Over 250 leading dementia scientists from across the globe will gather in Birmingham this week for Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK Conference 2012, the countryâ€™s largest dedicated dementia research conference. The event, which takes place on 27 and 28 March, will share the latest evidence on a wide range of research topics, including talks from UK-based scientists on midlife risk reduction, and the importance of early life cognition in understanding cognitive ageing.
Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK is the UKâ€™s leading dementia research charity and one of the top three charity funders of dementia research in the world. It holds its annual conference in a different city each year and the 2012 Birmingham event will cover a range of topics, including:
Â· Prof Eef Hogervorst, of Loughborough University, who will describe how people could reduce their risk of developing dementia from midlife through simple lifestyle choices;
Â· Prof John Starr of University of Edinburgh on the importance of early life cognition in understanding cognitive ageing.
Â· Dr Ottavio Arancio, of Columbia University in New York, who will talk about new approaches to developing treatments for Alzheimerâ€™s disease, the most common cause of dementia;
Â· Prof Patrizia Mecocci, of the University of Perugia in Italy, who will describe the role of antioxidants in brain ageing;
Dr Eric Karran, Research Director at Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK, said:
â€œUK dementia researchers punch above their weight in the global battle to defeat Alzheimerâ€™s disease and other causes of dementia, and this conference is a crucial way for the field to collaborate. Dementia is complex, and requires scientists from many different disciplines to defeat it, so itâ€™s important to keep this multifaceted field talking.
â€œDementia is now the greatest health challenge our society faces â€“ with 820,000 people in the UK affected, including 9,000 people in Birmingham alone, and the condition already costs our economy Â£23bn a year. The need for effective treatments for dementia has never been more urgent, but if we are to achieve this, it will take a huge research effort.â€
Jamie and Vicki Graham, of Dauntsey near Chippenham, know only too well the devastating effects of dementia, as Jamie was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimerâ€™s disease in 2007 when he was just 59. The pair have since raised thousands for dementia research, and have been made Champions of Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK in recognition of their support for the charity.
â€œWhen Jamie was diagnosed with Alzheimerâ€™s our whole world changed. Jamie has enormous courage and still has his sense of humour, but seeing him slowly deteriorate is incredibly difficult.
â€œWe chose to raise money for Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK because we believe that research is the only way to beat this devastating disease, yet dementia research is desperately underfunded. Itâ€™s great to see this important event bringing researchers together, and to know that scientists are making such good progress.â€
Dr Sarah Aldred, of the University of Birmingham, co-ordinates Alzheimerâ€™s Research UKâ€™s Midlands Research Network, which will host this yearâ€™s conference. She said:
â€œWeâ€™re thrilled to be hosting this conference, which is a great way of bringing together scientists from a range of research backgrounds who all have a common mission â€“ defeating dementia. We urgently need better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent dementia, and scientists must work together if we are to achieve those goals. This annual event is a fantastic chance for researchers to share their knowledge, and helps foster a collaborative spirit that can be a real boost to research.”
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