The challenge also included the aspiration to have 10% of all people with dementia participating in research by 2020. Nationally, 5.5% of people with dementia took part in research in 2014/15, up from 3.7% in 2012/13.

The fight against dementia has also been helped by the $100m Dementia Discovery Fund, announced in March by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. The fund, which brings together investment from the government and a number of charity and private sector partners, is an innovative way of financing research into new dementia drugs and treatments.

In 2013/14, 13,583 people took part in dementia research. This increased to 21,791 in 2014/15.

Source The Guardian

Alzheimer’s breakthrough: Scientists may have found potential cause of the disease in the behaviour of immune cells – giving new hope to millions

Scientists have broken new ground in the search for an Alzheimer’s cure, discovering a new potential cause of the disease, which it may be possible to target with drug treatments.

Experts said the findings, from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, could “open new doors” in the increasingly frustrated global hunt for a dementia therapy.

Researchers at Duke announced that their studies of Alzheimer’s in mice had thrown up a new process they believe contributes to the disease’s development.

They observed that in Alzheimer’s, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead begin to consume a vital nutrient called arginine.

By blocking this process with a drug, they were able to prevent the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, and also halted memory loss in the mice.

While no technique that is tested in an animal can be guaranteed to work the same way in humans, the findings are particularly encouraging because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unknown.

The drug that was used to block the body’s immune response to arginine – known as difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) – is already being investigated in drug trials for certain types of cancer and may be suitable for testing as a potential Alzheimer’s therapy.

The discovery was welcomed by experts in the UK who said it had filled in gaps in our understanding of Alzheimer’s and could “open new doors” to future treatments for the devastating condition, which affects more than 500,000 people in the UK alone.

A new drug target for Alzheimer’s would be hugely welcome a field where funding and industry’s will to invest has been waning, in spite of the growing human and economic cost of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The number of people worldwide living with some form of dementia is set to reach 135 million by 2050. However, after a string of costly failures to bring effective drugs to market, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly cutting funding for research.

The G8 group of nations pledged in 2013 to find a major new dementia treatment or cure by 2025, and the Coalition government committed the UK to doubling its contribution toward this goal to £132m by that date.

Carol Colton, professor of neurology at the Duke University, and senior author of the new study, said that Alzheimer’s research had been dominated by an attempt to understand the role of amyloid – the protein that builds up in the brain to form plaques – but that a focus on arginine and the immune system could yield new discoveries.

“We see this study opening the doors to thinking about Alzheimer’s in a completely different way, to break the stalemate of ideas in Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

“The field has been driven by amyloid for the past 15, 20 years and we have to look at other things because we still do not understand the mechanism of disease or how to develop effective therapeutics,” she added.

Arginine is an amino acid and an essential nutrient for several bodily processes, including cell division, healing and immune responses.

It is found in food, including dairy products, meat, nuts and chickpeas, but the team at Duke said that their study did not suggest eating more arginine would have an impact on Alzheimer’s risk. The blood-brain barrier regulates how much arginine can enter the brain, and the immune response that breaks down arginine would remain the same even if confronted with higher levels of the nutrient.

Their study, which is published in the Journal of Neuroscience, was led by Matthew Kan, an MD/PhD student in Professor Colton’s lab.

Dr Laura Phipps, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that because the research had only been carried out in mice it would be important for tests in humans to confirm the findings.

“Clinical trials are essential before any potential new treatment can be given to people, but these early findings could open new doors for future treatment development for Alzheimer’s,” she said.

“The study suggests that low levels of arginine in the brain could contribute to the death of nerve cells in Alzheimer’s, but there is much more we still need to understand about how and why nerve cells die in the disease,” she added.

Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society said the new study “joins some of the dots in our incomplete understanding of the processes that cause Alzheimer’s disease”.

“Importantly, these new findings reflect earlier observations that arginine is reduced in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “The next step would be to show that targeting arginine metabolism in the brain can reduce the death of brain cells, as this was not shown in the current study.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and affects around 500,000 people in the UK. The number of people living with dementia in the country is set to rise to above one million within 10 years, with huge costs to families, the NHS and social care services.
 

