In It Together: bringing together researchers and healthcare professionals to discuss advances in brain imaging techniques

Research project: Dementia magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) conference

Lead investigator: Dr Claudia Metzler-Baddeley
Institution: Cardiff University
Grant type: Dissemination
Duration: 2 day conference
Amount: £2,500

What do we already know?

The detection of early changes in the brain before people even experience the first symptoms such as memory loss, is invaluable for patient care and for planning studies to develop treatments to slow or prevent disease progression. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) are two techniques used by healthcare professionals that show great promise in revealing changes in brain structure, as well as chemical changes, years before visible symptoms of dementia surface. It is important to improve knowledge of imaging for doctors and other healthcare professionals working in dementia clinics to promote early and appropriate use of imaging in the diagnosis and management of people with dementia. The use of these techniques in the clinic has increased our understanding of brain changes before the physical and behavioural symptoms of dementia are seen allowing for earlier identification of people who have heightened risk of dementia.

What does this project involve?

Many groups of people are involved in the use and development of the techniques used to identify changes in the brain of people with dementia, or at greater risk of developing dementia. It is important that these people have a chance to come together and discuss what they know, what they are doing, and what needs to be done to better use these technologies.  

Dr Metzler-Baddeley and her team are organising a meeting of imaging experts from the UK and overseas with dementia researchers and clinicians. This program is modelled on a similar meeting held in 2016 which was a new initiative to create a space for communication between brain imaging experts and scientists researching dementia in the UK to allow regular communication between these two fields of study.

How will this benefit people with dementia?

Creating opportunities for researchers, clinicians and care professionals to share their knowledge and experience is important for developing better care and treatment facilities for people with dementia. Understanding the most up to date techniques will allow doctors and healthcare professionals to provide people with dementia and their family and carers with the best options for treatment. 

Platforms like these also give healthcare professionals using these types of equipment the opportunity to identify novel uses and feedback the practicality of these advancements in the clinic. These conversations will improve diagnosis and treatment for people with dementia, or those at risk of developing the disease, in the long term. 

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