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Common dementia drug found to improve Parkinson’s symptoms

Credit: John Stillwell/PA

Scientists in Bristol have discovered that a commonly prescribed dementia drug could hold the key to helping prevent debilitating falls for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The research, shows people with Parkinson’s who were given the oral drug rivastigmine were 45% less likely to fall and were considerably steadier when walking, compared to those on the placebo.

127,000
people with Parkinson’s in the UK
70%
of people with Parkinson’s will fall at least once a year

Dr Emily Henderson, the principal researcher on the study says the discovery takes us a step closer to improving the quality of life and finding better treatments for people with Parkinson’s.

We already know rivastigmine works to treat dementia by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine. However, our study shows for the first time that it can also improve regularity of walking, speed, and balance. This is a real breakthrough in reducing the risk of falls for people with Parkinson’s.

– Dr Emily Henderson

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Cornwall dementia support project gets Lottery funding

There have been similar projects supporting people with dementia in Devon. Credit: ITV News

A Big Lottery grant of £300,000 has been made to a project to help people with dementia in Cornwall.

Workshops will be run in five towns around the county. They'll be offered to people who've recently been diagnosed, with the aim of helping them cope at home and keep them involved in the community.

New centre for dementia research in Exeter

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK

A specialist centre is being created at the University of Exeter to research dementia and its causes.

The Medical School will look at things like blood supply to the brain and the connections between epilepsy and dementia.

It's part of a £5 million project to encourage more scientists to study diseases such as Alzheimer's.

There are various different causes. The biggest is Alzheimer's disease. We know some of the things that go wrong in the brain and we can see some of those things for example with MRI scans and electrical measurements. And we know some of those underlying processes but we don't understand how the jigsaw comes together.

– Prof Andrew Randall University of Exeter Medical School

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Lack of Vitamin D could increase risk of dementia

Credit: PA WIRE

New research from Exeter University says a lack of Vitamin D is associated with a much greater increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.

A team, led by Dr David Llewellyn from the University's Medical School found that the study participants who were severely deficient in Vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop the conditions. Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish.

App version of widely used dementia test unveiled

App version of widely used dementia test unveiled Credit: PA

A team of researchers from Plymouth medical school will today unveil an app version of a widely used dementia test. It will be free of charge and will mean faster and wider testing and therefore quicker diagnosis.

The app is is the first of its kind and will be made available to clinicians around the world

Memory cafe set up to combat dementia

Dementia is frequently a lonely and isolating experience for carers and those people who are suffering from the condition but through the efforts of volunteers - so called memory cafes are being set up - where people have the chance to talk about the illness - and how it affects their lives.

The latest cafe to open is in Seaton in East Devon and as Richard Lawrence reports is already generating huge interest.

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