Source The Independent

Dementia research disgrace: Just 8p of every £10 spent on the disease goes towards finding cure

Just 8p in every £10 spent looking after dementia patients goes on research into the causes, shocking figures reveal.

The outlay on stroke research is little better, with 19p allocated from each £10 spent on the health and social needs of patients.

A study says the amount spent by the Government and charities studying dementia and strokes is ‘still way too low’.

Despite extra cash pumped into the two diseases recently by government bodies, they remain underfunded given the economic and personal impact felt by millions of sufferers and their families, say researchers.

In comparison to cancer and coronary heart disease they are still poor relations, according to calculations by Oxford University academics.

The amount spent on cancer research is around 13 times higher than dementia, and almost six times more than stroke.

The spend on heart disease is eight times that of dementia and triple the amount spent on stroke research, says the study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Researchers assessed central government and charity research expenditure in 2012 into the UK’s leading causes of death and disability – cancer, coronary heart disease, dementia and stroke which together accounted for over half of all deaths.

The combined amount of research funding allocated by the Government and charities to the four conditions came to £856million in 2012, almost two-thirds of which was allocated to cancer.

Around one-fifth was devoted to coronary heart disease, while just 11 per cent was allocated to dementia and 7 per cent to stroke research.

The study found a significant shift in funding since 2008, particularly after a commitment by the Coalition to new money for dementia research.

But the sums allocated by charities have scarcely budged since 2008, possibly because they rely on public donations which may be affected by ‘a form of ageism’ where dementia and stroke are seen as inevitable only in the elderly.

Research leader Professor Alastair Gray, of the Health Economic Research Centre at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford University, said overall research funding has not been cut but priorities had shifted.

Almost two-thirds of research funding allocated by to the four conditions was allocated to cancer

Overall research spending by government bodies went up 20 per cent over the period, but there was a change in diseases that benefited. In 2012, £157million was spent on cancer research by government bodies, down from £267million in 2008. Prof Gray said: ‘There was increasing recognition that expenditure on dementia should rise and this was reflected in the Coalition agreement.

‘As a consequence less was spent on cancer because of the increasing emphasis on dementia and stroke, but these areas remain underfunded when compared with the burden of disease.’

He said research funding was ‘still way too low’ in both diseases, especially for stroke. There are at least 800,000 dementia patients and 1.2million stroke victims needing health and social care each year in the UK, compared with 2.3million cases of cancer and the same number of heart disease cases.

Costs of healthcare were highest for cancer at £4.4billion and lowest for dementia at £1.4billion and stroke at £1.8billion. But social care costs of dementia outweighed social care costs of the other three conditions combined.

Health and social care for dementia cost £11.6billion in 2012 – more than double the equivalent bill for cancer. This means that for every £10 of health and social care costs attributable to each condition, £1.08 in research funding was spent on cancer, 65p on coronary heart disease, 19p on stroke, and just 8p on dementia, the researchers calculated.

Source Mail Online

Repeated antibiotic use linked to diabetes

People who need treating with repeated courses of antibiotics may be at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.

The European Journal of Endocrinology study traced antibiotic prescriptions given out to a million UK patients.

The authors say the findings do not necessarily mean that the drugs trigger diabetes – instead, infections may be a warning sign that diabetes is imminent.

They say more work is now needed to understand the link.

The study looked at how many antibiotic prescriptions had been given to 208,000 diabetic patients – both type 1 and type 2 diabetics – at least one year before they were diagnosed with their condition, compared with 816,000 non-diabetic patients of the same age and sex.

Nearly half of the patients had been prescribed antibiotics at some point over the course of the study period.

And the researchers found the risk of type 2 diabetes went up with the number of antibiotic prescriptions a patient received.

