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New research to combat 'devastating illnesses' in Dementia Awareness Week

One in 14 people over 65 - and one in six over 80 - have dementia, but new research in our region is hoping to combat these devastating illnesses.

Some of this work is being done at the University of Sussex where a build-up of proteins on the brain is being studied. And in this Dementia Awareness Week members of the public have been invited to see their work close up.

Andy Dickenson reports. He speaks to Andy and Janet Gumbrill, Dr Karen Marshall and Prof Louise Serpell.

Charity to double funding in search for dementia cure

It's a condition that blights the lives of millions across the UK. Dementia is a disease which leaves sufferers often unable to recognise loved ones, or even where they are.

Today a leading dementia charity announced it's doubling its funding for research, including ground-breaking work at universities in the south-east.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to Dr Karen Marshall of the University of Sussex, Joy Reilly and Sam Hart - both of whose mothers suffer from the disease.


Oxford University reveals new study on Alzheimer's Disease

New research on Vitamin B Credit: ITV news

Taking B vitamins won't prevent Alzheimer's disease according to researchers at Oxford University. One trial undertaken four years ago showed - for some - it had an effect on the rate of brain shrinkage.

But new clinical trials involving 20,000 people show it doesn't slow mental decline nor is it likely to prevent the disease.Dr Robert Clarke from Oxford University who led the work said: "It would have been nice to have found something different

"Our study draws a line under the debate: B vitamins don't reduce cognitive decline as we age. Taking folic acid and vitamin B-12 is sadly not going to prevent Alzheimer's disease."

He added " It's better to have a balanced diet - eat more fruit and vegetables, avoid too much red meat and too many calories."

The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation, the UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the UK Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health. The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

  1. Kate Bunkall

Call for people to stop driving when dementia starts

The families of people with dementia are being urged to encourage their loved ones to give up driving, because of the potential dangers including the threat to their own lives, and those of others on the roads.

Alzheimer's Disease affects 800,000 people in this country, and before diagnosis and even after - some sufferers are still driving when they should not be behind the wheel.

A survey by a road safety charity has found a decline in the cognitive abilities of older motorists was the biggest worry for more than half of those questioned.

When David Orr from South Oxfordshire was diagnosed with Alzheimers, his family convinced him to stop driving. He has said that although it was a hard conversation to have, he is glad his relatives were honest with him. He told his story to our reporter Kate Bunkall.

Research into Alzheimer's successful

A team of scientists at the University of Southampton have looked back through decade old clinical trials to shed new light on Alzheimer's disease.

The new findings come after the team examined brain tissue from people who took part in a clinical and safety trial of the AN1792 vaccine over 10 years ago. The vaccine aimed to remove the amyloid protein, a key component of the disease, from the brain.

A phase II of the trail vaccine was halted in 2002 when a small number of participants developed brain inflammation, and results from the trial showed no improvement in people’s symptoms. But the new research has shown that the vaccine was actually able to suppress the response to the disease.

“Our study not only adds to existing evidence that inflammation in the brain plays an important role in Alzheimer’s disease, but provides new hope for future clinical trials. Our research shows that amyloid can be removed from the brain without over-activating the brain’s immune system in the long-term, and this provides some hope for anti-amyloid treatments of the future.

– Dr Delphine Boche, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Southampton


People with dementia 'isolated and anxious'

Too many people with dementia in our region are living lonely and depressing lives according to a new survey by the Alzheimer's Society. It says dementia sufferers often find their friends desert them, and they become isolated and anxious

Others have to rely on family and neighbours for support, as Malcolm Shaw's been finding out. He spoke to Willem Van Der Valk, who has dementia and his wife Christine, neighbour Julie Shenton, and Linda Barnes from the Alzheimer's Society.