Tag Archives: alzheimers

Charity calls on government to commit 1% of annual cost of dementia to research

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, is calling on government to adopt a bold new action plan to bring about a life-changing dementia treatment and improve the lives of people with the condition. The charity is urging government to commit to spending just 1% of the annual cost of dementia on research into the condition by 2025 to transform research efforts.

Alzheimer's Research UK logoThe call comes as the charity launches its new Make Breakthroughs Possible campaign and pledges to commit a further £250m to dementia research by 2025. Dementia is the leading cause of death across the UK and the number of people living with the condition is expected to grow to 1 million in just three years. Alzheimer’s Research UK believes there is no time to lose if progress is to be made for the millions of people with dementia and their loved ones across the UK.

The plan detailed in the charity’s new report, “No time to lose: An action plan for dementia,” sets out five clear actions designed to bring about a new dementia treatment and improve lives. The call for increased investment in dementia research aligns the condition with investment in other major disease areas.

Dementia currently costs the UK economy £26bn each year, much more than other major health conditions, like cancer which costs £18.7bn. In contrast, only £83.1m, or 0.3%, of the annual cost of dementia is put towards researching the condition compared to 1.4% put towards cancer research.

Increasing funding for dementia research to just 1% of the cost of the condition would accelerate breakthroughs similar to those made in conditions like cancer in recent decades, which have already transformed thousands of lives.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is the health crisis of our time. With no way to stop or slow the diseases that cause it, no-one has yet survived dementia but we hope to change that.

“We’ve seen progress in recent years thanks to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia launched in 2012, but without renewed government priority given to dementia, this momentum risks being lost. Dementia has been conspicuously absent from priorities set for the health system in recent months, and we cannot afford to let the condition slip off the radar at this critical time.

“We must see government ensure dementia is a leading health priority and begin to push for the progress seen in the treatment of diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS over recent decades. Spending just 1% of the cost of dementia on research would make breakthroughs possible, and the thousands of families across the UK who are feeling the impact of dementia deserve nothing less.”

The action plan laid out by Alzheimer’s Research UK aligns its goals with the G8 ambition to bring about a life-changing treatment for dementia by 2025, which the UK government helped to set in 2013.

The plan includes five key actions for government:

  1. Commit 1% of the annual cost of dementia to research
  2. Double the number of scientists and volunteers taking part in dementia research
  3. Work to detect the diseases that cause dementia before symptoms appear
  4. Increase awareness of how people can reduce their risk
  5. Prepare now for future treatments so they reach people quickly.

The report can be read in full at: alzheimersresearchuk.org/actionplan.

20,000 young people become Dementia Friends

The Scout Association and Alzheimer’s Society have teamed up to empower young people to help those living with dementia.

20,000 ScoScouts become Dementia Friendsuts have become Dementia Friends, joining the biggest ever social movement to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia. As part of the ‘A Million Hands’ partnership’ between Alzheimer’s Society and The Scout Association, which started in October 2015, Scouts in all four corners of the UK have taken action on dementia.

The partnership will culminate in the Big Moment, where Scouts up and down the UK will unite to deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session in their community throughout April – May 2018, educating and empowering people to take action to tackle stigma around the condition.

Claire Jenkins, Head of Community Engagement at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Someone develops dementia every three minutes, but too many face it alone. There is a lot of fear and stigma still surrounding dementia. The goal of this project with The Scout Association is to ensure that young people are spreading awareness in their communities so that society can better understand the condition – today and in the future.

“Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends helps ensure that people know the issues and challenges that people with dementia face, and can take small actions to help them live a life they love in their community. We’ve found that by working with the Scouts Association, parents feel more comfortable talking about the condition, and young people are empowered to do what they can to help.”

Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. It affects 850,000 people in the UK, with this number set to reach one million by 2021. But too many people with dementia are isolated and face the condition alone.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends helps to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around dementia that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion.

Claire Bruce, Beaver Scout Leader, said: “I’ve really enjoyed seeing the interaction between young people and people with dementia. With an ageing population, this an issue that is important and which is only going to become more relevant. Being a Dementia Friend is something our Scouts chose, and as active citizens, want to know more about.”

There are over 2.4 million Dementia Friends across England and Wales growing the dementia movement and taking action in their communities. But Alzheimer’s Society argues that more people are needed, from every age group, to end the stigma surrounding dementia. Young people and The Scout Association play a crucial role in ensuring that people with dementia feel included, supported and empowered in their communities.

Become a Dementia Friend by attending a Session or watching the video at Dementiafriends.org.uk. Find out more about the ‘A Million Hands’ project at Amillionhands.org.uk.

Study suggests Mediterranean diet may have lasting effects on brain health

Alzheimer's Society logoA new study shows that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely.