For example:

  •     The risk of type 2 diabetes was 8% higher among patients prescribed two to five courses of penicillin-type antibiotics, and 23% higher among those given more than five courses of these drugs
  •     For another class of antibiotics known as quinolones, type 2 diabetes risk was 15% higher among patients prescribed two to five courses and 37% higher among those given more than five courses

No link was found with antifungal drugs and antiviral drugs. And antibiotic use did not appear to affect risk of type 1 diabetes.

Red flag or trigger?

The researchers, Dr Ben Boursi and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania in the US, believe changes to gut bacteria triggered by taking antibiotics might explain their findings.

Our guts are lined with billions of bacteria and antibiotics can wipe some of these out.

Studies in animals and humans have hinted that changes to this “digestive ecosystem” might contribute to conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Dr Boursi said: “Over-prescription of antibiotics is already a problem around the world as bacteria become increasingly resistant to their effects.

“Our findings are important, not only for understanding how diabetes may develop, but as a warning to reduce unnecessary antibiotic treatments that might do more harm than good.”

But some say repeated infections could be a sign that diabetes is developing. People with type 2 diabetes are prone to skin and urine infections, for example.

Prof Jodi Lindsay from St George’s, University of London, said that since people with type 2 diabetes were at increased risk of developing infections, it was hard to tease the two apart.

“This is a very large and helpful study linking diabetes with antibiotic consumption in the UK public, but at this stage we don’t know which is the chicken and which is the egg.

“The idea that antibiotics might contribute to diabetes development might be important and more research needs to be done.”

Diabetes

There are two main types: type 1 and type 2

  •     In type 1, which accounts for about 10% of diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the cells that make insulin
  •     Type 2 diabetes is when the body either cannot make enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to it
  •     Insulin treatment is always needed for type 1 diabetes, while if you have type 2 you may be able to control your symptoms by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and monitoring your blood sugar.

Researchers develop a molecule that may slow Parkinson’s disease

Estimates suggest up to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease – a progressive neurological disorder caused by the loss of brain cells that release dopamine, a chemical that is important for conveying messages that control movement.

The main reason behind the death of dopamine-producing cells in patients with Parkinson’s disease is thought to be a fault in a common cell protein called α-synuclein. When faulty, the protein forms the wrong shape and clumps into long toxic fibrils that stop the cells functioning properly.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the symptoms – which include tremor, stiffness, slowness and impaired balance – gradually worsen and patients find it increasingly difficult to walk, talk and take care of themselves.

While one or two early-stage studies are showing promising results, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, although there are drugs that can bring dramatic relief from symptoms.

Now, a new study – funded by Parkinson’s UK and led by the University of Bath in the UK – shows how a peptide they designed may offer a way to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

A peptide is a chain of amino acids. A chain of several peptides is a protein.

In this study, the researchers found that their peptide sticks to misshapen α- synuclein and stops it stacking into the fibrils that kill off the dopamine cells.

The peptide matches a region of α-synuclein that is mutated in Parkinson’s

To make their peptide – which comprises 10 amino acids – the team searched a library of peptides for candidates that match the region of α-synuclein that is mutated in patients with early-onset Parkinson’s.

The researchers believe their study is the first to look at this part of α-synuclein as a potential drug target.

Dr. Mason says their work is still in the early stages, but they are encouraged by the results they have achieved so far. They hope their study heralds a new approach to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

He and his colleagues now plan to test the peptide in mammal brain cells and then start the process of developing it into a drug that can be used in humans.

In their paper, the team notes that the technique may also apply to other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, which also arises as a result of misshapen proteins clumping together in the brain.

Meanwhile, Medical News Today recently learned that the first trial to test the effect of a growth-factor compound in humans with Parkinson’s disease has shown promising results. The trial, conducted in 12 patients with Parkinson’s disease, showed that the growth factor PDGF was not only safe and well tolerated, but it may also have some regenerative effects.

Sourced from Medical News Today

Government pledges £300m on dementia research

More than £300m is to be spent by the government on research into dementia, the prime minister has announced.

David Cameron said an international dementia institute would be established in England over the next five years in a bid to make the UK a world leader for research and medical trials.

Some 1.3 million NHS workers will also receive additional training in how to care for people with dementia.

