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Alternative approach to identifying and treating brain ageing and dementia

Issued 14 November 2012
Alternative approach to identifying and treating brain ageing and dementia

Professor Lawrence Whalley

 

Professor to give free lecture on alternative approach to identifying and treating brain ageing and dementia

Doctors should be identifying people at risk of dementia at least 20 years before symptoms are noticed. That’s the view of life course epidemiology expert, Professor Lawrence Whalley who will be giving a free lecture on 28th November at the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Executive Office in Inverness.

Honorary Research Professor University of the Highlands and Islands and Crombie Ross Professor Emeritus of Mental Health, University of Aberdeen, Professor Whalley’s lecture will review main findings from life course studies in dementia to help answer pressing questions about the disease: Can dementia be predicted? What are the first symptoms of dementia? Is it ever possible to prevent dementia or even to slow down its progress? Why are there no effective treatments?

“One cause of lack of successful drug trials in Alzheimer’s disease could be that the disease begins at least twenty years before any symptoms are noticed,” explained Professor Whalley. “If the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are acting in early adulthood then their identification and treatment will be most effective in this early stage. If we add the possibility that the onset of symptoms of dementia is a “tipping point” in brain disease after which any hope of reversal is lost, then the opportunity for successful treatment will have been missed by the time of onset in all drug trials so far.”

Professor Whalley believes that as in any other chronic progressive disease, answers to how we predict and deal with dementia can only be found if people at risk of dementia are carefully followed from healthy adult to the old person living with dementia.

The science of life course epidemiology has developed the tools to take on this task. Professor Whalley will explain how this approach has much to commend it in aging and dementia research.

Ian Leslie, Dean of Science, Health and Education at the University of the Highlands and Islands commented: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Lawrence Whalley to the University for this Public Lecture on alternative approach to identifying and treating brain ageing and dementia. If the ultimate research goal is to postpone or perhaps even to prevent dementia then the work undertaken by Professor Whalley, of this type is key to informing the timing of successful intervention.”

The lecture, which will review the main findings from life course studies in dementia, will take place on November 28th at the University’s Executive Office from 5.15pm to 7pm. To book a place or enquire about video-conference facilities in your area contact the events team on 01463 279344 or email events@uhi.ac.uk

Media contact
Alison Lochhead
Communications and external relations manager
t: 01463 279222
e: alison.lochhead@uhi.ac.uk

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