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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

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Cambridge dementia researchers take to Zoom to share findings with public

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DEMENTIA researchers from the University of Cambridge are inviting the public to join a free online event on Tuesday 4 August, to hear about progress being made in dementia research.

Experts from the University of Cambridge will provide new insights into identifying the very earliest stages of dementia with Lewy bodies. The free online event is organised by members of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s East Network and will focus in particular on research into dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, including 11,000 people in Cambridgeshire. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the third most common cause of dementia and is caused by small round clumps of protein that build up inside nerve cells in the brain.

The protein, called alpha-synuclein, clumps together in the brain to form Lewy bodies. In DLB, the nerve cells that are affected are in areas of the brain that control thinking, memory and movement. While there are treatments that can help the symptoms, there is currently no way to slow or stop the disease from damaging nerve cells and causing dementia.

The free event is open to 100 members of the public and will take place from 11:30am to 12:50pm on Tuesday 4 August. Those interested can register by visiting: alzres.uk/public-event-august

The line-up will see Prof John O’Brien from the University of Cambridge talk about his research. He is one of the world’s leading experts on DLB, based on a review of scientific papers published since 2008. It will also include a guest speaker from Newcastle University, Prof Ian McKeith, who is president of the Lewy Body Society.

Dr Li Su, from the University of Cambridge and lead of the Alzheimer’s Research UK’s East Network, said:

“This event offers an insight into the vital work carried out by dementia researchers here in Cambridge. With the number of people living with dementia around the world set to increase to 152 million by 2025, and 11,000 people in Cambridgeshire already living with the condition, research is our best hope of changing this future.

“While we cannot currently host such an event in person due to COVID-19 we hope members of the public take this opportunity to find out about the life-changing research taking place in Cambridge, with a chance to put their questions to the experts.

Dr Claire Bromley from Alzheimer’s Research UK will also be speaking at the meeting and said:

“People with dementia are being impacted severely by COVID-19 and as dementia affects more and more people across society, we want to provide opportunities for the public to hear about the pioneering research taking place around the UK.

“This is an isolating time for many, but technology is helping people find new ways of keeping connected. This virtual meeting is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn about the latest research from leading experts. We know that research will bring about much-needed breakthroughs in how we diagnose and treat dementia.

“We estimate Alzheimer’s Research UK could be facing a potential drop in income of up to 45% due to COVID-19, but we are committed to promoting science and determined to find answers to dementia, with our supporters’ help.”

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