The study was published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers gathered information on the eating habits of 967 Scottish people around the age of 70 who did not have dementia. Of those people, 562 had an MRI brain scan around age 73 to measure overall brain volume,  grey matter volume and thickness of the outer layer of the brain. From that group, 401 people then returned for a second MRI at age 76. These measurements were compared to how closely participants followed the Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice, moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, and limited red meat and poultry.

Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence to indicate that eating a healthy diet that’s rich in oily fish, fresh veg and nuts is good for your brain and can help to maintain your memory as you get older. Our brains shrink by 1-2% per year in old age and this study suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet could also potentially help to slow down this shrinking process.

“While the evidence suggests a Mediterranean diet can help keep your brain healthy as you age, we can’t yet say that it prevents dementia. What’s good for you heart is also good for your head and a healthy lifestyle that features regular exercise, a balanced diet and not smoking can help to lower your chances of dementia.”

To find out more about Alzheimer’s disease and the work of the Alzheimer’s Society, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.

Dream comes true for ‘Songaminute Man’

A dream has come true for ‘Songaminute Man’ Teddy Mac with the release of his first single, which will raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society.

Song a minute man

The 80-year-old former Butlin’s Redcoat, who has dementia, is heading for the music charts after being signed up by the famous Decca Records label.

Teddy ‘Mac’ McDermott shot to fame online as ‘The Songaminute Man‘, when his son Simon posted videos of his father singing during their very own Carpool Karaoke on YouTube, which rapidly went viral and became a worldwide hit.

Simon’s aim was to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Society, following advice and support the McDermott family received from the charity’s National Dementia Helpline following his father’s diagnosis.

The unlikely double-act proved to be hugely successful, contributing to the country’s leading dementia charity to the tune of more than £100,000  – a massive 11569% increase on Simon’s initial fundraising aim of £1,000.

Now chart success beckons for Teddy with his own version of the Frank Sinatra classic You Make Me Feel So Young which was released on 23 September. Royalties from the single will be split between Alzheimer’s Society and the McDermott family.

Simon said:  “This is a dream come true not only for Dad, but for the entire family. There have been some really tough days in the last few years, especially for mum. The more Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became aggressive, both physically and verbally. It was incredibly difficult to manage and terrifying at times.

“We threw an 80th birthday party last month and thought that would be his last time singing solo for people, so it’s amazing to think he now has a single coming out. And it’s great to help Alzheimer’s Society, who provide so much support to other families going through the same things as us.”

Despite often not recognising his own son, Teddy, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, remembers the lyrics of numerous songs and that earned him the nickname, ‘The Songaminute Man’.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know music can have a positive impact on people affected by dementia and that favourite songs or pieces of music can also be powerful prompts for reminiscence. This is clearly the case when Teddy sings and is transported back to his time as an entertainer.

“We’re incredibly grateful money raised from this single will be used to fund Alzheimer’s Society services like our National Dementia Helpline, which supported Teddy’s family. Teddy’s story shows life doesn’t end when dementia begins, and you can fulfil your dreams even after a dementia diagnosis.”

Buy ‘You make me feel so young’ by The Songaminute Man

Alzheimer’s Society launches the UK’s first ever Cupcake Day

Alzheimer’s Society surveyed 2,000 people to find out what their ultimate dream cupcake would be – people could choose their flavour in three categories: cake, filling and topping. The top flavours voted for were chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

Paul Hollywood, BBC’s Great British Bake Off judge and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, wasn’t surprised to find out that the UK are chocolate fanatics, though he revealed his own passion for zesty flavours.

As he held the UK’s ultimate dream cupcake created by woman&home,  Paul said: “This chocolatey cupcake looks delicious! Lemon and lime are my favourite flavours so for my signature Cupcake Day bake, I’d create a lemon drizzle cupcake with a lemon curd filling and a lemon crust to top it off.

‘I’ve seen the pain that dementia has brought to friends of mine and I want to do all that I can to raise awareness of how people can help. Everyone should get baking for Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day – just try and sell some and not to eat them all yourself – every cupcake counts!’

Everyone is encouraged to bake, sell or buy cupcakes at events up and down the country. From organising a sale at a school to hosting a get-together at the weekend, it’s easy to get involved. Every cupcake sold will help Alzheimer’s Society find a cure for dementia, fund vital services and campaign for the rights of people with dementia. £60 would pay for a dementia research-focused blood test, £20 would pay for someone to attend an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Café for a month.

Hollywood is the latest celebrity to join Alzheimer’s Society’s cupcake crusade, also supported by actresses Ruth Jones and Donna Air, comedian Jo Brand and chef Lorraine Pascale. Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day in association with woman&home is a nationwide fundraising event to help raise funds in aid of the UK’s leading research and support charity.

