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The January 2022 edition of the Great Minds members' newsletter.

Participants in a focus group

Welcome from Dr Ivan Koychev

Dear Great Minds members, 

We started 2022 with a timely reminder of the dementia challenge that we face in the years to come: over 150 million people are expected to be affected by 2050. Still, there are reasons to be optimistic. We now know that a third of all dementia cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes taken in mid-life – it is time to capitalise on this by developing solutions that identify future dementia risk and allow individuals to take action.

In addition, we and others continue to work at pace to develop new treatments, through checking if drugs that are already being prescribed may be useful (like diabetes drugs) or by leveraging the latest developments in genetic therapy, with Huntington’s disease being a prime example. None of this progress would be possible, however, without people like you who are willing to help with brain health research – and for this we remain grateful.

Below you can find a summary of the main developments in dementia research. I wish you a successful year ahead!

Dr Ivan Koychev, Great Minds lead

Catch up on our latest Great Minds event

Our fourth Great Minds members’ event took place online in November 2021, featuring talks from two leading experts on frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Watch the recording to hear about how FTD develops and the latest efforts to find a treatment.

Watch the recording

Join our Participation Panel

On 6 January four Great Minds members took part in a successful group meeting to support one of our research partners – Five Lives – with a funding proposal centred on their dementia diagnostic app. We would like to thank the participants for their time and valuable contribution.

More about our Participation Panel

New Great Minds study will help develop digital detection tool

The EDoN initiative is developing a digital tool for the early detection of dementia-related diseases by collecting data generously donated by research study volunteers using smartphone apps and wearable devices. EDoN recently applied to the Great Minds register for volunteers to one of their studies.

More about EDoN

Dementia cases could reach 153m by 2050

A new study published in The Lancet medical journal estimates that up to 153 million people will have dementia globally by 2050 – almost triple the current figure. However, the researchers say addressing risk factors such as smoking and obesity would help.

Read more

Scientists call for investment in early dementia detection

A new article written by Great Minds’ Dr Ivan Koychev and Triin Ojakäär from technology company Five Lives explores ongoing efforts to detect and treat dementia as early as possible – and calls for greater investment in this area.

Read more

Huntington’s disease: a rare cause of dementia

Huntington’s disease is an inherited genetic disorder affecting movement and cognition that gradually gets worse over time and causes dementia. Learn more about the condition in our new blog post.

Read more

Could a diabetes pill help prevent Alzheimer’s?

Great Minds’ lead researcher Dr Ivan Koychev has been awarded funding to run a clinical trial to test whether a commonly prescribed diabetes drug could reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia. The study is a collaboration between Oxford University and the private company Novo Nordisk, and will begin this year.

Read more

How has modern technology shaped dementia care?

Our guest blogger Charlotte Murphy explores how modern technology is helping people with dementia and their caregivers to adapt to the condition – from dementia-friendly clocks and GPS trackers to smart home devices and medication management.

Read more