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News archive - January 2013

New trials in dementia diagnosis and treatment

New trials in dementia diagnosis and treatment

THE Department of Health has made £22m available to 21 pioneering research projects to boost dementia diagnosis rates and trial ground-breaking treatments.

The funding has been awarded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and is designed to cover all areas of scientific activity relevant to dementia, across the fields of care, cure and cause, including prevention.

Some of the projects awarded funding include, a trial to measure how much longer people with dementia can live safely and independently in their own homes, when they are provided with a specialised telecare technology package including motion sensors, GPS trackers and personal alarms; a trial to speed-up and improve diagnosis rates for dementia with Lewy Bodies (which account for up to 20% of all cases, though only one in three are actually diagnosed). This aims to produce a toolkit for GPs to make spotting the signs of the disease easier and improve diagnosis rates.

A further trial will see the use of the popular blood pressure drug Losartan to complement current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. This will examine whether the drug improves blood flow to the brain and whether this can alter the chemical pathways that cause brain cell damage, brain shrinkage and memory problems.

More than 670,000 people in England are currently diagnosed with dementia, and this figure is set to double in the next 30 years. Government must respond to the barriers the industry faces, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. “It is vital that we can translate the excellent work happening in our laboratories across the country into treatments that can help people live well with dementia today, whilst ultimately working towards finding a cure.”

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