Highlights from our 2016 conference

From the Autumn 2016 edition of Care and cure magazine, a one-of-a-kind research conference brought together researchers and people affected by dementia.

In June 2016, Bristol became host to over 200 dementia researchers, Research Network volunteers and Alzheimer's Society staff attending our annual research conference. This unique event is a great opportunity for researchers and people affected by dementia to come together to share ideas and hear about the latest research.

As in previous years, the conference was split over two days. The first day consisted of specialist training and workshops for the Research Network, our group of over 270 volunteers with personal experience of dementia who help us to set our research priorities and strategies. This year, the network volunteers were treated to a variety of talks including about how research knowledge is put into practice and updates on clinical trials.

The day also focused on our Dementia Research Leaders, who are researchers in the early and middle stages of their careers. This year we held sessions to help them build their leadership skills and understand how to better communicate with audiences of non-scientists. In the evening we held a poster session that allowed our staff, researchers and Research Network volunteers to read more about the important projects that we are funding, discuss results and share experiences and ideas.

Hope for progress 

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development, introduced the second day by telling attendees about the great progress of our research programme during the last year. This included over 90 research publications from projects funded by us and the launch of our implementation grants.

Talks throughout the day covered a range of research from speakers with a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience. Keynote sessions were given by Dr Tara Spires-Jones from the University of Edinburgh and Professor Martin Knapp from the London School of Economics. Dr Spires-Jones spoke about her work to understand the effect of dementia on important connections between brain cells and Professor Knapp discussed how to assess cost effectiveness of dementia care. Other topics addressed throughout the day included how to manage other conditions alongside dementia, caring for people with dementia in rural areas and clinical trials in the Bristol area.

The day was rounded off by Dr Brown asking everyone what the best part of the conference had been for them. The response was overwhelmingly that people were feeling positive about progress in dementia research. Much of this has been made by Society-funded researchers and we will continue to build on this throughout 2017 and beyond.

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