Alzheimer’s disease in the news

Posted under Blog on December 20th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

Alzheimer’s disease has been in the spotlight this week as two well-known figures have shared their experiences of caring for a loved one with the disease. 

Actor Tony Booth, father of Cherie Blair, was diagnosed with the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s nine years ago after struggling with short-term memory loss.  Writing in The Irish Times, his wife, Stephanie Booth, described how Mrs Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, now travels from London to West Yorkshire to be with her father at least once a week. 

Her article came a week after the G8 dementia summit in London, where UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to lead a ‘global fightback’ against Alzheimers’, doubling the UK funding into researching the disease.

British TV host Ruth Langsford, also spoke about her family’s experience, revealing that her father Dennis developed Alzheimer’s in the early 1990s and eventually passed away in 2011.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is estimated to affect 25 million people around the world. 

Dementia research funding to be doubled by 2025

Posted under Blog on December 12th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to double funding for dementia research from £66m to £122m in 2025.

Speaking at the G8 Dementia Summit in London, Mr Cameron pledged to lead a “global fight back” against dementia, describing it as a disease that “steals lives” and “wrecks families”.

Speaking at the summit, he said: “If we are to beat dementia, we must also work globally, with nations, business and scientists from all over the world working together as we did with cancer, and with HIV and AIDS.” 

Mr Cameron also announced that a new brain scan that can help confirm or rule out Alzheimer’s disease is to be made available on the National Health Service (NHS) for the first time.

The new scan will allow doctors to definitively rule out the disease – the most common form of dementia – or the chance that it will develop within five years. It will also improve the ability of doctors to diagnose the disease.

Dr Richard Perry, a consultant neurologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, said: "For people who have memory problems and who are concerned about them, knowing the cause, whether it is Alzheimer's disease or not, is the first step in getting the right sort of treatment."

Alzheimer’s disease affects around 500,000 in the UK. It’s thought that just 45% of sufferers currently have a diagnosis. The number of cases is predicted to treble to 135 million globally by 2050.

Tags: Alzheimer's, G8 Summit, Imperial College Healthcare, NHS

Reviving memories with poetry

Posted under Blog on December 6th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

Many care homes and hospitals are turning to poetry to provide residents with some respite from the symptoms of dementia.

Just as in music therapy, the rhythm and pace of well-known verses can act as a trigger for memories and speech, according to Jill Fraser, whose charity, Kissing it Better, organises poetry reading sessions for the elderly.

The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP), a New York-based initiative, was set up to facilitate the creativity of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. The APP holds workshops where classic, well-loved poems are recited and participants encouraged to create their own new poetry. To date, the APP has held programming in 22 US states and served over 10,000 people living with dementia.

Elaine Gibbs is manager of a Stratford-upon-Avon care home that provides regular poetry reading session. She says if patients “hear one word that they can remember from poetry, it brightens their day up”.

Former actress Anita Wright is a volunteer visitor at the home and paints a vivid picture of the impact of poetry on residents. She describes how a patient with advanced dementia wept when she heard a poem about a man saying goodbye to his partner, and began to share the story of how her fiancé had died.

“She had not said a single word since she had been to this home and the poem just broke open the dam,” said Ms Wright.

Tags: Alzheimer's, APP, Care homes, kissing it better



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