Jane Curran, Food Director at woman&home who created the ultimate dream cupcake, says: “Given the vote for chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, I’ve created a very chocolatey brownie cupcake recipe to inspire all bakers to create something truly mouthwatering for Cupcake Day and help them raise money to defeat dementia. Not a soggy bottom in sight!”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society says: “850,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. Whether you bake, sell or simply buy as many cupcakes as you can, join the cupcake crusade to raise money and help us defeat dementia. Every cupcake counts.”

Find out more and get your free cupcake kit here.

Grandson and friends take on 1,000-mile ride

The cycling team

The cycling team

A fundraiser has said thoughts of his grandmother will spur him on for a 1,000-mile cycling challenge in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Sean McGregor, from Yarm, near Stockton-on-Tees, is gearing up to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats alongside four of his friends – Robyn Sayers, Daisy Baggs, Rebecca Metin and Jack Green.

The group will set off on June 18 and have set themselves a goal of traversing the length of the country in 10 days, travelling an average of 100 miles a day.

Along the way they hope to raise thousands of pounds for dementia research – and Sean has already secured £3,000 of support from local businesses in Cleveland.

He said: “When I first had the idea of cycling this distance, I asked my friends if they’d do it with me, and I think a lot of them said yes before they realised what they’d let themselves in for.

“Four of us are military reserves so luckily we’re already fairly fit, but this is going to be a difficult challenge. I’m expecting the first two days through Cornwall and Devon to be very tough, but we’re looking forward to getting up to Scotland as the views are meant to be amazing.

“I wanted to support Alzheimer’s Research UK because my nanna was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, so I’ve seen first-hand the impact the disease can have.

“I’m very close to my nanna and this is a cause that’s close to my heart. I’ve told her what I’m doing and although I’m not sure how much she’s able to take in, I’m looking forward to being able to tell her about the journey when I get back.

“Through the fundraising we’ve been doing, I’ve realised how many people are affected by dementia – so many people who’ve supported us have told us what a fantastic cause this is and that makes it all worthwhile.”

Claire Priestwood, regional fundraising officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “What a fantastic challenge. We couldn’t be more grateful to Sean and his friends for taking on this exhausting journey, and we’ll be wishing them well as they set off.

“The money they raise will help us to provide crucial resources for our scientists, bringing new treatments, preventions and improved diagnosis closer.

“Over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today, including over 8,000 in the Tees Valley alone, and we owe it to them to find better ways of fighting the condition. Research has the power to transform lives, and it’s thanks to people like Sean and his friends that we’re able to fund our vital work.”

To sponsor Sean, visit http://www.justgiving.com/smcgregor24

To find out more about Alzheimer’s Research UK, visit http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

Golfer to help dementia charity


Oliver Walmsley

A professional golfer is raising money for dementia research by donating cash for every birdie he plays in 2014.
Oliver Walmsley, 20, from Leicester, was inspired to help Alzheimer’s Research UK after seeing two of his grandparents battle with the condition.

He hopes to increase the amount he raises by persuading others to sponsor his challenge.

Oliver, who plays at Cosby Golf Club, is in his second year as a professional and is due to play in around 30 tournaments in the UK and overseas in 2014. His season kicks off with two tournaments in Morocco in March.

Oliver plans to donate £1 for every birdie he makes, and is asking others to match his donations with sponsorship.

His parents also plan to raise money through events at their Leicester restaurant, Chef Patron.

Oliver explained: “My granddad passed away with Alzheimer’s six years ago, and then two years ago my nan was diagnosed with the disease, so I know how devastating its effects can be.

“I wanted to do something to support dementia research, but instead of cycling or running, I thought I would use what I do for a living to raise money.

“I usually average four or five birdies per round in each tournament, and I’ll donate £1 for each one – but if I can get even 10 people to pledge to sponsor me for the same amount, then I can raise much more.

“Everyone has been really supportive of the idea so I hope lots of people with sponsor me, and I want to get the word out to as many people as I can.

“This is a really important cause for my family, and we want to do as much as we can to help the dementia research experts.”

Miranda Johnson, head of corporate and community partnerships at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This such a creative fundraising challenge, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Oliver for harnessing the power of his golf skills to support our work.

“Every £20 he raises will be enough to pay for another hour of pioneering research, bringing new treatments, preventions and improved diagnosis for dementia ever closer.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK, including nearly 7,000 in Leicestershire, and research is crucial to make a difference to people’s lives.

“We rely on our wonderful supporters to be able to fund our research, and we hope the efforts of people like Oliver will inspire others to take up a fundraising challenge too.”

To sponsor Oliver, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/OllieWalmsley.