As the sixth leading cause of death in the UK and with an estimated 750,000 people currently affected, dementia could at some point in the not so distant future become somewhat of an epidemic.
With that in mind a team of researchers will be coming together at a new centre at University College London to see if they can find a way of preventing the disease before it really begins to develop.
The team of experts will be looking into neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, with a view to finding treatments which will slow or halt the progression of the disease so they can apply them as early as possible.
“These treatments must then be offered as early as possible, when the minimum of irretrievable neuronal loss has occurred, in order to have maximum impact on loss of cognitive and neurological function.” Said expert Professor Nick Fox from UCL’s Institute of Neurology.
Professor Clive Ballard from the Alzheimer’s Society went on to say that even though around one in four 75-year-olds have evidence of Alzheimer’s proteins in their brain, there is nothing wrong with them and they have not yet displayed any symptoms.
“And it’s known that the signs appear 10-15 years before the symptoms.” He added.
Instead of focussing their efforts on researching treatments for patients who are already affected, the disease centre at UCL will be the first of its kind to instead investigate preventative treatment.
Being diagnosed with dementia and living with the condition can bring about many difficult emotions. Often, sufferers find it difficult to understand what is happening to them, and family members feel that they are slowly losing a person to whom they are very close. Counselling offers both sufferers themselves and their family the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about their experiences of the condition and ways in which they can move forward.
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