NIHR showcases dementia research
02 September 2013
To mark the start of World Alzheimer’s Month, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is showcasing some of the clinical research that could bring new hope to dementia patients and their families.
Launched in 2006 by the Department of Health, the National Institute for Health Research invests in all aspects of clinical research across England, so that patients have the opportunity to take part in suitable studies, and evidence can be gathered to keep improving treatments for NHS patients.
Over the past two years, the National Institute for Health Research has put millions of pounds of extra investment into supporting dementia research, which affects 800,000 people in the UK – a figure that is expected to rise to one million people by 2021.
Now, as part of World Alzheimer’s Month, the National Institute for Health Research has launched www.FocusOnDementia.nihr.ac.uk
Aimed at the general public, the online showcase highlights some of the pioneering work supported by the NIHR, which could lead to better treatments for dementia sufferers, and improvements in the quality of life for those with the condition.
For example, the showcase reveals how, with support from the NIHR, researchers in Cambridge are investigating new gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, to help patients to gain better control over the slow, stiff movement that is a feature of the disease.
UHB, as part of Birmingham Health Partners (BHP), has established with the University of Birmingham a Parkinson’s diseases DNA bank.
The showcase also features the work of researchers in London, who are using NIHR investment to investigate how tele-care and other home support can help dementia sufferers to stay independent and live in their own homes for longer.
Visitors to the showcase site can also read how the NIHR is also supporting research into a “magic bullet”, to help “repair” the brain, and prevent people with Parkinson’s disease developing dementia.
Speaking about the launch of the online showcase, Dr Jonathan Sheffield from the NIHR said:
“The number of dementia and neurodegenerative disease studies we have delivered in the NHS has increased by 40 per cent over the last two years, and this is a growing area of clinical research. So, with World Alzheimer’s Month about to start, we wanted to take this opportunity to give people an insight into the trailblazing work that is going on behind the scenes to tackle this major problem for our society.”
The National Institute for Health Research’s showcase, www.FocusOnDementia.nihr.ac.uk, includes case studies and interviews with leading researchers, patient views on living with dementia, and advice on finding out about current clinical trials.