Celebrity chef supports dementia friendly community

Posted under Blog on February 27th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

This week, television chef and TV personality Paul Rankin pledged support to the dementia friendly communities programme in Northern Ireland. Best known for Ready Steady Cook, Rankin has been involved in many celebrity cooking programmes including Great British Menu and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported and made feel confident they can contribute to community life.

A report by the Alzheimer’s Society found that 180,000 people in the UK with dementia feel trapped in their homes. This can lead to isolation from community life, and a feeling of loneliness that can lead to depression and worsening symptoms of dementia. According to the report, nearly half of people with dementia feel they are a burden and so avoid getting involved with local life.

Paul Rankin has been personally affected by dementia. His grandfather died from dementia nearly 30 years ago, and his father Hugh Rankin was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000. He said: “Creating dementia-friendly communities is important for supporting people with dementia and their families because it can really make a positive difference to their lives.”

The move towards dementia friendly communities is something the Alzheimer’s Society has been working towards in a bid to challenge stigma surrounding dementia and increase awareness of how best to communicate and support people with the disease. Heather Lundy, Dementia Friendly Communities Manager Said: “Dementia can happen to anyone and there is currently no cure, but with the right support, people can and do live well with dementia.”

The views and opinions of people with dementia are at the heart of any considerations when building dementia-friendly communities. It is hoped that the programme will remove the barriers that people face in their community, and allow them to become actively engaged with people around them.

Tags: Alzheimer's society, Paul Rankin

Partnership to accelerate drug discovery for Alzheimer’s

Posted under Uncategorized on February 13th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

The Alzheimer’s Society UK and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) are offering up to $1.5 million to new research projects, which could speed up the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

The international collaboration could make the hope of finding effective Alzheimer’s treatments in the next decade a reality. The focus of the funding encourages research into drug repurposing and repositioning. Currently it can take up to 20 years and around a billion dollars to develop a drug from scratch, but by using existing drugs, they can hope to deliver treatments far sooner and at a fraction of the cost.

Together, the organisations are funding the projects that either test promising drugs in human clinical trials, or in preclinical animal models, advancing them towards testing in humans. Howard Fillit, MD, Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of the ADDF said: “This partnership exemplifies the importance of combining and leveraging available resources to accelerate drug discovery in Alzheimer’s.”

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society UK, said: “'As part of our flagship Drug Discovery programme, this funding call marks further substantial commitment from Alzheimer's Society to drive forward the search for new dementia treatments. By testing existing drugs in dementia we hope to make effective treatments available within the next decade.”

This international call for research proposals comes just weeks after the G8 Dementia Summit in London called for more global collaboration in dementia research in order to develop treatments as soon as possible.

Facebook simulation of Alzheimer’s

Posted under Blog on January 30th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

It is impossible to imagine what it would be like to have Alzheimer’s disease. We all have minor memory lapses, like forgetting where our keys are or getting lost in a new place. But few of us have experienced the terror of having no memory of being in a specific place at a certain time.

A recent campaign by Alzheimer Nederland, a Dutch Alzheimer’s group, has harnessed the power of Facebook to help the average person better understand the plight of Alzheimer’s sufferers. The effort, which ran in December, tagged random users in photos taken at events that they didn’t attend.

Using advanced photo editing techniques, the campaign added people to busy crowd shots around Amsterdam at events such as music concerts, food festivals and car exhibitions. People could nominate their friends to be added to the photos, and using Facebook’s advanced tagging system, the photo would appear on their timeline.

As expected, this caused mass confusion. People could experience for themselves what it is like to have Alzheimer’s disease, and the problems that these people face day-to-day. Over 1,500 photos were uploaded in total and the campaign has gained considerable publicity from Europe and the United States.

To kick start the campaign, the group began by adding photos of Dutch celebrities and politicians. "How disorientating is this? Being tagged in a photo of an event where you see you’re really there, but which you never went to. So this is what Alzheimer's patients feel like," said Jeroen van der Boom, a Dutch singer who was targeted by the campaign.

While the campaign may have caused momentary confusion for Facebook users, it successfully increased awareness of the realities of a disease which is so often misunderstood.  The campaign became an instant success, as Alzheimer Nederland reported a rise in engagement and donations.

Watch the video of the campaign here.

Tags: Alzheimer Nederland, Alzheimer's campaign, Facebook



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