The PM said dementia was “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”.

There are approximately 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with the number expected to hit a million within the next 10 years.

‘Bold ambition’

The government said a separate multimillion-pound fund would be launched within weeks to help establish an international investment scheme to discover new drugs and treatments that could slow the onset of dementia, or even deliver a cure, by 2025.

It hopes the global fund will bring together investment from the private, public and philanthropic sectors under a single scheme to pay for research projects into the disease.

Faster assessments by GPs are also included in the prime minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 plans.

The prime minister first launched the dementia challenge for England in March 2012, building on the previous government’s national dementia strategy.

Mr Cameron visited High Wycombe to meet people with dementia and dementia friends – people who are able to spot signs of the illness and help sufferers.

He said: “What today’s announcement is about is a very simple but bold ambition, and that is to make the United Kingdom the best place on the planet in terms of researching into dementia, in terms of diagnosing people with dementia and then in terms of treating, helping and caring for them.”

Signs of dementia

  •     Struggling to remember recent events
  •     Problems following conversations
  •     Forgetting the names of friends or objects
  •     Repeating yourself
  •     Problems with thinking or reasoning
  •     Confusion in familiar places

The NHS workers receiving extra training on how to provide best standards of care for people with dementia will range from surgeons to hospital porters, the government said.

There are also plans to give three million more “dementia friends” training in how to support those with the condition.

Other pledges include having the majority of people in England living in “dementia-friendly communities” in five years’ time by making shops, transport and other public places more accessible to people with the condition.
Alzheimer’s patient Two thirds of dementia sufferers in the UK are women

Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham welcomed the announcement but said more needed to be done to support dementia sufferers now.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable older people have lost social care support since David Cameron entered Downing Street. Social care in England is close to collapse but this government is in denial about it.”

Professor Simon Lovestone, from Oxford University, said recent trials for new drugs had failed.

“We now need to do better clinical trials, we need to do them earlier in the disease process, and for that we need tests for early diagnosis and we need better drugs,” he said.

“And I think that the announcement that’s been made today, together with the investment that’s already been made in the UK, puts the UK at the leading front of a truly international effort that will actually deliver on this.”

Professor Nigel Hooper, dementia researcher at the University of Manchester, told BBC Breakfast £300m was “a great investment” but said cancer research received five times as much funding globally as dementia.

Initial dementia assessments will take place in an average of six weeks and will be followed by support such as informing sufferers of local services that can help them, as well as advice for their carers.

Source BBC News

Scheme to improve dementia research

A new scheme that makes it easier for people to take part in dementia research launches today.

It is hoped the new scheme, which allows anyone who wants to take part in studies to register online or over the phone, will boost much-needed participation in research into the condition, which affects more than 850,000 people in the UK.

A recent poll found that almost two thirds (62%) of the public would be willing to take part in dementia research, but more than four out of five (62%) did not know how to volunteer.

Fewer than 5% of people with dementia currently take part in research studies, Alzheimer’s Research UK said.

Join Dementia Research will connect people interested in research to suitable dementia studies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Anyone aged 18 years or over can sign themselves up, or do so on behalf of another, by visiting the website joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk or calling the helplines of Alzheimer’s Research UK on 0300 111 5 111 or the Alzheimer’s Society on 0300 222 1122.

The scheme has been developed as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, which was announced on Saturday to tackle the ever-growing problem.

David Cameron said more than £300 million is to be spent by the Government on research while all NHS staff will have to undergo training in the condition.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “New research is desperately needed to help the growing numbers of people who live with dementia, which is why we’re doubling the size of the funding pot.

“This is an important initiative, and I encourage anyone who is interested to visit the website or call the charity helplines to find out more about how they can help us tackle dementia.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: “This superb initiative was developed to help ensure we can meet the ambitious targets for recruitment to high-quality research studies, set by the Prime Minister in his challenge on dementia.

“Join Dementia Research is a potential pathfinder for other fields, showing how to boost patient and public participation in research.”

Source Mail Online