Despite no new drugs for dementia in 15 years, we are seeing great strides towards new treatments. Here we celebrate just a few of this year's highlights in Alzheimer’s Society research.
For almost 40 years, Alzheimer’s Society has remained committed to supporting dementia research. We are determined to bring new treatments to the people who need them the most. Our research is unique as we also aim to improve care for everyone affected by dementia.
Take a closer look at some positive things from Alzheimer's Society's dementia research this year.
1. Over 10,000 people are taking part in research studies across the UK
Join Dementia Research matches people interested in taking part in research to studies in their area. In July, this national service supported by Alzheimer's Society passed a major milestone matching over 10,000 people to research studies.
Thanks to Join Dementia Research, more people than ever are taking part in vital dementia research.
2. Researchers discover treatments for arthritis could be repurposed for dementia
This year, early stage research showed some drugs used to treat arthritis might also help to reduce the risk of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society is now supporting the next stage of this research led by Dr Bernadette McGuinness. This vital work will help us to understand the potential of anti-inflammatory drugs for people with dementia.
3. The UK Dementia Research Institute centres officially open
The Dementia Research Institute (DRI) makes the UK the best place in the world to be part of the ground-breaking dementia research. Alzheimer’s Society has pledged over £50 million to support the institute in our biggest ever commitment to research.
With six centres supporting over 600 world-leading researchers, the UK DRI is a leading light in the field of dementia research.
4. Our research changed advice on prescribing some anti-cholinergic drugs
In May, our research highlighted concerns that antidepressants and bladder medications may be linked to a higher risk of dementia . However we also dispelled any concerns over common anticholinergic drugs ,such as hayfever medication
Our research led to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) urging GPs to avoid prescribing these anticholinergic medicines to people in mid to late life.
5. Smartphone technology could help experts drive forward dementia research
In September, we launched GameChanger alongside the University of Oxford. Over 12,000 people are now taking part in the study. It will help researchers understand more about how brains change over time.
We're asking thousands of people across the UK to support dementia research. Sign up and play fun, free brain games for five minutes each day for a month.
6. We are tackling the sensitive topics in dementia
Our research aims to help people affected by dementia to live well in every aspects of their lives. This includes tackling issues that are often avoided.
This year, our Innovation team launched Lift the lid. People with dementia often face a taboo around sex and intimacy. This new resource will help care home staff address these issues.
We're also taking on incontinence. We know it can make a real difference to the quality of life of people with dementia. Ten organisations – including Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Marie Curie and Parkinson’s UK – made recommendations to tackle the stigma of incontinence and fund research into this important but often ignored issue.
7. Partnering across the globe is making our research go further
International collaborations with other research organisations is vital. It helps to share knowledge and influence the dementia research community. worldwide. Our partnerships help to ensure UK researchers benefit from international initiatives and funding.
This year we’ve partnered with the Global Brain Health Institute and Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Diseases to support research across the globe.
8. There’s a stronger focus on women and dementia
We’ve known for a long time that women are more at risk of dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1.
In 2018, researchers are focused more than ever in understanding exactly why that is but there are still many unanswered questions.
9. People affected by dementia are changing dementia research for the better
Our Research Network continue to show how people affected by dementia can improve the quality of research.
As the Research Network approaches its 20th year, we highlight the work of these dedicated volunteers. In March, we published a report celebrating the positive impact of our volunteers on the field of dementia research.
10. We're funding great ideas to help people affected by dementia to live well
Too many people face barriers to living well with no way to overcome them. This year, our Innovation team launched the Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator Programme. We want to make products and services, that could have an impact on the lives of people affected by dementia, a reality.