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  • Research reveals complex care needs in dual diagnosis patients

    Research reveals complex care needs in dual diagnosis patients

    30.10.19 A 15-month study by researchers at Leeds Beckett University has found that 7.5% of people aged 75-plus with cancer also have a dementia diagnosis. Calling for cancer care staff to be trained to support people with dementia, the university’s Centre for Dementia Research looked at records from 391 GP practices and found that people with both conditions had more complex care needs. They were more likely to have other co-morbidities and to be living in a care home than people with cancer alone. Decisions about cancer treatment added another layer of complexity, the study found, as there could be challenges around mental capacity and determining what was in the person’s best interests.

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  • Major study provides evidence linking football to dementia

    Major study provides evidence linking football to dementia

    29.10.19 Long-standing claims that heading the ball in professional football can cause dementia have been backed by the first major study into the claims, which found that former professional footballers were five times more likely than expected to have died from Alzheimer’s disease. When researchers who carried out the Glasgow University FIELD study looked at neurodegenerative diseases overall, they found that footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely than the general population to have died from one of them. Published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study compared the causes of death of 7,676 former footballers against those of more than 23,000 matched individuals from the general population.

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  • Social prescribing academy given £5m funding

    Social prescribing academy given £5m funding

    28.10.19 Health secretary Matt Hancock has elaborated on plans for a National Academy for Social Prescribing, first announced earlier this year, with a pledge of £5 million in government funding. The academy, which will be led by outgoing Royal College of GPs chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, is intended to help achieve the government’s ambition that everyone will have access to social prescribing on the NHS as readily as they do medical care. It is based on the idea that GPs will be able to “prescribe” community activities like art and singing classes in the same way as they prescribe medicines. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 60% of clinical commissioning groups already use social prescribing for patients with dementia, anxiety or mental health problems, but the government wants the rest to do likewise.

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  • Surprise findings could lead to 'first new treatment in over 15 years'

    Surprise findings could lead to 'first new treatment in over 15 years'

    25.10.19 A major pharmaceutical company is seeking regulatory approval for a drug to delay cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, following an unexpected turn-around in results from a trial of the drug. After announcing in the spring that “aducanumab” had failed to produce statistically significant benefits, US company Biogen said this week that further analysis of a larger dataset had shown that the drug was in fact clinically effective in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, described it as “hugely exciting news,” adding: “We’re waiting for further data but this could be the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in over 15 years and, as such, has the potential to be a transformative discovery.”

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  • E-Newsletter 25.10.19

    E-Newsletter 25.10.19

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include new research on complex care needs in dual diagnosis patients, plans for a social prescribing academy and a potential new treatment to delay cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Kent NHS trust set to open Harmonia dementia village near Dover

    Kent NHS trust set to open Harmonia dementia village near Dover

    19.10.19 East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust is set to open what is billed as the UK’s first “dementia village” in two months’ time. Harmonia Village, near Dover, will be a £3.5 million complex containing six houses, each with five residents. There will be a shop, cinema, pub, hairdressers and a community centre offering an additional six “flexible” beds if there are referrals. “Wherever possible we have tried to create a home from home,” said Dr Phil Brighton, the trust’s clinical lead for dementia. “The expectation is that people can bring their own furniture if they would like, but that everyone gets their own personal space, including en-suites, accessible bathrooms.”

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  • Right time for a care home move depends on context, research finds

    Right time for a care home move depends on context, research finds

    18.10.19 Is there a universal “best time” for someone with dementia to move to a care home? The answer is no, according to researchers at King’s College London, whose study found that moving to a care home depended on many factors other than symptom severity. These included wellbeing, the ability of family members to give support, and the availability of care home places. Decisions on moving into a care home could be distressing, but this could be eased by conversations between the people affected, social care professionals and care home managers, researchers discovered. “We would emphasise the value of conversation – really talking to people with the right experience – in managing potential distress and exploring options as early as possible,” said Dr Kritika Samsi.

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  • Finnish researchers discover potential diagnostic tool for FTD

    Finnish researchers discover potential diagnostic tool for FTD

    17.10.19 Researchers in Finland have come up with a potential diagnostic tool to identify frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which they say is often confused with psychiatric disorders because of behavioural symptoms that may accompany it. They found that FTD patients had significantly higher levels of a protein called neurofilament in their blood than patients with psychiatric disorders. The researchers, from the Universities of Eastern Finland and Oulu, said differential diagnoses between early onset FTD and psychiatric disorders were “extremely challenging,” but said serum neurofilament profiles provided an “excellent and promising tool” for solving the problem. Findings were published in the Journal of Neurology.

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  • NAPA calls on supporters to run bake-off fundraisers

    NAPA calls on supporters to run bake-off fundraisers

    16.10.19 Members and supporters of NAPA (National Activity Providers Association) are being asked to host a “bake-off” or bake sale as part of National Baking Week next week. They have been invited to “rise to the challenge” as a fundraiser for NAPA, which said just £5 could fund half an hour on its helpline, £10 could fund an hour responding to helpline emails, and £20 could fund two hours of skilled staff time. Options were to organise a sale of specially baked cakes or to run a bake-off. Full instructions HERE

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  • Alzheimer’s Society asks for new problems to solve

    Alzheimer’s Society asks for new problems to solve

    15.10.19 Alzheimer’s Society has launched an Innovation Hub, inviting people affected by dementia to join up and share their challenges so that innovative solutions can be created. The charity said it had assembled a team dedicated to finding innovative answers to the problems put before it. “We believe innovation can support people to live well with dementia but we need to understand the challenges you face – big or small,” said Simon Lord, innovation programme manager at Alzheimer’s Society. Visitors to the Innovation Hub webpage can suggest challenges and vote for their favourite to decide which project the innovation team works on next.

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