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

Clifton suspension bridge, Bristol

Welcome from Dr Ivan Koychev

Dear Great Minds members,

It is our pleasure to be able to share with you our latest newsletter. Research into the causes of dementia and its potential treatments continues at pace, and you can find below links to our summaries of some of the key recent papers.

Dementia, however, remains a leading cause of death and disability today, with a huge societal and economic impact. The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that prioritisation of a medical problem can lead to breakthroughs at the shortest of timescales.

Dementia research now is at a stage where such urgent action can get our efforts to develop treatments over the line. We include in the newsletter our community’s call on the UK government to deliver on the 2019 promise of doubling the dementia research budget.

It is only through your availability as volunteers for brain health research that we can turn such an action into a cure for dementia. For this, we remain grateful for your continued support.

Join us at our next Great Minds event

Our next Great Minds members’ event on the outlook for new dementia treatments will take place on Thursday 9 June. Join us in person at the University of Bristol or watch live online via YouTube to hear from some of the UK’s leading experts.

Register to attend in person.

Participation Panel supports RECALL study application

In April, our Participation Panel members gave feedback over Zoom on the RECALL dementia study, which is exploring whether lowering blood pressure can reduce cognitive decline and dementia. If you would like to join the panel, please click the link below.

More about our Participation Panel.

Accessing memories through music

Music is all around us from an early age and, as such, is deeply intertwined with memory – it can help us relive the sights, sounds and feelings of the past. Find out more about ‘music as dementia therapy’ in our blog post.

Read more.

Hearing aid use linked to slower decline in thinking skills

A new study from researchers at DPUK and Ulster University has found that hearing loss increases the risk of a precursor to dementia called mild cognitive impairment – but this increased risk is not present in people who wear hearing aids.

Read more.

How can data help prevent dementia?

Data is an invaluable resource that can provide insights into health from a population level right down to each individual within it. By looking for trends in datasets, scientists can answer questions such as how likely certain people are to get dementia, or what the typical biological hallmarks of dementia are.

Read more.

Open letter calls for dementia ‘medicines taskforce’

DPUK Director Professor John Gallacher has co-signed an open letter to the UK prime minister, published by the Sunday Times, calling for greater investment in dementia research, taking inspiration from the COVID-19 vaccines effort.

Read more.

Genetic and activity information enhances Great Minds register

Great Minds gives researchers access to nearly 7,000 volunteers who are ready and willing to take part in dementia studies. Now, the information available on participants is being enhanced with the addition of genetic information and data on volunteers’ day-to-day activity.

Read more.

Dementia in other animals

Humans aren’t the only species that can develop dementia – a condition known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome has been reported extensively in dogs, as well as cats, horses and rabbits. Find out more in our blog post.

Read more.