Saturday, 28 June 2014

Some interesting ideas from Oxford

My daughter-in-law in law spotted this article and very kindly sent it to me:

Most of the interesting article is about how Oxford University is trying to co-ordinate its research into dementia and bring together different disciplines with an interest in dementia:

Approaches to dementia, Mackay explains, have hitherto been fragmented between the different disciplines of gerontology, neurology and psychiatry — the latter two branches of cognitive science having diverged more markedly in the UK than in other countries. OxDARE aims to enable a more holistic approach, with the emphasis on translational neuroscience. This process of ‘translation’ involves bridging the gap between research laboratories and clinical settings, bringing science ‘from bench to bedside’ as Mackay puts it. 

This looks like a promising approach.

Another thought-provoking extract:

While dementia is chiefly associated with memory loss, it can involve cognitive impairment of all sorts, and ultimately describes a set of symptoms rather than a single disease. Psychologists are still debating whether there is a difference in kind rather than degree between dementia and regular old-age memory loss, which comes to us all. Since the physical differences in the brain that define Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease are currently visible only upon autopsy, much research is being devoted to finding ‘markers’, from brain scans or blood tests, which will bring forward the point of diagnosis.

For now, there remains an uncomfortable, but ultimately humanising, sense that we are all subject to those small but significant memory lapses – magnified in the endearing stereotype of the scatty Professor – that place us somewhere on the same continuum as those who suffer from conditions such as Alzheimer’s. We owe it to those who are further down that line to name and face the reality of dementia, and give the research endeavour our fullest support. 

One cannot help agreeing with the conclusion.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Cameron's latest speech about dementia

A previous post (which has by far the most page views on AWD) discussed the Prime Minister's useful acknowledgement that Alzheimer's is a disease:

Now, over a year later, he has addressed the subject again:

I want to deal with this in more detail when I have the time so I'll just point out that he unhelpfully calls dementia a disease (which it isn't  -  see:

The comments underneath the article are the usual mixture of the insightful, the ill-informed and complete tosh.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Alzheimer's or dementia?

Someone asked online: What is the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia?

I can understand why the question was asked as the two names are often used interchangeably.

Dementia is not a disease but a set of symptoms which are a feature of many diseases, perhaps the most common being Alzheimer's.

There's a lot more than can be said but that is the basic difference.

It is very confusing that 'Alzheimer's' is used so often when actually 'dementia' is far more appropriate.

I was reading the blurb for the Alzheimer's Show which is coming to Manchester (isn't that's a bit odd, by the way, a 'show'?) and is described as 'the UK's only dedicated exhibition and conference for families and professionals caring for a person with dementia'. So why isn't it called 'The Dementia Show'?

A very unhelpful and unnecessary confusion, I would suggest.

A sad and disturbing story - An update

Here's the original story:;postID=1838612873523825894;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=9;src=postname

For our readers abroad and for anyone else who may have missed it, here is the latest:

There are as, always in these cases, many questions left unanswered.  Why did it take three months to reach this conclusion?  Why was he arrested and kept without food and water for seven hours?  Why was he not questioned until late at night? Etc.

I will be watching for any further developments or statements, perhaps in three months.  But I won't be holding my breath.  He is, after all, just a poor and powerless old man of 83.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A pleasure to post this

So often, I read or hear about negative attitudes to people with dementia. Follow this link to see a short video which gives the other side of the story:

Heartwarming Video

There was also, incidentally, a recent online discussion which showed the UK police in a very favourable light in terms of their dementia awareness and willingness to help (this at a time when the UK police are under a lot of pressure because of their failings in other areas).